Alex Paila, the man in centre of March 7 elections controversy says he was busy with his job when operatives of the All People’s Congress ordered for his arrest. He and Abdullah Jalloh, his deputy, were in charge of newly carved Falaba district.
Reports in recent weeks rope in the officials in electoral malpractices. They have been in custody in the northern city of Makeni since then. He offered to speak in his own account whilst in custody. This is his WhatsApp message:
“I, Alex Tomahyei Paila, Acting District Electoral Officer 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 more than 72 hours in police custody.
Part X of the Public Elections Act 2012 creates a long 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.