Liberia: LWSC’s Manager Walks Free as LACC Discontinues US$80K Case

In a dramatic twist of events, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) has decided to discontinue the case against George Nyenkan, the Materials Manager at the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC), along with five others, including high-ranking officials, on allegations of corrupt practices related to the mismanagement of funds and resources.

The LACC entered nolle prosequi in the case, leading to the discharge of Nyenkan by the court. The allegations against Nyenkan and the other defendants, who were dragged to Criminal Court 'C' on allegations of corrupt practices two years ago, involved the misapplication of US$80,570, including the unauthorized sale of fuel donated by the World Bank for COVID-19 support.

Other defendants were Duanna Kamara, the former Managing Director, Moisery Momkh, the Deputy Managing Director for Administration, Shad Massaquoi, manager/coordinator of Grand Bassa County, Mohammed Konneh, owner of Sesay's Brothers Business Center and Ayouba Kamara, an employee of the business center. 

They were also accused of engaging in several transactions and the sale of fuel oil donated by the World Bank — transactions that violated established government regulations.

Nyenkan was accused of approving the receipt and distribution of the fuel without proper documentation and accountability. 

When the matter was first scheduled for proceedings, lawyers representing the LACC' told assigned Judge Blamo Dixon that the state was discontinuing the matter against George Nyenkan through a request for nolle prosequi.

“The matter was scheduled for continuation of trial. However, the court was informed that the state has discontinued the matter against defendant George Nyenkan through a nolle prosequi,” Dixon said. 

Judge Dixon said in light of the nolle prosequi entered by the LACC, he had discontinued proceedings against Nyenken and discharged him.

It remains unclear why the LACC decided to discontinue the case against Nyenkan, prompting speculation among legal experts about the potential motives behind this development. Suggestions of a possible compromise or cooperation between Nyenkan and the LACC have been raised, although the exact reasons for the nolle prosequi remain undisclosed.

In 2021, the LACC investigated alleged malpractices at the LWSC and indicted all the defendants for fraud on the internal revenue of Liberia (economic sabotage), illegal disbursement and expenditure of public money, and misuse of public money, property or Records, theft of property, misapplication of entrusted property and criminal conspiracy.

George Nyenkan’s Role 

The indictment alleges that Nyenkan, on May 21, 2020, approved and received  8,000 gallons of fuel donated by the World Bank in support of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 8000 gallons, the indictment alleges were received in two segments, the first was 5, 000  and the second one was 3000.

The fuel was received and signed for by Nyenkan, and he also placed them in the Corporation’s storage that he supervised. According to the indictment, on June 3, 2020, defendant Nyenkan took another 11,000 gallons of fuel amounting to US$19,000  to an unknown destination, and he could account for them during the investigation.

Defendant Nyenkan, the LACC, claims that he admitted to the illegal transaction but said they sold the fuel to a vendor whose name he could not remember. And, he received the money from the transaction.

The indictment alleges that in Nyenkan’s capacity as head of material administration; he received an additional 19,000 gallons and sold them for US$49,000, by colluding with his co-defendants and they distributed the proceeds from their illegal transactions.

A thorough check of the court records did not show they do not show what prompted the nolle prosequi in favor of Nyenkan. But legal experts are raising suspicions that a similar pattern could be implored by the remaining defendants. 

Others believe LACC’s prosecutors and Nyenkan may have reached a compromise either for him to pay back his share of the money misapplied or to serve as the state witness to testify against his indicted colleagues. 

This decision by the LACC to drop the case against Nyenkan has generated discussions about the implications for anti-corruption efforts in Liberia and the commitment to combating corruption in both the public and private sectors.As investigations and legal proceedings continue, stakeholders are closely monitoring the situation to uphold integrity and accountability in governance, especially as fear that the new LACC could undermine President Joseph Boakai's quest to fight corruption in private and public sectors if care is not taken.