Since releasing its controversial corruption report, which links several government officials to acts of corruption, the graft commission has been dragged into the local and national politics.
Latest of them is the local and administrative politics of Sinoe County, Southeastern Liberia.
For the first time since he was implicated by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) a few weeks ago, Sinoe County Superintendent Milton Teahjay took to the airwaves in an effort to fight back and save his integrity already dented by the release of LACC report.
During a news conference yesterday in Monrovia, Teahjay in reaction to LACC’s allegation, dragged the commission into a local tribal, political and individual rivalry involving him and Senator Mobutu V. Nyenpan. Both men are certified senatorial candidates in the ensuing Special Senatorial Election slated for December 16, 2014.
According to Teahjay, the sole reason he was accused of corruption is because of what he called the “political and academic alliance Sen. Nyenpan has with LACC Chairman Cllr. James Verdier.” Teahjay’s assertion was promptly dismissed by Nyenpan who called it a “fairytale.”
According to the Sinoe Supt., Sen. Nyenpan was a classmate of Cllr. Verdier so the LACC boss was fronting for his friend. The Sinoe Senator in response rubbished the assertion and clarified that Cllr. Verdier was his professor and he (Nyenpan) never had any close relation with Cllr. Verdier.
Teahjay accused LACC of “stonewalling,” adding that the Commission was not interested in substantial issues linking Nyenpan to massive corruption as presented to the graft commission, but LACC was rather interested in digging up issues that never existed.
He accused Nyenpan of establishing “fake and bogus” construction companies that were awarded contracts for local projects in the county meant to defraud the system by not living up to the terms of the agreements.
In response, Nyenpan dismissed Teahjay’s allegation and challenged him to provide any material evidence to support his claims.
Said Nyenpan, “The companies have managements and they are right here. I know Teahjay, if he had any documents [to the contrary], he would spread them all around the place. I have no connection with (any) company, whatsoever. His claim is I recommended a company to him; does that stop you from applying due diligence and following the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) laws? He’s talking spider story.”
In defense of the expenditure of US$7,500 currently under investigation by LACC, Teahjay disclosed that he used US$5,000 of said amount to invest in the communities that host the Sinoe Rubber plantation for which the money was raised from rubber sold from the region.
He disclosed that US$17,000 was generated from rubber sold after local authorities were successful in clearing the plantation of illicit economy migrants. According to him, the US$17,000 was used by him to resettle brokers who had initial investments in the plantation prior to government’s action.
Mr. Teahjay, who is a senatorial candidate of the county, maintained that he was left with US$7,500 after settling the brokers and the rest was used for operations of the Emergency Response Police, who evicted the migrants from the plantation. Teahjay stated further that a written statement he (Teahjay) provided to LACC implicating Nyenpan to collecting US$421,800 did not interest the commission, but rather US$7,500 an assertion Nyenpan again dismissed, terming it as “lies and fabrications.”
Teahjay indicated that it was unfortunate for the Commission to take interest in a bus LACC claimed he procured outside of the PPCC and not a pickup he procured with documents; stating that the Commission further proved its biases.
“LACC will not go free with what they have created. I condemn the LACC report and believe it does not warrant listening to in this country,” Teahjay declared. He requested the Commission to immediately remove his name from the report or face a lawsuit.