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NEC’S Alex Paila Breaks Silence…APC Stalwarts Ordered My Arrest!

Winifred Hannah Koroma

March 19, 2018 

Nec
Alex Paila: victim of conspiracy?

If you have been reading local newspapers and following threads on various social media platforms in the lead up to the crucial presidential run-off on March 27, Alex Paila, District Electoral Officer in the newly carved out district of Falaba, you would be forgiven for thinking that he has been tried and convicted for “ballot stuffing and manipulation of results in favour of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP).”

As a result, Paila and his deputy, Abdullahi Jalloh, have been in police custody for days in the northern provincial headquarters of Makeni. They are yet to be charged to court for any electoral offence(s) and efforts to release them on bail, according to sources within the National Electoral Commission (NEC), have so far been unsuccessful.

In a Whatsapp message from custody, he explains his side of the story: “I, Alex Tomahyei Paila, Ag. DEO Falaba District was arrested on Tuesday 13th March, 2018, afternoon by Police AIG-North Amos Kamara on the orders of the APC candidate of Constituency 039, Lawyer Chernor Maju Benedict Jalloh and the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Abubakarr Fofanah in the presence of Chief Sheik Koroma at the Regional NEC Tally Centre in Makeni, while I was recounting votes from Constituency 039, because of some discrepancies.

“Ag. ADEO [Assistant District Election Officer] Falaba Abdullahi Jalloh was also arrested and detained Thursday, 15th March, 2018 after obtaining statement from him at the Mena Police Station. Paila has spent four days and Jalloh two days, and we are still in detention.

“Our Regional Commissioner-North Macksood Gibril Sesay and NEC lawyers have been making tremendous efforts to free us, but we are still in detention and might appear in court anytime from now. Today it is Paila and Jalloh who are suffering under Pontius Pilates in the line of NEC duties. Which NEC District staff will be next in the firing line?”

If the two NEC staff are not charged and brought to court today, they would have spent six and three days respectively in police custody.

Part X of the Public Elections Act 2012 creates a long of list of electoral offences which are punishable by either a fine or prison term.

Meanwhile, NEC, in a public statement last week said it had put on hold the declaration of parliamentary results and that a high level delegation, headed by the commissioner north, Macksood Gibril Sesay, has been dispatched to the district to do a recount.

The opposition SLPP reportedly won two parliamentary seats in the district, with the ruling APC winning three, although this might change after the recount.

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