Lawyers representing the All Peoples Congress (APC), have written to the National Electoral Commission (NEC) that they will challenge and petition the declared results of the Local Council bye-election, for Ward 155, Constituency 046, Koinadugu District.

Awoko reports that A letter signed by Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, Esq and addressed to Mohammed K. Konneh, Chief Electoral Commissioner stated that JFK & PARTNERS petition is anchored on the grounds that the conduct of the 2021 Local Council Bye elections, Ward 155, Constituency 046, Koinadugu District, violated the principles of a free and fair election, as well as, the electoral processes, electoral laws and regulations provided for in the Public Elections Act, 2012.

Notably the improper practice of NEC Electoral staff, to deliberately alter the entry on the RRF Form, by converting 049 to 149. Lawyer Kamara, however urged that NEC do the needful and publish in the Sierra Leone Gazette, the accurate results of 2021 Local Council Bye elections, Ward 155, Constituency 046, Koinadugu District, as required by law, and being cognizant of sections 139 and 140 of the Public Elections Act 2012.

“Needless to say, timing is of the essence, as the reputational risk facing the National Electoral Commission, is on the brink. The onus is on your shoulders, Mr. Mohammed Konneh, to rescue the impugned image and preserve the inalienable right of our people, to choose their leaders” he added.

The petition by the APC is predicated upon the incident that occurred at NEC’s Data Center in Wellington, when all the entries were verified without incident, until it came to the last entry for Station one (1) MCA Primary School, Fumbakoro, where it was detected that the NEC/ICT team made an inaccurate and or fraudulent entry, inconsistent with the particulars on NEC’s Results Reconciliation Form (“RRF”).

“The inaccurate entry was in respect of the total number of votes cast in favour of KALIE THORONKA (“SLPP”). Instead of entering 049, as recorded in the RRF Form, 149 was purportedly entered intentionally, to give numerical advantage to the said KALIE THORONKA (“SLPP”), thereby resulting in an extra 100 votes in his favour” the APC Lawyer wrote.

He recalled that on the 5th October 2021, the Acting Regional Commissioner North, Edmond Alpha, declared KALIE THORONKA, of the SLPP, winner of the Ward 155 election. Not surprisingly, the APC Accredited Agents, Dr. Richard Konteh and Dr. Kaifallah Marrah, present at the Wellington Tallying Center, raised objections to the discrepancy on the RRF Forms and NEC’s entry.

He continued that “NEC Officials conducting the tallying processes were promptly notified. Duplicate copies of the RRFs which had the same figures as the original copies in the custody of NEC, were produced for verification and examination. A formal demand was made to the NEC Officials, insisting that the inaccurate entries be reversed and properly entered, to reflect the true figures contained in the RRFs. However, the protestation by the APC accredited agents and the production of duplicate RRFs, to back the claim of inaccurate entries, fell on deaf ears, as the Acting Commissioner North, Mr. Edmond Alpha, dismissed and overruled the objections, and suggested that complaints be forwarded to the National Electoral Commission.”

Lawyer Kamara wrote further that, even after the above incident at Wellington the Secretary-General of the APC, Amb. Dr. Alhaji Foday Yansaneh aforesaid, wrote a letter to CEC Konneh, “vehemently protesting against the provisional results, and that the NEC ICT team, manipulated and entered the wrong figures, giving undue advantage to the SLPP candidate.”

“Regrettably, notwithstanding the letter of the Secretary-General and protestations from the APC, you, Mohamed K. Konneh, Chief Electoral Commissioner, proceeded to announce the final results naming the SLPP candidate, Kalie Thoronka, as the winner of the 2nd October 2021, Bye election for the vacant Council seat in Ward 155, Koinadugu District, without any further probe.”