‘Restitute Funds or Risk Prosecution’

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Fonati Koffa.jpg
Prior to becoming an elected official, Rep. Fonati Koffa led the task force that prosecuted those indicted by the Global Witness alleged bribery report

The Special Presidential Task Force (SPTF) has reawakened with a strong warning to some individuals and institutions that they should now restitute funds into the Liberian government’s coffers or risk prosecution.

Months ago when the SPTF, headed by Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa, was newly constituted by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, it succeeded in bringing some powerful individuals in the country to court to answer to corruption charges against them. These included former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bomi County Rep. J. Alex Tyler, former chairman of the ruling Unity Party, Grand Cape Mount County Senator Varney Sherman and others, who were arraigned before the court.

For nearly two months now, the activities of the SPTF appeared dormant with many suspecting that its actions against indicted individuals were politically motivated and that it won’t go further with the cases against those charged.

However, as part of its responsibilities, Cllr Koffa’s SPTF on Monday, October 17, released a list of individuals and firms recommended by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to restitute funds received from the state without performing the required task as reported by the General Auditing Commission (GAC).

The SPTF said those on the restitution list are individuals and firms who received government allotment for works that were not performed or could not properly account for the money as required by law.

Cllr. Koffa explained that communications will be sent to these individuals and companies demanding them to restitute said funds into government coffers or risk prosecution by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).

“The communications or letters sent to them will serve as notification for the payment or restitution of said funds for works that were not performed or government funds that were not properly accounted for,” he said.

Minister Koffa emphasized that those listed are required to make said payment into the government of Liberia’s Restitution Account Number 1601002271 (L$) or 16020022869 (US$) at the Central Bank Liberia (CBL) within 30 days.

He noted that a proof of payment should be presented to the offices of the SPTF on 19th Street in Sinkor and urged those who may have doubts about the process to contact the same office for further information.

“If those listed fail to make the payment or contact the offices of the Task Force, they will be referred to the LACC and MOJ for prosecution,” Minister Koffa warned.

He further noted that the exercise is done in fulfillment of the PAC’s mandate, which admonishes said agency to conduct further probe into all GAC reports and submit their findings to the Office of the President for implementation.

The GAC reports (2006 to 2009) contain some “big names” in Liberian society, including former Education Minister and Presidential aspirant Dr. Joseph D. Z. Korto who paid back USD10,525, for violating budget law, approving bonus payment without documentation and payment made to Princeton Miller for no work done and no documentation; Madam HawahGoll- Kolchie paid back US$4,530.00, for violating budget law, approving bonus payment without documentation; and Dr. Michael P. Slewion, repaid US$1,998, for unrelated payment for travel.

Mr. Abraham T. Simmons repaid USD35, 950, Mr. Alex Cuffy paid back USD12, 027; Jacob Corneh repaid USD12, 027 and Acarous Z. Nyenawo paid back USD12, 027, all for unreported revenue (GAC RIA FY Jan. 1, 2006 to Dec. 31, 2007.)

GAC report Ministry of Gender: Stephen Forkpah paid back US$146,653.76 and L$$31,573.29; Mrs. Jestina Kollie, USD12, 639.75; Ms. Varbah K. Gayfor, US$120,519.01
L$15,950.85; Ms. Parleh D. Harris, USD25,000; Mr. Stephen Bundo, USD11,836.66; Mr. Edwin Borbor, USD177,683.80; Mr. Moses S. Kelleh, USD177,683.80.

Mrs. Seine Abdul-Baki, USd75, 332; Mrs. Vashti Brown, USD198, 191; Mr. Matthew Bundo, LD251,252.29.

NEC: John Langley, $32,000; James M. Fromoyan, $3, 567; James M. Fromoyan, $10,000; Cllr. Elizabeth J. Nelson, $10,000; Jonathan K. Weedor, $10,000; David S. Menyongai, $10,000 and C;;r. Sarah M. Jegede-Toe, $10,000.

GAC Report, Ministry of Public Works: Joseph Jusu of Crossroads Enterprise, Inc, repaid $123, 613.78; Samuel B. Cherue of Friendship International repaid $24,955; Wilmot B. Yalartal, $187, 737.82; George F. Howard, $171, 246.84; Danielette Nimely, $129, 312.32; Robert B. Curzon-Jones, $438, 248.07; John L. Merchant, $344, 039.63.

Insurance companies (Public Works); International Insurance Company of Liberia repaid $154, 290.02; African Insurance Company of Liberia, $77, 388; African Insurance Company of Liberia, $115, 827. 50; African Insurance Company of Liberia, $79, 970.30; Oversea Economic Insurance Company, Inc: $113, 955 and Continental General Life Insurance, $87, 561.88.

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