Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa, the head of the Special Presidential Taskforce investigating the allegations found in the controversial Global Witness report released in May this year, has also been tasked by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as the Ombudsman (‘her trouble-shooter’, he calls himself) on issues concerning another controversial document of national proportion: the National Code of Conduct.
According to him, the Ombudsman is an independent autonomous body, responsible to receive and investigate all complaints, in respect to the adherence to the National Code of Conduct. In the case where there is a determination of guilt and violation of the code by private and Public Officials and Employees of Government, said violation shall be submitted by the Ombudsman to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) or other relevant Agencies of Government.
“The Ombudsman,” Koffa said, “shall be responsible for the enforcement, oversight, monitoring and evaluation of adherence to the Code of Conduct.”
It has been nearly two weeks since civil society and opposition leaders cried foul over an alleged violation of controversial Code of Conduct by members of the President Sirleaf’s cabinet who won key positions in the ruling Unity Party at the party’s recent national convention. Those who took issue with the UP elections cite a section of the Code of Conduct Law prohibiting appointed members of government participating in political campaign activities.
Despite the Ombudsman’s Code of Conduct, Minister Koffa, in a firm tone, said since his appointment, the investigation and prosecution of indictees in the Global Witness Report, has been the most challenging and tedious, because it includes investigation and prosecution of top officials from three countries; Liberia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
He maintained that the Special Presidential Taskforce returned in early July from Europe with mountain of evidence, and said that more people would be indicted based on substantial evidence.
The Minister dismissed media reports that the Committee’s delay in revealing more names suggests that they are without of evidence. Instead, he said, they treading carefully to ensure a concrete prosecution.
Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa, who also serves as Special Presidential Prosecutor, says the Taskforce is confident that House Speaker J. Alex Tyler, Grand Cape Mount Senator Cllr. Varney Sherman and others would be found guilty and be sentenced, given the “overwhelming and substantial evidence” in its possession.
Cllr. Koffa, did not detail the body of evidence in the possession of the Taskforce, but boasted that their evidence gathered in Europe is satisfactory.
Giving remarks regarding the case already before the court, Cllr. Koffa said there are lots of compelling interests in the ongoing case of the controversial Global Witness allegations, so the case would be speedy. Said interests, he said, come from the taskforce, the government, the court, and the international body.
“I would be disappointed if the Grand Jury does not come out with a verdict in mid 2017 owing to the evidence,” He said.
Minister Koffa made these remarks in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer last week in his Foreign Ministry offices on Capitol Hill.
Describing his role as Minister of State without Portfolio Cllr. Koffa said his position as compelled him to be “the President’s Trouble-shooter.”
He said as the Minister without Portfolio, his status is equal to a Minister but with no specific responsibilities or a Minister who does not head a particular Ministry, but is given responsibilities by the President, which he termed as “Trouble-shooting, or diagnosing and solving problems.”
More specifically, Cllr. Koffa’s current tasks would include investigations, recommendations for dismissals and prosecution, even though he did not squarely say.