House Probes Robert Sirleaf’s ‘Brussels Appointment’

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As part of its statutory responsibility, the House of Representatives has launched investigation into the appointment of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s ’s son, Robert A. Sirleaf, as Counselor for Commercial Affairs at the Embassy of Liberia in Brussels.

The investigation, according to House’s Chief Clerk Mildred Sayon, will also include the commercial and investment profits that have been accrued or are accruing between Liberia and Belgium.

The House’s Plenary mandated two of its leadership committees, Foreign Affairs and Judiciary, on Tuesday, June 28, during the 40th Day Sitting to undertake a thorough probe and advise the August Body within a week why the President’s son should not be held in contempt as to whether his appointment is/or isn’t supportive and convenient to the country’s economy.

Rep. James P. Biney (Maryland Co. District #1) is the Chairman on Foreign Affairs and also the Chairman of the National Patriotic Party (NPP). Rep. Cllr. S. Gayah Karmoh (Bomi County) is Chairman on Judiciary and served as Commissioner for the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) under the regime of former President Charles Taylor.

Plenary’s decision yesterday was prompted by a letter from Rep. Dr. Bhofal Chambers, (Maryland Co. District #2), who urged his colleagues to invite Mr. Sirleaf and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to explain the commercial benefits that have been accrued to Liberia as Counselor for Commercial Affairs at the Liberian Embassy in Brussels.

Dr. Chambers is also Chairman on National Defense. He argued that Mr. Sirleaf was appointed as Counselor on Commercial Affairs on February 6, 2012, while he was serving as the Senior Advisor to President Sirleaf and the Chairman on the Board of Directors of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL).

According to Mr. Sirleaf’s letter of appointment, a copy of which is in the possession of the Daily Observer, was written by the then Acting Foreign Affairs Minister, Sylvester M. Grisgsby to Comfort Swengbe, Chargé d’Affaires of the Liberian Embassy in Brussels.

“Mr. Sirleaf’s appointment reflects Government’s desire to intensify and deepen commercial and investment relations between Liberia and Belgium in particular and the European Union in general. Although the appointment was made nearly a year ago, it is now being effected especially after the inauguration as an indication of the thrust of the new Administration to engage the private sector of Belgium and the EU in Liberia’s reconstruction and economic development,” Minister Grigsby’s letter said.

In September 2013, Mr. Sirleaf resigned two top posts, as NOCAL’s Chairman and Advisor to the President respectively. It has been established that the President’s 56 year-old son did not resign voluntarily but in the President’s apparent attempt to curb nepotism in her government amidst bad press and international pressure.

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