GoL Releases “Persons of Interest” List, But…

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President George M. Weah (pictured) may be walking back on his solemn promise to protect his predecessor, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and shield her from probity and accountability for her 12 years stewardship of the nation.

As public concerns mount about what is seen as runaway corruption in this government and against persistent calls for accountability for the missing L$16 billion and the US$25 million expended on the mopping-up exercise, which was reportedly heavily marred by fraud, the Government of Liberia (GoL) has responded in an apparent attempt to douse the fever pitch of public angst.

As it appears, President George Weah may be walking back on his solemn promise to protect his predecessor, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and shield her from probity and accountability for her 12 years stewardship of the nation. This was demonstrated by the arrest and jailing of her son and former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) on charges of fraud and corruption.

In an interview on Al Jazeera television, former President Sirleaf angrily charged that her son was illegally charged by the Weah government, a position she still maintains.

In a previous interview with eNCA, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, she stormed out of the interview when pressed with charges of corruption against another son, Robert Sirleaf, under whose watch the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) went bust with US$50 million remaining unaccounted for.

When quizzed by journalists, she responded saying she took responsibility although she did not refund the stolen money.

This newspaper recalls the avalanche of reports that poured into its offices accusing the former President of providing substantial material and financial support to the presidential bid of then Senator George Weah during the 2017 elections, which saw his rise to power.

But the honeymoon enjoyed by the pair would soon come to head as President Weah’s financial managers, hemmed by charges of rampant corruption, have turned the tables instead on the former President and her corps of officials, and have now set up what is officially called the Assets Investigation, Restitution and Recovery Team (AIRReT).

Led by Cllr. Syrenius Cephus, the AIRReT has invited former officials of the past government to appear before it, beginning July 22, 2019, to provide clarifications on multiple questions arising out of General Audit Commission (GAC) audit and Liberia Anti Corruption Commission (LACC) investigative reports.

Critics have, however, slammed the move, describing it as an attempt by President Weah to use the former officials as convenient scapegoats to deflect or distract public attention from the indiscretions of the current crop of government officials, who have and continue to face harsh public criticism for being responsible for the current economic down slide.

To what extent these measures will apply remains to be seen against expressed public concerns about past officials including former Speaker Alex Tyler, incumbent Senator Varney Sherman, and others perceived and acclaimed as avowed supporters of this government, who are apparently being let off the hook.

A lawyer, speaking on conditions of anonymity, told the Daily Observer that the exercise is selective and appears indistinguishable from a ‘witch hunt’ because, according to him, the dragnet which should be out for all corrupt officials, past and present, is being adjusted to include only certain officials of the past government, but notably excluding President Sirleaf herself.

Whatever the case, according to the lawyer, the public should be prepared for what could be unexpected twists and turns in this case that may see President Sirleaf digging deep into her arsenal for a response to this development that may not only salvage her battered image, but may succeed in casting doubt and aspersion on President Weah’s true motives for proffering charges against her former officials, including her son now facing court trial on charges of fraud and economic sabotage.

Below is the statement the Asset Investigation, Restitution and Recovery Team (AIRReT released on Thursday, July 18, 2019 by Lafayette O. Gould and, spokesperson and Approved by Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson, Chairman, Special Independent Counsel.

A Partial official list of “Persons and Institutions of Interest” who have been invited by the AIRReT to appear before it starting from July 22, 2019 to provide clarifications on multiple questions arising out of GAC audit and LACC investigative reports:

  1. Pearine Parkinson
  2. Milton & Richards
  3. ECOBANK Liberia Limited
  4. Managing Director of ECOBABK
  5. Lori Shannon/ Karen Richards Barnes
  6. Harry Sando
  7. Joseph F. Johnson
  8. Hon. Brownie J. Samukai, Jr.
  9. J. Nyumah Dorkor
  10. Cllr. Benedict F. Sannoh
  11. Hon. Samuel Wlue
  12. Dr. Walter T. Gwanigale
  13. Matthew T. K. Flomo
  14. Angela Cassell-Bush
  15. John M. Langa
  16. Toagoe T. Karzon
  17. Dr. Bernice Dahn
  18. Hon. Edward Tolbert
  19. Amara Konneh—former Minister of Finance and Development Planning
  20. Binyah Kessely—former Commissioner-General, Liberia Maritime Authority
  21. Patrick Sandolo
  22. Jenkins O. Atuanya
  23. Sam Russ
  24. Norris Tweh
  25. Sumo G. Kupee
  26. Jackson F. Doe
  27. Edwin W. Sarvice
  28. Elizabeth M. Tubman
  29. Philip S. Sassie
  30. Oblayon B. Nyemah
  31. Luna M. Harmon
  32. Beford Quie
  33. Henry Sambola
  34. Samuel Semerville
  35. Sylvester N. Sieh
  36. William Hines
  37. Zack Sharp
  38. Stephen Dorbor
  39. George Miller
  40. Boiyan K. Kpakolo
  41. Herman Jones
  42. Felix McIntosh
  43. Vicent Goi
  44. Cllr. Stanley Kpakillen
  45. Gyude Allison
  46. Samuel Thompson
  47. Alexander S. Kromah
  48. Isaac Jackson

Note: The Chairman and Special Independent Counsel (SIC), Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson, would like to stress that the failure to honor this invitation and seek alternative arrangement for a possible deferred date for the conference at the time of his choosing would be construed and considered as a defiance, and an attempt to undermine the restitution and recovery process, and therefore, a ground to revert to the most appropriate legal recourse to compel compliance.

Signed:______________________
Cllr. Lafayette B. Gould Sr.,
Official Spokesman/AIRReT/MoJ

Approved:________________________
Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson
Chairman/Special Independent Counsel/AIRRET/MoJ/R.L.

6 COMMENTS

  1. This is a foolish and childish play, if you thinks and believed that you have a case against these individuals go to court and bring an indictment against them and stop employing your scar or harassment tactics;it showed what can happen when small boys are given matured men responsibilities.All of those named on this list shall immediately contact their Lawyers to stop this foolishness and money extorting techniques of Arthur Johnson and Cyrenius Cephus. Thanks.

  2. Frankly, these post audit reports and investigations do not yield any meaningful results. At the end of the day, the people of Liberia are robbed. We need a better approach on how funds are disbursed and spent. Why can’t the govt payments be pre-audited before a dime is paid? Let all the ministries and agencies expense by invoice and let the auditors investigate every invoice before payments are made. This way, we will eliminate the fraud. Post auditing is a waste of time, I believe. Better yet, Put the entire national financial system online and let everyone see what these ministers and directors are doing with our money in real time.

  3. Presdent Gearge weah should focus on developing the nation of liberia instead of witch hunting..he is just doing what other african leaders have been doing..this will create more divisions among the people he is in power now let him make sure that the money which goes up for developement he follows all reports on the money being disbursed across liberia charity begins at home let him start with his own ministers n set up a good example out of the current administration

  4. This is a pure bluff. As usual, any high profile corrupt case in Liberia since 1847 is automatically dead upon arrival. (WATCH)

  5. I did not see rogueish James Kollie, the Commissioner of the LMA name on the list. Oh, he’s friends with Samuel Cruhcruh head Tweah, the rogueish Finance Minister.

  6. Honestly, if my name was on this list I was just going to find these guys ” cold water” and the case would be closed; my name would be expunged. This is just a little whisper for those whose names are on this list.

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