VP Taylor, LMA Prez Yeebahn Rift Deepens

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VP Jewel Howard Taylor

The Liberia Marketing Association’s (LMA) accounts with several commercial banks remain frozen by the Criminal Court ‘C’ in Monrovia, a development which suggests that the power struggle between Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor and the President of the LMA, Madam Alice Yeebahn is deepening.

Judge Nancy Sammy placed the freeze on the LMA’s accounts shortly after the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), based on a complaint by VP Taylor that the Yeebahn’s leadership is involved with financial impropriety.

Judge Sammy also mandated the LMA’s leadership not to interfere with the entity’s account pending the outcome of the matter, an order that remains in effect up to present.

Initially, Associate Justice Yussif Kaba had warned VP Taylor of breaching the 2010 Act of the LMA by unilaterally interfering with the affairs of the entity.  The Vice President immediately challenged the ruling of the Civil Law Court against her.

VP Taylor had refused to accept working with Yeebahn’s leadership on ground that the process leading to her election was marred by fraud; something the VP claimed does not legitimize Yeebahn as president of the LMA.

Embattled LMA President Alice Yeebahn

Despite Taylor’s argument of supervisory role of her office as indicated in the budget law, Justice Kaba had repeatedly said appropriation of subsidy for the LMA under the office of VP Taylor in no way confers authority on her to impose sanctions and take judicial decisions as she did with the unilateral action to suspend the elected officers.

Since its inception as a public entity in 2010 by an Act of the Legislature, the LMA has operated under the supervision of the Executive Branch, with budgetary appropriations placed under the office of the Vice President.

With Justice Kaba’s interpretation of the 2010 Act, VP Taylor had also accused the leadership of financial mismanagement and administrative malpractices, arguing that she was within the confines of the law to order the suspension of the elected officers pending the outcome of the audit by the General Auditing Commission (GAC).

VP Taylor had said that she wants to ensure peace, transparency, and accountability within the LMA, and also to prevent events inimical to national peace and security. However, Justice Kaba warned her of interfering with the LMA.

It can be recalled that VP Taylor, through the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) indicted officers including LMA’s embattled president, Alice Yeebahn, claiming that her leadership defrauded the government of US$89,938.27 and L$98,392,742.37, ranging from 2016 up to  2018.

Others implicated are Faustina Ricks, general manager; Lusu Sloan, former president and chair of the entity’s election commission; Jones P. Gibson, general manager; James K. Gbelee, deputy manager for administration; Foday Kamara, comptroller; Socrate Jlah, comptroller; and Jerry V. Geeded, interim chairman.

The accused are charged with multiple crimes that include economic sabotage, theft of property and criminal conspiracy. Those charges, according to the government, resulted from an audit conducted by the General Auditing Commission (GAC).

The GAC’s audit claims that the defendants made payment for various transactions without documentation, such as payment vouchers, cash invoices and other financial records to substantiate the validity of these transactions.

Author

  • Anthony Kokoi is a young Liberian sports writer who has an ever-growing passion for the development of the game of football (soccer) and other sports. For the past few years, he has been passionately engaged in reporting the developments of the game in the country. He is an associate member of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL). He is a promoter of young talents. He also writes match reports and makes an analysis of Liberian Football.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Where in the Constitution of Liberia, because you call yourself a Vice President, will enable you to interfere in the affairs of a private entity like this?
    Are we still living in the jungle in Liberia?

    With all due respect Madam Vice President, let the marketing board summon their president to court, not you giving orders for accounts to be frozen.

    By the way, I did not know this Judge Sammy but if she acted on such orders, then she is not a credible individual.
    Maybe I do not know all the details surrounding the case yet.

  2. I will in no way back corruption in any form, shape, or manner because it is what has kept Liberia underdeveloped. If the stance taken by VP Taylor was based on these tangible allegations of “financial improprieties” then I stand with her in that fight.

    As this report says, “It can be recalled that VP Taylor, through the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) indicted officers including LMA’s embattled president, Alice Yeebahn, claiming that her leadership defrauded the government of US$89,938.27 and L$98,392,742.37, ranging from 2016 up to 2018.

    While I do not know the full merits of the case, but this report certainly impels anyone to ask, why should individuals, who are entrusted with public monies, embezzled them? How in one’s conscience can this act be justified?

    And if one further examines this report, it reads, “Since its inception as a public entity in 2010 by an Act of the Legislature, the LMA has operated under the supervision of the Executive Branch, with budgetary appropriations placed under the office of the Vice President.

    So this creates an argument in favor of VP Taylor that she might not have acted outside the purview of the law and neither did she abuse power as some people have already become tendentious to believe.

    Rather than casting aspersion on the integrity of Judge Sammy, assassinating and emotionally labeling VP Taylor, who might have acted pro bono (for the good of the public) we should reserve our emotions and opinions and wait for justice to prevail.

    • According to the “Bush Chicken” news outlet, VP Taylor suspended the same elected officials of the LMA on allegations of the same charges of financial malpractices in 2018. The Civil Law Court Judge Scheaplor Dunbar ruled against her suspension and ordered for the elected officials to be reinstated.

