‘Who Should Be Behind Bars?’

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Simeon Freeman.jpg
Simeon Freeman: "We are afraid of this country going backward in any form or manner."

The Standard Bearer of the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), Simeon Freeman, has said that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has repeatedly violated the Liberian Constitution with full impunity.

Non-Liberian citizens, he said, are appointed to positions in government in clear violation of Liberian Law.

“Robert Sirleaf, an American citizen, officially advised Madam Sirleaf on Presidential matters before applying for a Liberian status; though it is unclear whether this has been granted,” Freeman said.

He made the statement Monday, July 14, at a press conference held at the headquarters of the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC) in Congo Town.

He said an official extradition process has begun for Ellen Cockrum and Judge Melvin Johnson.

“When people who are non-citizens of a country serve in leading positions,” said Mr. Freeman, “the impact on the national morale is costly.” “Such blatant constitutional violations are part of what the President calls ‘these distractions,’” he said

Such distractions, Mr. Freeman noted, undermine economic growth and perpetrators must submit to the police; be placed behind bars while awaiting speedy trial as the action both violates the oath of the office and Constitution of Liberia.

The MPC head referred to the Public Financial Management Law of Liberia, saying that it is clear on the management of public funds and its subsequent expenditure; "but we have seen institutions like LISCR and NOCAL collecting millions of dollars annually and expending most of the money for Ellen’s public relations and associated expenditures, in clear violation of the PFM law of Liberia.

“When institutions spend collected revenues outside of nationally prescribed laws and they are not prosecuted speedily, their actions in all respects are more costly to the state than the Nimba raid; and so we do agree that officers at NOCAL or LISCR or the Liberia Maritime Authority must submit to the police, be placed behind bars for the speedy trials they deserve.”

When a well-intentioned investor is awarded illegal privileges to enable unspeakable but special favors for the negotiators, at the expense of the people, especially those in project affected areas; it undermines the equatibility of wealth distribution and is globally a source of national conflict as documented by the United Nations panel of experts on Liberia and the Center for International Conflict Resolution of the Columbia University,” Mr. Freeman said.

He continued, “It is clear from these documentations that the people of Liberia, victims of selfishly arranged illegal agreements, did lawfully and peacefully complain to their leaders. They were effectively silenced through the power of the above declaration by no small person but their President, who should have sought their interest.

When one considers the huge grabs, the duration of land tenure, the billions awarded to fly-by-night companies that did absolutely nothing; were awarded huge tax breaks; allowed by the President and the legislature to resell state assets for millions and repatriate resources; we can but only wonder, who should be behind bars for destroying Liberia?

“Who should be behind bars—the victims of exploitation or those who in the discharge of their duties violated the people’s trust, enriched themselves and provoked  them to anger?” he asked.

Every project affected area in Liberia he said, is a conflict zone.

Mr. Freeman pointed out that there are serious complaints in Bong Mines, Sinoe, Cape Mount and Bomi and many other project affected areas where locals were either flogged or intimidated by brute force.

Whether it is the health workers, many of whom are volunteers, poorly compensated and prone to deadly diseases, whose pleas have gone unheeded; or young men and women selling in the streets of Liberia, whose goods are consistently confiscated and possessed by police officers; AFL soldiers and their widows complaining about benefits that have gone unattended; a mismanaged economy with aggressively rising exchange rates that greatly undermine purchasing power; and national expenditure approaches that spend all of the people’s monies on state bureaucracies; the people have spoken but no one listens.

“We call it sin by nature. If we must build a democratic society, it is not enough when institutions like the Liberia Council of Churches populated with non-God fearing men, condemn the reaction of  explicated citizens and remain silent in the face of serious constitutional breaches by the powers that be”, he said.

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