At his criminal trial on charges of embezzlement, he claimed as a defense, that as Town Manager of Zebulon, North Carolina, he stole clients’ money in order to finance the building of roads and bridges back home in war-torn Liberia. Although he was on trial for stealing US$450,000, he pleaded for leniency.
But prosecutors did not challenge his claims apparently because they believed him. At his sentencing, defense attorney Rick Gammon declared, “He had a truly noble cause, but obviously he did it the wrong way”.
But contrary to such claims, there was not at the time, a single road or bridge built in Liberia by the felon. Later, it was revealed that the stolen funds were being used to support the late Charles Brumskine’s quest for the Liberian presidency and perhaps to nurture his budding political ambitions.
It was not however known whether Brumskine was in the know of or approved such criminal actions.
At the close of his trial in February 2006, US District Court Judge Louise Flanagan sentenced him to 29 months in jail and ordered him to compensate his victims. The Associated Press (AP) reporter covering the trial said the convict was still facing state charges in the same case.
It is not known whether he did compensate his victims or whether state charges against him were dropped. What is known is that he served his jail sentence and returned to Liberia where he reinvented himself and began active participation in politics as an executive member of the Liberty Party.
Later he was absorbed into government and appointed by President Sirleaf as lead prosecutor in the Sable Mining bribery case involving Senator Varney Sherman, former House Speaker, Alex Tyler and others. He was allegedly paid upwards of 500 thousand US dollars to prosecute a case that went nowhere.
He was to later flip-flop and dump the Liberty Party for membership in the CDC and was elected as Representative in an election characterized by fraud but which the Supreme Court declared insignificant. As Representative of Grand Kru County, he has been unwavering in his support for the CDC and has been mute on allegations of fraud attending the VRU process.
In view of the corrupt handling of the Voters Roll Update (VRU) process, the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) have since filed a Writ of Mandamus, seeking to have the Supreme Court enforce its 2017 mandate to compel the National Elections Commission (NEC) to clean-up the Voters’ Roll.
But the chairman of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa has, according to a yesterday’s Daily Observer story, termed the recent writ of mandamus filed by the opposition Collaborating Political Parties as an unnecessary delay tactic against the pending election that would result in a constitutional crisis.
“We need to swear in new Senators in January; there is a window. If we continue to have challenges, some frivolous and some legitimate, that will waste the time of the electorates, and then we may not be able to accomplish that. And we will get into some constitutional crisis,” the Representative was quoted as saying.
But from all indications, the Representative is either ignorant, feigned or real, or is engaged in a game of deception for personal gain and benefit. And so, he double speaks, claiming that challenges, both legitimate and frivolous, will waste the time of the electorate.
But if the Representative was genuinely concerned, why did he keep his mouth shut when the Legislature disregarded its constitutional duty to notify NEC within the prescribed 30-day period (Article 37, Liberian constitution) following the deaths of Representatives Munah Pelham and Nagbe Sloh?
Which electorates, then, could he be referring to especially in view of the massive public outcry against fraud and other malpractices such as multiple registration and voter trucking which sparked violent reactions from local communities in Bomi and Grand Cape Mount Counties?
In short Representative Koffa is endorsing the use of a fraudulent Voters’ Roll to secure a CDC victory which he knows is bound to result in confusion and possibly violence.
But with thousands of dollars believed to be stashed away in his kitty and a US passport, he is resting assured that in case of an outbreak of widespread violence he will be evacuated by US forces. And he has accordingly hedged a bet that the Supreme Court will reject the CPP Writ of Mandamus. He could be right.
It is because the Supreme Court and the Courts of Liberia have always been there for the “shakers and movers” of society and never the poor, the oppressed and down trodden of this country.
But from observation, the Liberian people, from all indications, appear unprepared to accept flawed decisions from the Supreme Court supporting and upholding fraudulent and stolen elections results as it did in 1985.
It is a high stakes game they are playing and they seem prepared to take this nation down a bloody path of violence. But it is a game of self-deception because, as the old saying goes, “when rain falls from the sky, it does not fall selectively, it falls on everyone”.
In view of this, Justice Yuoh’s refusal to even hear the CPP’s petition for a Writ of Mandamus seeking to have the Court enforce its own decision, is a very grave error with the potential to stoke violence.
Just what is driving such action? Is it greed, fear or a combination of both? We ask because, by Justice Yuoh’s action, she appears to be closing avenues of redress and thereby inadvertently inviting revolution.
Are they not aware of the consequences? Have the lessons of the past been so easily forgotten? As Defense Minister Daniel Ziahnkahn has warned, the military will not sit by idly while the nation burns.
In view of this potential danger and as a mitigating measure, the US government is implored to deny entry to the US of all those who by their pronouncements and actions tend to undermine freedom, justice and democracy. This is a call by the Liberian People.