Fear Grips CSOs

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L-R Lawrence Yealue, Anderson Maimen, Harold M. Aidoo and Eddie Jarwolo

Amid the mysterious deaths of public officials

Four leading civil society organizations in advocacy for democracy, governance, accountability, and the promotion of rule of law, have registered their concerns and expressed fear over the mysterious death of two public officials of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and another one whose death is attributed to an accident but heavily disputed based on the wounds that led to this death.

The four organizations; Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD), Naymote Partners for Democratic Development, and the Accountability Lab Liberia, in a release issued October 8, 2020, emphasized that: “The unexplained deaths of public servants including Albert K. Peters, Gifty Asmah Lama, and George F. Fahnboto at the LRA, claim our attention. All of these are happening months after Matthew Innis, a senior at the Central Bank of Liberia was killed in a purported hit-and-run accident on March 1, 2019 without any conclusive outcome since an investigation was launched by the Liberia National Police.

The four civil society organizations themselves have been in the vanguard of criticizing the George Weah Administration for corruption, counting on the unaccounted US$25 million meant for mop-up exercise, the alleged missing L$16 billion, and circumstances of the food distribution under the COVID-19 stimulus package.  With these, the CSOs fear that if public officials in strategic positions can die under mysterious circumstances, it is highly possible their heads advocating for democratic governance and at times criticizing the government can be targeted for elimination similarly.

Besides, the CSOs are also concerned that such mysterious deaths of public officials are instilling fear in citizens and have the propensity to undermine investors’ confidence in the country.  Also, the groups claim such deaths tend to undermine democratic gains made over the years through collective efforts by Liberians and development partners.

“Hence, we call on the Government of Liberia, especially President George M. Weah to take serious action by initiating timely, credible and comprehensive investigations into these matters, with timely reports to the public about their outcomes.”

In what sounds like speculations, the civil society organizations in their release issued on October 8, 2020 further indicate that, “We are equally terrified by reports of key political actors reportedly being tailed daily by unknown men and reported assassins to eliminate key political actors.  We fear that the country is gradually slipping into anarchy and therefore call on the government and international community, particularly the Embassy of the United States of America, the European Union and other international partners, to intervene.”

The groups also expressed their concerns that Liberia already in a struggling economy needs competent and credible people to manage the country’s resources for equitable distribution and accountability, but the deaths of strategically placed officials, especially individuals somehow linked to efforts aimed at protecting and safeguarding and assets, do not augur well for peace and security of the country as well as stakeholders’ confidence in its governance process.

“We strongly encourage the Government to do more to protect the fundamental human rights of all citizens and residents of Liberia, especially their rights to life and free movement,” the release said.

The civil society organizations are also drawing attention to the impunity that they believe is the basis for the mysterious killing in the country.

“Importantly, also, we call on the US Government and other partners to closely follow these investigations and support government, in whatever means possible, to timely conclude them ensuring that the outcomes are published and fully implemented.  Impunity for economic, financial and other crimes committed have been a long-standing issue in Liberia, and we believe that the country cannot continue on this path whereby innocent lives are lost under mysterious circumstances and with little or no accountability,” they claim.

The groups are also raising concern that the transfer of Professor Wilson Tarpeh from the Commerce Ministry where he stayed and served as a chairperson on the Steering Committee for the COVID-19 stimulus package to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), without accountability, is unfair to the country and its people.

“We strongly believe that nominating former Minister Tarpeh without accounting for the Stimulus Package and Household Food Support Program, as head of the Committee, undermines the good governance and public accountability, thereby sending a very bad message to the public and our partners about Government’s commitment to fight against corruption and ensure that public assets are properly managed and accounted for at all times,” the groups said.

“Unfortunately, after over five (5) months, the over 30 million United States Dollars allocated for the Stimulus Package and Household Food Support Program is yet to be properly utilized and accounted for, as the contract between the World Food Program (WFP) and the Government of Liberia that contains details of the food distribution exercise and other pertinent information is still a top secret, as sad and disappointing reality.”

With no reference to any individual, the groups in their release noted:  “It must be noted that emergency is one of the periods during which unscrupulous individuals and groups collude to misdirect public resources and assets.  And from all indications, the limited transparency and accountability associated with the Household Food Program/Stimulus Package leave more questions than answers in terms of the Liberian WFP’s proper handling of the process.”

