The Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa-led Special Presidential Task Force (SPTF) investigating the damning Global Witness (GW) report on senior Liberian government officials has once again been given its teeth to bite.
Few days after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf setup the SPTF, it forced two of the most powerful men in the nation to appear in court to answer to corruption allegations.
Senator Cllr. Varney Sherman, Chairman of the ruling Unity Party (UP) and Mr. J. Alex Tyler, Speaker of the House of Representatives appeared in court and each was allowed to go home after they had filed in ‘criminal appearance bonds’ over US$1 million combined.
Ordinary Liberians began praising Cllr. Koffa, who is also Minister of State Without Portfolio, for having the will to bring alleged corrupt officials to court.
However, people were left dismayed when Minister Koffa announced on Thursday, June 2, that he has handed the prosecutorial role of the SPTF over to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), a member of the SPTF, which is a tripartite conglomeration, the other two being the Ministry of State for
Presidential Affairs (MOS) and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).
But late Wednesday, June 8, evening reports surfaced that Justice Minister Frederick Cherue had written Cllr. Koffa and re-assigned the prosecution of persons indicted by his Task Force.
It is reported that Justice Minister Cherue, in a letter to Cllr. Koffa dated June 6, advised him to “proceed to investigate and prosecute those found to be criminally responsible for the allegations contained in the Global Witness Report.”
The Justice Minister further granted Cllr. Koffa the “Letter of Patent” required by law to serve as a Special Prosecutor for the Global Witness case.
According to reports, Minister Cherue stated that his Ministry is already working closely with the Task Force in the matter, and that it is still “willing to provide additional lawyers as well as other assistance to aid the work of the Task Force in ensuring that the case is resolved.”
Meanwhile, the Task Force is expected to announce another batch of indictees Thursday, during a special press conference at the Information Ministry.