The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has disclosed that Robert A. Sirleaf declined his appointment as Counselor for Commercial Affairs, Embassy of Liberia to Brussels. However, the House’s Joint Committee is unsure of the details surrounding Sirleaf’s refusal to take up the position, and has requested detailed evidence on the rejection.
The co-Chairman on the House’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Larry P. Younquoi, told the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview via mobile phone yesterday that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last week informed the Joint Committee in a preliminary investigation that Mr. Sirleaf did indeed reject his appointment.
“Besides asking the ministry to provide us with documents to prove whether Mr. Sirleaf resigned or immediately resigned after his informal or formal appointment, we also asked them to furnish us with all the embassies that have Consular of Commercial Affairs,” Rep. Younquoi said.
“Plenary has already given us an additional week, and we hope to report before Tuesday, July 19.”
On Thursday, July 7th during the 43rd Day sitting, the House’s Plenary unanimously granted an additional one week extension to the Joint Committee owing to an appeal from Rep. Younquoi.
Though Rep. Younquoi did not say, an aide in his office said the Foreign Ministry has also admitted to Mr. Sirleaf’s appointment, which has been since 2011, but was made public on February 26, 2016 under the signature of Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Sylvester M. Grisgsby in a letter to the Charge d’Affaires at Liberia’s embassy in Belgium, Comfort Swengbe.
It may be recalled that the House’s Plenary, on June 28 during the 40th Day Sitting, mandated two of its leadership committees, Judiciary and Foreign Affairs, to conduct a thorough probe and advice the august Body within a week, on why the President’s son should not be held in contempt.
Plenary’s decision was prompted owing to a letter from Maryland County District # 2 Representative, Dr. Bhofal Chambers, urging his colleagues to invite the President’s son and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to explain about the commercial benefits that have been accrued to Liberia since Sirleaf’s role as Counselor for Commercial Affairs at the Liberian Embassy in Brussels.
Dr. Chambers, who is also Chairman on National Defense, argued that Mr. Sirleaf was appointed as Counselor for Commercial Affairs on February 6, 2012, while he was serving as Senior Advisor to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and the Chairman on the Board of Directors of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL).
According to Mr. Sirleaf’s letter of appointment, a copy of which is in the possession of the Daily Observer, written by Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Sylvester M. Grisgsby to the Charge d’Affaires, Comfort Swengbe:
“Mr. Sirleaf’s appointment reflects Government’s desire to intensify and deepen commercial and investment relations between Liberia and Belgium in particular and the European Union in general. Although the appointment was made nearly a year ago, it is now being effected especially after the inauguration as an indication of the trust of the new administration to engage the private sector of Belgium and the EU in Liberia’s reconstruction and economic development.”
It may also be recalled that in September 2013, Mr. Sirleaf resigned his two top posts as NOCAL Chairman and Advisor to the President.
t has been established that the President’s 56 year-old son did not resign voluntarily, but did so in an attempt to bolster the President’s ‘willingness’ to curb nepotism in her government amidst bad press and international pressure.