The recent recount of votes in the disputed Grand Bassa County District #5 Representative elections has discovered fraud and discrepancies in the National Elections Commission tally sheets, according to documents in the possession of the New Dawn.
The case involves Unity Party Representative candidate Juah S. Dennis and incumbent lawmaker NEC Magistrate and Thomas Goshua on one hand. Mrs. Dennis through her party challenged the outcome of the October 10, 2023, results of the representative election in the district immediately after NEC pronounced the winner citing overwhelming fraud and discrepancies.
On January 17, this month, the Supreme Court of Liberia ruling in the matter ordered an immediate recount from the 78 polling centers in the disputed area.
The High Court decided to ensure complete compliance with the Electoral Law of Liberia which seeks a transparent and accurate determination of election results that reflect the will of the electorates.
However, it appears like this mandate has not been fully complied with in the district, rather it seems to have exposed further frauds or discrepancies from NEC’s tally sheets.
A comparison between the October 10, 2023, results that were announced by NEC and the January 2024 recounts shows overwhelming discrepancies. At some polling centers the recount shows an increase in the number of voters that turn out, while in other places the number of people who turn out reduced.
In an official complaint filed before the NEC Board of Commissioners, the Unity Party through its Grand
Bassa Secretary General Thomas Nimely and its candidate Mrs. Dennis explained that there must have been some obstruction in the execution of the High Court’s mandate or there must have been a refusal by NEC to carry out the court’s mandate.
According to the UP complaint the court mandated NEC to conduct a total recount in the 78 polling stations and to include used, unused, spoiled, and damaged ballots, etc. However, the special recount team failed and refused to conduct a total recount.
The UP candidate averred that from the 18 up to the 22 of January, Mr. David Logan NEC Election
Magistrate and staff moved into the NEC compound which is fenced in and stayed there. They alleged that Mr. Logan and staff denied police access to the premises to enter and safeguard the votes.
From various accounts in the district, some of the ballot boxes were brought in with either their seals broken or swiped on different boxes thereby creating doubts, with many suggesting that the boxes were tampered with ahead of the recount.
As if that was not enough, the number of ballot papers automatically increased in some boxes, while in others they decreased. At Behn Town Palava Hot Polling place #2, for example, the total number of voters who were reported to have shown up on October 10, 2023, was put at 219. During the recent recount, the NEC Magistrate reported 331. Again, in the same Behn Town at another polling center where it was reported that only 250 voters showed up, the recount reported 300.
On October 10, polling place 4 in Korkor David Town reported turnout on October 10 to be 239, during the recent recount this month, NEC Magistrate reported that only 198 voters showed up.
The recount also shows discrepancies in total validated votes. On October 10, NEC reported that at least 20931 voters turned out to vote in the disputed district. However, during the recent recount, NEC reported 20951.
The UP candidate also reported that NEC officers failed to make available the PO and FRR during the
recount process. Meanwhile, NEC is yet to comment on the latest report from the disputed district.