      The VP rejected the ruling and filed an appeal to the Supreme Court. In its ruling on August 22, 2019, the Supreme Court described the suspension of the three officials as unconstitutional and a complete violation of the LMA Act of 2010. The following was added to motivate the decision, “Nowhere in these governing instruments is there a provision for the vice president being a part of the structure of the LMA; it suffices to say that a budget law is an appropriation.”
      Furthermore, a General Auditing Commission was constituted to come out with findings which vindicated the elected officials.

      And so, why will the VP again come back on the same matter in 2020? There is something fishy about this matter. We are not casting ‘aspersion’ on the integrity of Judge Sammy but we just want to know the mobile of her decision.
      Does she want to tell us Judges Dunbar and Kaba are corrupt and incompetent? Also, why is the VP so keen on this matter?
      I don’t know the details but there is a smoking gun somewhere that we don’t know.

      So, Sir, I am not being emotional but just concern about corruption in higher places and lack of patriotism in my country Liberia.

      Happy New Year!

  3. That since its inception as a public entity by act of the legislature in 2010, the LMA has operated under the Executive Branch, and its funding placed under the office of the Vice President. And what will anyone call this act of the legislature that was initiated by the clever previous President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to make sure that the illiterate marketer’s votes, especially the market women votes were controlled by the the Executive Branch through political patronage funded by taxpayers’ dollars. Just in time for the 2011 crucial upcoming election against George Weah. What was the reason to fund a private organization and recognized it as a public entity to be funded by taxpayers and placed under the Executive Branch, directly in the office of the Vice President. How much was paid to the unserious legislators to write that in the budget law and the Executive Branch to take ownership of its funding ? The bad governance practices and corruption built up by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf are hunting and hurting this country in every sectors of its administrative governmental functions. In order to defeat George Weah in 2011 and secured the market women votes in their numbers, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf cooked up this wicked political patronage. And now an unnecessary legal battle is taking its toll on the law through the Courts, including the Supreme Court. What a wicked wicked crook this woman is to her own country ? And the lawmakers for the love of money over love for country went along. Because what the illiterate voting population do not know will not hurt the nation. But it has definitely hurt the Republic.

    • Since the funding of budgetary funding for LMA is a law crafted by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for the sakes of the 2011 elections to get votes from that Association, it has become a law for all other presidents to use . Need votes , use the funds to build market stalls around the city. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf did just that, George Weah is taking advantage of the same law to build market stalls in every district and communities and neighborhoods where people are buying and selling. Budgetary funding for the Liberian Market Association whose numbers are mostly illiterate market women. Just to get votes their votes by making the nation believe that the President really cares about the people welfare, but it is all about fooling them. And so the next President is available to use that law . And the next President, and the next President and so on .

  4. Happy New Year!

    You raised some thought-provoking issues. However, is it impossible that Judges Kaba and Dunbar could not be competent and corrupt? Haven’t we seen and witness the activities of incompetent judges in Liberia — and some of them were even barred from practice?

    Why shouldn’t the VP focus her attention on this matter, when according to this report, supervision and budgetary appropriations were placed under her authority since 2010?

    If you were VP Taylor and such duties and responsibilities are entrusted to your office, wouldn’t you care about accountability and transparency?

    As Liberians, we all know this as a fact that corruption in Liberia permeates every faucet of its society, and not in “higher places alone.” And like cancer, it eats at its core and continues to leave indelible marks on both the “rich” and the “poor”.

    And if we accept the premise justice is blind, then it should be rendered without regard to anyone’s social status, sex, ethnicity, religion, tribe or creed. This is the Liberia I am dreaming of.

    • Happy New Year Mr. Samolu.

      Look, my argument is not based on the premise of supporting or condemning the elected leadership of the LMA or the VP.
      I am only trying to raise eyebrow on the continued attacks of the VP on the LMA elected leadership.
      Look at the trend of events:
      1) The VP ordered their removal through court action which she lost;
      2) The VP ordered Audit which proved negative;
      3) The VP appealed against the court’s decision and she lost;
      4) And in 2020, the VP is again ordering their removal.
      As an observer, though I do not know the details and underlying factors and interests, there is a smoking gun hidden somewhere.

      I do not support any form of corruption. We know corruption is at every level in Liberia. To curb it, the heads must be clean. But on the contrary, they are the most corrupt.

      What can you tell the Liberian working class to convince them to accept delays of 5 months in salary payments if the “Hebrew Boys” (Weah, McGill and Tweah) can take a single year to break down and reconstruct all their dwellings in a single year?
      Do you expect customs officers, the major players in generating revenues, to diligently do their job without filling their pockets, as was once raised on this medium in Ganata?

      Look, the people up there must be clean if corruption is to be curtailed in Liberia. That’s why, if you hate corruption as I have read here, we admonish you to join us in the ANC to bring great positive change to Liberia in 2023.

      Stay blessed!

  5. Is the VP wrong? I do not think so?

    Why this tension statement?
    “Justice Kaba warned her of interfering with the LMA”.

    President Weah is the president and VP Taylor is the VP; they were elected.

    Whether you like it or not; follow the constitution if you think something went wrong.

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