Several citizens of Grand Cape Mount County in Monrovia are angry at two search warrants drawn up to search the offices of the Sherman & Sherman Law Firm and the home of Senator Varney G. Sherman, Chairman of the ruling Unity Party in connection with a recent Global Witness Report, linking him and several current and ex-officials of government to a bribery scandal with Sable Mining of the United Kingdom.
A sampling of those interviewed insisted that Senator Sherman deserves better treatment than what happened on Monday.
Cape Mount Superintendent Tenneh Kpadabeh told the Daily Observer yesterday via mobile phone from Robertsport, Cape Mount County that people in the county received the incident with mixed reactions and noted that she was not satisfied at the manner the situation was handled.
“Senator Sherman is sitting senator of the county and therefore he must be treated as befits his position and people should not go about disgracing him because of report of bribery allegations,” she said.
Other Cape Mountaineers told the Daily Observer in interviews conducted yesterday that as far as they are concerned, the Liberian government is carrying out a witch hunt against the man who represents their interests in the government.
The Global Witness report alleges that the Sable Mining Company offered a bribe of US$950,000 to several Liberian officials to amend the country’s concession laws in its favor to exploit Mount Wologisi in Lofa County.
President Sirleaf constituted an investigative taskforce headed by the Minister of State without Portfolio, Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa immediately following publication of the damning report last week, to probe the allegation.
But Cllr. Sherman, who is also Senior Senator for Grand Cape Mount County, has questioned the taskforce’s credibility and vehemently vowed that he will not present himself for an interrogation except in court.
The citizens said corruption is rampant in Liberia and therefore, Cllr. Sherman should not submit himself to Koffa’s taskforce until the process is done properly, because he is not the only one linked to the report.
“How can a lawmaker and a sitting senator of a county, and party chairman of the ruling government be searched in the manner it has been done and we, the people of Cape Mount say no to the Global Witness Report and we condemn the means to humiliate Cllr. Sherman,” said another who asked not to be named.
Student Michael L. Smith from Robertsport, capital of the county, said in an interview at the Number One Entertainment Center on Broad and Johnson Streets in Monrovia that the saga of Senator Sherman on Monday showed complete disrespect to him and the county and it is a mockery of justice.
He said there are other corruption cases in the country and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission is doing nothing about them and the government should use the judicial system that Cllr. Sherman has indicated to effect due process.
“Let’s look at the corruption case at NOCAL when people including President Sirleaf’s son, Robert, was reported to have been involved in wasting away millions of dollars of tax payers’ money and also the Japanese fund that some officials abused at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Smith said.
Smith called on President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to stop the unnecessary harassment against Cllr. Sherman and use the proper and the most acceptable means to get to the bottom of the allegations.
“If President Sirleaf has anything against Cllr. Sherman, it must be resolved at the party level and not use allegations that are yet to indict anyone to disgrace Cllr. Sherman,” said Smith.
“What happened to Madam Matilda Parker’s corruption case, which also involved Christiana Paelay who, are supposed to face justice for misusing US$800,000 of tax payers’ money?” Smith asked.
He said what President Sirleaf allowed the Koffa taskforce to do on Monday means that she can get at any political leader and disgrace anyone at any time.
Musu Fahnbulleh, a business woman from Jene-wonde, expressed dissatisfaction over what happened at the offices and home of Cllr. Sherman.
“Nobody is above the law and Senator Sherman is an honorable man and therefore he must be treated as such and not be subjected to unnecessary searches,” she said.
Ms. Fahnbulleh is calling on the Ellen led Government to immediately extend an apology to Cape Mount Senator Sherman.
“If this government is ready to fight corruption then I think Robert Sirleaf should account for NOCAL’s millions that was misused and Madam Matilda Parker and others must also suffer as much,” she said
Last Monday morning police and LACC investigators, armed with search warrants searched the offices of Sherman & Sherman Law Firm but they were prevented by some UP partisans from searching his Congo Town residence.