“Simply put, we call President Weah to withdraw the nomination of Professor Tarpeh until he fully and properly accounts for the Stimulus Package and Household Food Support Program. Furthermore, we are calling for a timely and comprehensive audit to be conducted by the General Audit Commission to validate any account from the Professor. Equally, we call on the Government of Liberia and WFP to release the contract and all associated documents for the Stimulus Package to the public, as there should be nothing secret about the process, especially so, that the money in question has been borrowed to be repaid by Liberians through their taxes and other resources. We call on the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General to institute a full audit of the WFP handling of the Covid-19 food support program in Liberia,” said the CSOs.

10 COMMENTS

  1. How would one not be terrified when war criminals who terrorized and subjected Liberians to crimes against humanity ranging from subjecting them to extreme victimization and murder during the civil crisis are holding key government positions? What would you expect if the police at large is unwilling to properly and independently investigate incidents due to lack of professionalism, fear and inability for the government and the police itself to build its capacity? I am not blaming the police for what happened ,I am blaming it for the manner in which it handled the crime scene. The generalization “police” does not include exemplary members of the LNP that perform their duties with distinction and honor, protecting and serving the country despite constraints within the system.

    The increasingly mysterious deaths that occur here in Liberia are well designed tactics engineered to instill fear, silence and ultimately designed to prevent potential targets from following the same course of action that led the victims to their demise. There is no other logical explanation ( for the unexplained deaths) than to assume at this point in time that they are murders. Despite legal uncertainty, Information from media outlets and public speculation seem to be pointing to a “foul play” here.

    It is very easy in Liberia for someone with a sinister agenda being investigated to hire a hit men to silence and deter people they feel is a threat to their crime or objective . Do not be afraid of speaking the thruth and performing your duties , for if we allow them to silence us, they will control and run at will.

    Giving the fear instilled in auditors (especially those at LRA), and had I been the President, I would assign or pay for private(given the lack confidence in the state security apparatus) or assign public security to all auditors deem to be at risk. Digitizing the whole governmental system can help minimize corruption. The work of the auditor will reduced significantly. The system will expose any potential malfeasance before it happens. It is not a fool proof but it works. It helps our well meaning auditors no BS auditors feel safe! Other buffer measures could be put in place to shield and assure the group at risk. Now that’s a safe working environment!

    As for accountability, Liberia has a long way to go! Many people are in government for wrong reasons! The WFP being a UN agency should know better!

    • Talking is free. Thanks to Facebook, and the Democratic Government in Liberia, any Tom, Dick and Harry can freely expressed their limitations.

      • What does my freedom of expression have to do with facebook and the “Democratic Government of Liberia” ? I am afraid you are the must be one of the most ignorant person I ever met on the net. You won’t be the last. I am glad my “limitations” expressed my opinion Isaac.

        A bunch of you “sheep” will quickly associate any comment people make with attack against your party. This has nothing to do with party. It’s reality. It’s what’s happening on a daily basis. You just acted like you’re from the DPRK. When did GoL become democratic ? Liberia is far from democratic. And by the way, I am not just any Tom, Dick and Harry like you! You may carry on with your drinking!

        • Call me John Doe, make no mistake about that, I am not of any political party, and have no interest in politics.. When I told you the other day about your limitations and your unnecessary habit of ranting boredom on matters you do not know anything meaningful about, and you obviously do not understand, you went on proving me right via your engagement in dishonesty. A dishonesty evidencing your ignorance and vain cravings. Now, you can see that someone else is pointing out to you exactly what I saw about you in your vain cravings.

          In other words, you reason like a child and rant as an ignoramus. If you knew anything essential really, you would know that these tragedies in Liberia are not confined to Liberia, nor can one compare them with similar homicides in the west or within the rest. Can any intelligent, well informed, and or objective mind, claim that the lot of similar killings in these countries render these countries undemocratic, or the police force s of these countries are inefficient or unprofessional? No!

          As a matter of fact, today Liberia is too democratic! And that is why losers of elections abuse these democratic rights every now and then to achieve what the people rejected them about during those elections. And you know it!

          So, Isaac right that you are one of those Tom, Dick, or Harry, abusing the unprecedented heights and vastness of democracy in Liberia, by such as you coming here to pretend and disparage, when you are actually not well informed, and of course do not have the academic, professional, or intellectual knowledge and or understandings of matters.

