The head of the Special Presidential Task Force (SPTF) Cllr. Fonati Koffa yesterday briefed traditional leaders at the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Monrovia on the Global Witness report that accuses several current and past government officials of taking bribes from a UK mining company.
Cllr. Koffa told the traditional leaders that he was mandated by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to investigate the case and bring to justice those that will be found guilty.
He said the investigation is to ensure that any of those officials accused and eventually found guilty will face justice, because the name Liberia has been tarnished to the outside world.
“Sable Mining and Cllr. Sherman allegedly paid bribes in order to change Liberia’s law and get their hands on one of its most prized assets, the Wologizi concession,” said Cllr. Koffa.
“You know the issue of corruption did not just start in this government but far back and because of that other people are enriching themselves with government resources,” he said.
He said further that when Global Witness released the report on the government officials, the President was shocked and immediately set up the committee to investigate them.
“When this committee was set up to investigate the officials, some refused to be investigated by us and recommended that they be sent to court and their request was granted,” he told a cross section of traditional leaders from the 15 the counties.
He told them that the taskforce has interviewed more than 12 witnesses in Liberia and abroad and reviewed more than 700 pages of evidence.
Mr. Koffa noted that corruption has taken over Liberia and as such, his task force is to ensure that it is completely subdued in the country, adding that once the accused are found guilty, they will spend a minimum of five years in prison.
For their part, the traditional leaders asked Cllr. Koffa why President Sirleaf should prosecute people for corruption now when there have been many corrupt cases before.
They suggested to Cllr. Koffa to take time to investigate the case and urged the government not to stop and ensure that other corrupt cases are also investigated.
Also speaking, Deputy Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf commended the traditional leaders for showing up for the meeting.
He said the meeting was intended to brief them on the Global Witness case and what the government was doing or has done so far.
Minister Sirleaf told them that after hearing the message they should go back as ambassadors to disseminate the rightful information to their people back in their various chiefdoms, districts and counties.
The meeting brought together Superintendents, Commissioners, Town Chiefs and others from the 15 political sub-divisions of Liberia.