The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Defense, Intelligence and Veterans Affairs has called on all actors “especially the Executive Branch of government which enforces the law to be cautious in the handling of the Global Witness Report, with specific reference to the rule of law and public order.
Lofa County Senator Stephen Zargo at a security sector press conference yesterday made it emphatically clear that no one was above the law, and that his Committee was in no way against bringing to justice anyone who has been accused of violating “any of our laws.”
Notwithstanding, Senator Zargo warned that “we should never support any process that can be proven to be procedurally erratic, and has the propensity to stir up tension and threaten public order.”
The outspoken former Police officer further warned that the possibility of terrorists taking advantage of any public disorder and chaotic situation cannot be ruled out, and admonished state actors to take note of comments by the United Nations Security Council, the Secretary General and the US Envoy that Liberia’s work to improve its security is not finished.
“Rather, we should endeavor to provide training, logistical and other capacities of the national security sector in general to enable them to adequately and professionally respond to any situation that would threaten the peace and security of our country. “
Cognizant of what he described as a lot of gains made in the country’s national security arena, the Lofa County lawmaker however, sounded a caveat that” if we do not conduct the affairs of the state cautiously, there is a possibility of reversing the gains we have made in the national security sector. “
Zargo recalled that the final report of the UN panel of experts also underscored this when they expressed concern about the vulnerability of West Africa, particularly Liberia, following a surge in recent terror attacks, while the report further stated that “our security apparatus remains weak, undermined by operational difficulties, budgetary constraints, and lack of adequate equipment which undercuts (morale).”
Senator Zargo asserted that issues permeating the country’s national security in recent times have to do with terrorism in the West Africa (Mano River basin), UNMIL drawdown, Tamaya Vessel mystery and the saga surrounding the Global Witness Report of alleged bribery involving the Sable Mining Africa Limited, some past and current members of the Liberian Legislature, and several members of the Executive Branch.
“We conclude by calling again for a National Security Dialogue, where former and present elements of our national security sector on one hand, and current actors from sisterly national security entities on the other hand can sit and discuss, with the view of taking charge of our security responsibilities at this critical moment of our security and political transition.”
Answering a reporter’s question, Zargo speaking from his Capitol Hill offices, said he would have resigned if he was implicated in the alleged bribery scandal and go through the legal process.
Responding to another reporter’s question he denied any knowledge or information about rumors of a plot to impeach President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
He said both his Liberty Party and the Senate’s positions in the Global Witness Report are documented.