As the Special Presidential Taskforce sets to reveal more names in the alleged Global Witness investigation, the Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP) has challenged Global Witness to publish its evidence so that the public can examine and see what they refer to as ‘transparency’ in the organization.
Menipakei Dumoe, LPDP’s secretary general, made the call yesterday at a news conference held at the party’s headquarters in Sinkor.
He maintained that it was unnecessary to set up a taskforce to investigate the Global Witness report as there are statutory bodies like the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and the Ministry of Justice with powers to probe and prosecute persons they find criminally liable of such acts.
“We see the President’s action of setting up an additional body as an intentional waste and abuse of state resources that should claim the attention of Legislature. The President’s Taskforce, which is illegitimate in this stance, does not have the jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute those accused in the report in consonance with our laws,” he said.
Mr. Dumoe said the LPDP believes that the real mission of the “so called” task force is to intimidate people by using prosecutorial powers of the Executive to establish political agreements from targeted persons.
“We call on the President to stop abusing her powers in such a manner that threatens the fragile political stability that the country is currently enjoying,” he said.
According to him, forcing Speaker Tyler to recuse himself from his statutory functions on the basis of unproven charges of bribery amounts to punishing him before he is judged.
Mr. Dumoe said Global Witness lied in its report when it claimed Liberia’s Minister of Lands and Mines was given the power under the amended Public Procurement and Concession Commission Act of 2010 to single handedly give away large mineral deposits without the competitive bidding process required by law.
“The PPCCA of 2010 has no such provision, and it is shocking that a so called integrity activist such as Global Witness would intentionally set out to lie in a fashion. Article 75 allowed the mining minister to declare a mining concession as a non-bidding area; that is, one that could be handed over without tender,” he said
According to him, if the President’s office was not inept and blinded by political vendetta, it would find out with the restated and amended PPCCA of 2010, that Global Witness was wrong in its assertions about the law.
“A non-bidding area is established to specify minerals when (I) the minister responsible for mines determines based on a reasoned recommendation of the geological survey department of Liberia (or successor institution), that the available information to the existence of such minerals in such area indicates that there are insufficient quantity and or quality minerals in such an area to support meaningful bidding for granting of prospecting or exploration licenses for such minerals in such area, and (II) such determination has been approved by the IMCC excluding the representation from the sector entity,” he said.
According to him, a simple reading of the actual law would have clearly shown the President’s office that Global Witness was wrong in its assertions about how an area is declared a non-bidding area; or maybe the President’s office was motivated politically to be intentionally incompetent.
He stated that LPDP is sure of the President’s proposed Section 75 of the PPCCA, and it was passed exactly as presented.
The Legislature, according to him, made zero alterations to her proposed construction of Section 75 of the PPCCA of 2010; and so, if that portion of the law disadvantages the country, “we do not see how the President can be without blame.”