-Welcomes the establishment of War and Economic Crimes court
Former Liberian Information Minister, Dr. Lawrence Bropleh has expressed regret over government’s payment of salaries to people he referred to as ‘criminals in government.’
He made the remarks when he appeared on OK FM afternoon drive talk show in Monrovia on Tuesday, December 4, 2018.
According to Bropleh, one of the sources of the country’s corruption that is civil servants lack of respect for time allotment to duty, rather play games on social media as well as gossips every sector.
“They are stealing from the Liberian people; they are being paid for stealing. That is one of the biggest avenues of corruption in our country,” he said.
He added, “if heads of all government agencies can correct that, there will be more proficiency.”
He is a former Minister of Information from the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who defended to the core the operations and policies of that administration, which later fell prey to corruption.
Dr. Bropleh said at most of the offices in government, a lot of the staffs work for barely three hours a day but are very complacent marching to banks for their salaries at the end of every month.
“Another frustrating thing that is taking preeminence in [President Weah’s] administration is the act of ministers and several other government officials abandoning their jobs each time to see him off at the Roberts International Airport, each time he departs the country.
They do the same when he is returning home. This is a complete waste of time and misuse of state resources,” he noted.
According to him, when former President Sirleaf assumed office in 2006, her ministers and other officials of government lined up and saw her off as well as welcome her whenever she returned from foreign trips but at the end she frowned at their actions and warned them to stay at work.
He also raised concern over the lack of synchronization of communication in the Weah administration.
“Public relations officers at various government functionaries are disjointedly operating. Each one is only there to promote his or her boss, rather than the institution or government in general,” he alleged.
According to him some Ministers even pay more money to their public relations officers so as to attract the President’s admiration and attention.
“They need to stop the too much talking and do more work. In fact all government PRs should operate under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Information. The Ministry of Information should conduct trainings for all PRs.
“Let there be a specific mechanism and system of reportage at all government offices,” Bropleh admonished.
On the establishment of the war and economic crimes court in the country, Bropleh said he is hundred percent in support of the court’s establishment.
“Now is time to establish the court. The public’s advocacy must be strong. The culture of impunity must be something that is of the past. People must account for their wrong doings,” he said.
According to him, if he were President George Weah for a moment of just thirty seconds, he could have signed a document paving the way for the establishment of the war and economic crimes court.
“I understand the position President Weah finds himself in and I empathize with him but when do we fix this?” he asked rhetorically. “Everyday people are hurt and killed but no justice for the victims. Perpetrators of crimes against other people should account for their actions.”
Bropleh said he is deeply hurt each time he thinks about the pains hundreds of thousands Liberians and other nationals alike encountered during the course of the separate wars that were fought in the country between 1989 and 2003.
He said professionals such as doctors, nurses, lawyers, among others became nameless, faceless and even died at Buduburam camp in Ghana. They were somebodies at some point in time but due to the war, they became nobodies and many of them even lost their lives and were buried without dignity.
“Saying, ‘let it be mehn’ is crippling us in Liberia. Family way of settling major issues is not good. It is compromising the integrity of a whole generation for the sake of a very few,” he said.
Bropleh said family way of settling matters should consist of respect for human life.
“The establishment of the court will never be timely until it becomes the time to do it,” he said. “Should we establish the court when all those who have done so much harm to our people died first?”
About people standing against the arrest of those expected to face justice, he said it is being naïve for anyone to think that a whole county will stand in defense of an accused kinsman or woman.
“No county will rise in defense of a kinsman who has caused so much harm to society. I am of the conviction that we have gone above that low level thinking. Liberians are decent people and I am very sure that everyone wants to see the country become better than what it is now,” he boasted.
He added: “In 20 years from now what will become of those who will replace us? Will they become people with hearts focused on preaching justice? No. Not at all, because people who they consider today as their role models have, in time, killed people and gone without punishment. They stole from the country’s coffers and allowed the majority of the country’s population to suffer.”
Bropleh said people’s mindset about the country’s fragility in peace is completely wrong and as such they should be confident that the peace will no longer be threatened by anyone or a group of people.
He said there is too much abuse of power in the country and there is a need for people to understand how to use power when given to them by the people for whom they work.
“Power should be used with humility. It should never be brutal. The most powerful person is the one who understands that the dignity of any group of people is respected and maintained. Those who have power, the people must easily gravitate towards them,” he said.
He said people should see themselves as a team always rather than concentrate on selves.
“See, if it does not affect us we don’t care. Whatever affects one Liberian should affect all of us. That is patriotism. I mean country above individual. Patriotism must be a cause that is in the interest of country rather than individuals,” he admonished.
Montserrado Electoral District #10 Representative, Yekeh Kolubah phoned in on the show and reiterated his support to the establishment of the war and economic crimes court.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister for public affairs at the Ministry of Information, Eugene Fahgon phoned in and said while government welcomes Dr. Bropleh’s suggestion on the need for an urgent establishment of the war crimes court, there is no need for a rush.
“They will not compel us to deviate from our plan. What they did not achieve in 12 years’ time should not be expected in less than a year of our government,” Fahgon said.
He said President Weah has said it in a clear tone that the citizens in their numbers should be the ones deciding between a war crimes court and national reconciliation.