When Eric Willise Wowoh, CEO of Change Agent Network (CAN) and Opportunity Network Liberia, was leaving Liberia for the USA on January 7, 2022, a lot of people both at home and abroad including friends, partners, family members, workmates thought he was going to be arrested and sent to jail in America upon his arrival in that country because of all the allegations he was facing in Liberia. He decided to make the trip against the pieces of advice and concerns of everyone.
Eric said he had no fear because he did nothing wrong and his heart is pure. He didn’t really think that he would have been stopped by federal security agents of the United States Government upon his arrival in the States.
He had flown from Liberia’s Roberts International Airport (RIA) via Brussels Airlines SN-241 heading for Brussels, before boarding a United Airlines flight 973 bound for the O’Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Eric narrated that when the plane came to a stop at the hanger at the terminal, an announcement was made by the pilot that all passengers deboarding the flight should hold in their hands their passport and boarding pass for Boeing 787-9.
“For me, this was very strange. I have flown to many places across the world, and I have never heard such an announcement made before on any flight, especially in the US. However, I didn’t take it to be anything serious. I just did as had been instructed by the pilot,” Eric said.
According to him, at the exit of the tarmac, there were two uniform US Federal Security Agents standing side-by-side and the right-hand side of the tarmac inspecting the traveling documents of each passenger.
“When it was my time, as soon as I presented my passport, the two gentlemen, stopped their inspection and asked me to follow them immediately through a private security route. I never went through the regular immigration and customs processing screening. Everyone began looking at me like I was an international criminal. It was a bit embarrassing and shocking to me. I have lived in America for the past 16 years and I have never been stopped or detained by law enforcement officers before. I began to think what have I done wrong? Nevertheless, the officers were very kind, respectful, and professional to me.”
Eric was taken to a small interrogation room where his passport and both of his phones (Liberia and US) along with his laptop were seized and was made to wait for more than 30 minutes as the agents did their job.
“Later, another two agents wearing color cloths (FBI Agents) other than the first ones came back and said, ‘Mr. Wowoh, we are sorry for stopping you. You are not under arrest, and you have not committed any crimes. We want you to know that we are just doing our job. We had received a complaint that you and some of your staff in Liberia were involved in the alleged sexual harassment and abuse of some female students who attend your schools in the country. How do you know Hope Novak, Daniel Dennis, and the Students Against Corruption? These are the people who had told us about these allegations against you.’ I explained to them how I got to know them, and I also presented to them all the reports, including the ones from the Liberia National Police (3 reports), the one I commissioned myself as CEO, and lastly the Bong County Educational Board. After the agents had seen these documents, they asked me the following questions about my organizations, Change Agent Network (CAN) and Opportunity Network Liberia (ONLIB), the work I do both in Liberia and the US, my office location in the US, how do I get funding to operate my entity, the poverty level in Liberia, how much is one US dollar worth in Liberia, and how often am I in Liberia, etc?"
“The agents also were curious to know why these people were so personal with me and how did they get so closed to me? At the end of their questions, they told me, ‘We did not copy or remove anything from both your phones and laptop. Welcome back home! We are sorry that we stopped you. You are free to go and thanks for the job that you are doing for the girls and young people of Liberia,’” Eric narrated.
His passport, phone, and laptop were handed back to him, and he was escorted outside the interrogation room where his baggage was awaiting him. He didn’t have to go through all the other hassles waiting in line to have his passport stamped and or looking for his luggage on the roller. Before leaving the agents’ office, Eric asked the officers if there was anything that he needed to be concerned about from the US government and they said that there was absolutely nothing to worry about.
According to him, if the US Federal Agents had seen or found anything that he had done wrong as his “detractors” had said, he would never have been allowed to go home.
Eric narrated this story to let everyone who reads this know that he had also been questioned by the US authority. It is also intended for FrontPageAfrica (FPA) to know that as they (FPA) go about their three-part series investigation into how he had survived all the interrogations in Liberia, they can also contact the US authority and can go back to all the reports that they themselves have published since this whole saga began and concluded. He hopes they do their investigation properly by reading all the reports, research, and analysis, and having all the facts straight before making any conclusion. He threatens legal action if defamation of character of himself and CAN-US Board President Dr. Stefania Forte is done.
“Despite all these unprecedented attacks against me and my noble organization from our enemies because of envy, jealousy, and hatred, I and my team are still determined, committed and confident that we will fulfill our mission in Liberia which is to break the cycle of poverty through education, mentorship, sustainable development, and the Hope of the Gospel. What we are doing in Liberia, is bigger than me, Daniel Dennis, Students Against Corruption, and others who have been working so hard to destroy everything and take me down,” Mr. Wowoh said.
He called on the LNP to launch an investigation into Mr. Daniel Dennis and his Students Against Corruption; adding: “I think their name should be changed to Students for Corruption instead.”
Police Investigation and Findings
The Liberian National Police began an in-depth investigation into the allegations in September 2021 when it was reported to them by Wowoh. In their final “Confirmation Clearance” report, under the signature of Charles B. Blake, Commissioner of Police for CSD, CID, and Interpol Affairs, issued on December 22, 2021, the LNP cleared Mr. Eric W. Wowoh of all sexual misconduct (rape) within Triple-A in Gbarnga, Bong County and at Heart of Grace School in Johnsonville, Monrovia.
CAN US Board Findings
Following the police report, the CAN US Board, too, commissioned their independent investigation. The investigation, which had started in the US, was conducted chiefly by Dr. Stefania Forte, head of the CAN US Board and it lasted the whole month of March 2022. Dr. Forte started to review dates and completed interviews while in the USA via zoom before she came to Liberia. The Liberia aspect of the investigation, which began from March 5 to 13, 2022, was intended “to conduct a fact-finding investigation with the goal of gathering all relevant information pertaining to allegations of sexual assault and mismanagement of Change Agent Network’s funds.”
When Dr. Forte arrived in Liberia, she was joined in the investigation by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and a legal practitioner. Ms. Maminah Carr-Gaye, Assistant Gender Minister of Child Protection and Social Services, Atty. Henry Barkoun, an independent attorney, and Ms. Joy C. Onos were those who assisted Dr. Forte in her investigation of the allegations against Eric. Again, the report exonerated all allegations on both campuses.
Financial Audit Report
Meanwhile, BICON Incorporated, a Certified Public Accountants and Certified Fraud Examiner, which audited CAN’s financial records for the last three years ending on December 31, 2021, also cleared Eric of all financial mismanagement of CAN’s funds.
“We have audited the accompanying financial statements of CAN Inc., which comprise the income statement, Cash Status and Fund Balance for the period then ended,” BICON said in its audit report.
The report also shows that Wowoh was able to raise at least US$1,505,149.00 (One million, five hundred and five thousand, four hundred and forty-nine United States Dollars) over the same period for his organization.