Abraham Sheriff, an investigator at the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) Friday’s testimony linked Johnson Gwaikolo, former deputy minister for technical service, at the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) of authorizing the payment of US$12,600 to David Korte, managing editor of the Flash Point Newspaper.
Sheriff’s testimony, if it is anything to go by, then it has exonerated the Ministry’s Communication and Documentation Director, Jesefu Morris Keita, who government accused of authorizing the payment of the money to Korte.
In 2010, the MPW and Flash Point Incorporated entered into an agreement named. “Contract Number MPW-SF-0008-06/10,” which the media outlet was hired and paid US$12,600 to implement a Public Relations Consultancy for the ministry.
Testifying last Friday at Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice, the prosecution witness further alleged that Gwaikolo on March 29, 2010, instructed his Procurement Department to process every necessary document for the Ministry of Finance to pay the US$12,600 to Korte.
Witness Sheriff told the court that during LACC investigation, they discovered that on June 24, 2010, Flash Point presented an invoice to the MPW, which Gwaikolo was instrumental to have the Ministry of Finance paid the US$12,600 on June 30, 2010 to Korte.
Surprisingly, he said, the MPW through Gwaikolo, on July 2, 2010, issued a certificate of completion to Korte, which signified that Korte collected the money before MPW issued him the certificate.
The payment was intended for Flash Point Newspaper to implement Public Relations Consultancy for the MPW, which the company’s manger admitted that they received the funds, but did not perform the job, according to the prosecution witness.
“Gwaikolo was the only person, who signature appeared on the payment voucher as deputy minister of MPW to have Korte executes the contract, which he failed to implement,” the witness further alleged.
He did not mention whether his investigation find any evidence of participation of Gwaikolo into the “bogus contract,” instead, he said, Gwaikolo was only invited by the LACC.
Unfortunately, Gwaikolo is not on trial, instead, it is Messrs Keita and Korte are being accused of “economic sabotage, misapplication of entrusted property and criminal conspiracy by the government.
Korte has already admitted and promised to pay back the US$12,600 in five installments; for which his charges were dropped by prosecution when he first appeared before the court.
Up to present, Keita remains the only defendant on trial after he denied the allegation when he also appeared before the court.
Sheriff said the LACC did not find any evidence of participation of the other three, “and therefore, we decided to invite Gwaikolo and Keita, because of the each of them played.”
He said Gwaikolo played the role by signing the contact, while he denied that Keita did not sign any contract document with Korte.
Sheriff denied further that “Keita was not part of the meeting and he did not sign the minutes of the meeting held in June 2010.”