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Claiming forgery charges against him are trumped up, presidential contender Cummings is financing his own investigation
Alexander Cummings, the leader of the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC), is bringing in Cherie Blair, the senior QC and wife of Britain's former Prime Minister Tony Blair, as he seeks to prove his innocence against charges that he and several ANC colleagues forged the signatures of fellow opposition leaders when establishing an electoral pact.
The agreement between Cummings's ANC and the All Liberia Party of Benoni Urey, the Liberty Party, and the former ruling Unity Party has gradually unravelled, with Urey accusing Cummings of forging signatures in the Framework Document between the parties (AC Vol 63 No 6, Weah slaloms through the opposition).
The collapse of the opposition coalition, and the chaotic circumstances, are a main reason why President George Weah is on course to be re-elected in 2023.
A statement issued on behalf of Cummings, a wealthy former Coca-Cola Company executive, contended that the 'trumped-up charges are a malicious and politically motivated attempt to smear his reputation and undermine his candidacy for president.'
It added that Cherie Blair has been brought in to lead an independent and internationally-staffed forensic investigation into the document-tampering allegations made by the ALP, with staff from Blair's own Omnia Strategy LLP, and London-based intelligence firm, Alaco.
Blair has been instructed to 'independently, objectively, and comprehensively investigate the CPP Framework Document tampering allegations and to report her findings without fear or favour', the statement adds.
'During the course of his trial, the government and his accusers have attempted to deceive and lie to the people of Liberia. Our nation deserves this report.'
Cummings believes that his court case has been repeatedly delayed to prevent him from campaigning.
Urey, one of Liberia's wealthiest men, is expected to stand in his own right in next year's presidential elections (AC Vol 57 No 14, Ellen's followers & Vol 58 No 16, After Ellen). Cummings has accused President Weah of interference in his trial, and says Urey's ALP and Weah's ruling Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) are collaborating.
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