          • You are ignored! How can a fool without credentials and credibility constantly contradicting himself allude to me as lacking “intellectual knowledge”? I am not a sheep and neither am I dishonest. I speak the thruth and fear no man! I am not a “so say one, so say all” sheep , the like of which you are.

            You live in denial and insensitive to the ordeal and challenges that country is facing. Liberia claims to practice democracy, but it’s not a democratic country. If you define it as a West African derivative of democracy, then I’ll accept. Which democratic country will allow war criminals participate in governance, continuously defying prosecution?

            I can’t argue with you. You have proven that you are a part of this bunch. Live your life of misery and denial!
            You are an the long arm of tyrants! I ignored you but you keep coming on here purporting to be a security personnel by scraping incoherent terms off the net pretending to be an enlighten individual. You will never know my credentials no matter how much you push.

            Oh, you keep validating me by even plagiarizing my nom de plum /alias style yet having the guts to underestimate me! What a shame!

          • REPOSTED!!!!

            You are ignored! How can a fool without credentials and credibility, constantly contradicting himself allude to me as lacking “intellectual knowledge”? I am not a sheep and neither am I dishonest. I speak the thruth and fear no man! I am not a “so say one, so say all” sheep , the like of which you are.

            You live in denial and are definitely insensitive to the ordeal and challenges that our country is facing. Liberia claims to practice democracy, but it’s not a democratic country. If you define it as a West African derivative of democracy, then I’ll accept. Which democratic country will allow war criminals participate in governance, continuously defying prosecution?

            I shouldn’t be talking to you. You have proven that you are a part of this bunch. Live your life of misery and denial! You are a long arm of these tyrants! I ignored you, but you keep coming on here engaging me and purporting to be a security personnel (as per the last exchange we had days ago) by scraping incoherent terms off the net pretending to be an enlightened individual. You will never know my credentials no matter how much you push.

            Oh, you keep validating me by even plagiarizing my nom de plum /alias style yet having the guts to underestimate me! What a shame!

      • By the way, I’ve done a quick internet profiling on your partial commenting on issues of concern in Liberia. You are bias and reckless in your commenting! You’re not worth my attention! You are indirectly contributing to the suffering of our people by being in denial. If you lack the ability to join the voice of the people, keep silent!

        • Call me John Doe, your ”attention” is irrelevant. What is vitally important is that intelligent commenters like us, turn your frivolous rant on its own head, and expose your ignorance swiftly. We have the advantage, taking into account the towering level of our astuteness in these matters, compared with your layman’s knowledge.

    • How would one not be terrified when war criminals who terrorized and subjected Liberians to crimes against humanity ranging from subjecting them to extreme victimization to murder during the civil crisis are holding key government positions? What would you expect if the police at large is unwilling to properly and independently investigate incidents due to lack of professionalism, fear and inability for the government and the police itself to build its capacity? I am not blaming the police for what happened ,I am blaming it for the manner in which it handled the crime scene. The generalization “police” does not include exemplary members of the LNP that perform their duties with distinction and honor, protecting and serving the country despite constraints within the system.

      The increasingly mysterious deaths that occur here in Liberia are well designed tactics, engineered to instill fear, silence and ultimately designed to prevent potential targets from following the same course of action that led the victims to the victims demise. There is no other logical explanation ( for the unexplained deaths) than to assume at this point in time that they are murders. Despite legal uncertainty, Information from media outlets and public speculation seem to be pointing to a “foul play” here.

      It is very easy in Liberia for anyone with a sinister agenda being investigated to hire a hit man or hit men to silence and deter people they feel is a threat to their crime or objective . Do not be afraid of speaking the thruth and performing your duties , for if we allow them to silence us, they will control and run us at will.

      Giving the fear instilled in auditors (especially those at LRA), and had I been the President, I would have assigned or paid for private security services (given the lack confidence in the state security apparatus) or assigned public security to all auditors deemed to be at risk. Digitizing the whole governmental system can help minimize corruption. The work of the auditor will be significantly lessened. The system at an early stage, will expose any potential “financial or logistical malfeasance” before it occurs. It is not a fool proof system, but it works. It helps our well meaning or no BS auditors to feel safe! Other buffer measures could be implemented to shield and assure the group at risk. Now that’s a safe working environment!

      As for accountability, Liberia has a long way to go! Many people are in government for wrong reasons! The WFP being a UN agency should know better!

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