Days after the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Aminata & Sons Incorporated, Siaka Toure, claimed that there were corrupt practices at the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), the Acting Chairperson of the Commission, Cllr. Augustine Toe, has given the petroleum company 48 hours to produce evidence to support the allegation.
Cllr. Toe told journalists yesterday that the allegation against the LACC was grave and is therefore demanding proof of the “terrible accusation.”
Cllr. Toe maintained that failure on the part of Toure to substantiate his allegation in 48 hours would give the LACC no option but to take absolute advantage of the law for redress.
He challenged Mr. Toure to reveal any official misconduct that was the basis for his “terrible accusation” against the LACC.
Cllr. Toe denied Toure’s other claim that the anti-graft commission falsified documents, asserting that contrary to Toure’s assertion, it was the General Auditing Commission (GAC) that first held Toure and the rest of the defendants (Miatta Beyslow and T. Nelson Williams) in the Japanese Oil Grant saga, which led to the Liberian government losing in excess of US$5 million.
“The deal was meant to help the Liberian people after the petroleum products were sold at reduced prices. But evidently, the products were sold contrary to the arrangement and the Liberian people did not benefit from the sales,” Cllr. Toe said.
“We are not prepared to accept Mr. Toure’s attempt to impugn the character of people who have the responsibility to ensure that people are held accountable for their corrupt actions against the Liberian people,” Cllr. Toe said.
According to him, the LACC adduced overwhelming evidence to convict Toure, who they accused of duping government of US$5,787,134 that was “unjustly accrued from the sale of the Japanese Oil Gran,” the LACC commissioner said.
“We respect the ruling of the court to acquit the accused,” Cllr. Toe said. “The court said they are not guilty but the money cannot be accounted for. Where is the US$5,787,134 that should have benefitted ordinary Liberians?” he asked.
Toe noted that the essence of a trial is not to find someone guilty but to afford the accused his due process rights, “or his day in court.”
While addressing journalists on Friday, Toure alleged that the anti-graft entity was corrupt, although he failed to the mention any names or provide any details of corruption.
Toure’s allegation came a day following the Criminal Court (C) Judge Emery Paye’s judgment that dropped corruption charges levied against Aminata & Sons by the LACC.
The judge also warned the LACC not to subject Toure to answer further on those particular charges, and act many observers viewed as strange on the part of the judge.
Judge Paye, however, said the LACC can again prosecute Toure, only if another private matter is raised.
It is not clear whether or not the LACC’s action against Toure was based on Judge Paye’s warning during his judgment.
The oil grant was a donation from the Government of Japan to support Liberia’s economic and social development; LACC claimed that Aminata & Sons misapplied the sale of the product.
Toure, along with several senior government officials, were indicted for economic sabotage, misapplication of entrusted property, criminal facilitation, and criminal conspiracy on allegations of financial malpractice over the Japanese oil grant to Liberia, money that cannot be accounted for while no one has been held responsible for the loss.