News / Africa

Former Liberian NEC Communications Chief Denies Being Opposition 'Agent'

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James Butty

The former communications chief of the National Elections Commission of Liberia says he has never been a paid agent of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC).

Bobby Livingstone was dismissed last week after a letter, signed by then NEC chairman James Fromayan, was made public stating that the CDC received the highest vote total in Liberia’s first round balloting in October instead of the ruling Unity Party.

Fromayan, who has since stepped down, says the letter was the work of a “paid CDC agent” within the commission.

Livingston says, while he might have had some knowledge of a draft of the letter, he was not part of the final version.

“There was a letter that should have been read.  That is a fact.  But, as I said, when I was leaving that day, the letter was given to my assistant for it to be finalized.  In fact, we all agreed that we still needed to do some verification of those things; we all agreed that we will just do it the following day.  It was at that time that I turned the letter over to my assistant,” he said.

Livingstone said his deputy, Nathan Mulbah, took the letter to Fromayan who then made some changes before giving it back to Livingstone’s deputy, who took it to the legal secretary.

Livingstone said it was during this time that the letter might have been “transposed.”

“It was no longer in the original format because, when it [the letter] got back, I wasn’t there anymore and Nathan printed the draft that he had in the computer and sent it to the special assistant. That was what they did,” Livingstone said.

Mulbah was suspended by the NEC’s Board of Commissioners for six months for what was described as negligence.  He insists he was not a paid agent of the CDC, as alleged by Fromayan.

“At this stage, he [Fromayan] will not look into my face and say such things to me, and I would just link some of these things to a long held enmity he may have [been] harboring,” Livingstone said.

Livingstone said, even if he had any political linkages, Liberian law requires that those appointed to the NEC sever all past political connections.  He said the Board of Commissioners’ decision to relieve him of his post was a wrongful action against him.

“Given the facts and circumstances that I presented to you, I think it should be evident that I’m innocent of this communication and the criminal intent they tried to insert and inculcate into their debate as a way of putting their blame on me is so inconceivable and unthinkable,” Livingstone said.

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