Reports that the President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate presided over the Senate’s passage into law of a concession agreement granting the Hummingbird Resources license and mineral exploration rights for Gold and iron ore in Northern and Southeastern Liberia is very unsettling.
It is so in view of reliable reports that the Grand Kru Senator and President Pro Tempore is indeed a 10 percent shareholder in the Hummingbird Resources. These reports along with other reports of very bad and fraudulent concession agreements signed into law by the previous Ellen Sirleaf government.
Those agreements such as the Elenilto agreement amongst others says loudly and clearly that those in whom the Liberian people have placed their trust as their elected representatives are generally about nothing more than themselves.
Worse still is the fact that what are supposed to be three separate but coequal branches of government, the Legislative, Judiciary and Executive, have over the years become mere footstools of the reigning President in power and their acquiescence to Executive diktat has seen a gradual erosion of their power and their transformation into virtual puppets on the string of their master.
Several developments underscore this newspaper’s observation. One of those developments was the removal of Representative Alex Tyler from his position as Speaker of the House, which was accomplished, according to reliable accounts, by outright cash inducement by former President Sirleaf.
According to a member of the Legislature, a cash inducement of US$40,000 apiece was allegedly paid to each member of the House of Representatives to secure the deal to oust Tyler from office. One Representative is reported to have told then President Sirleaf that he was prepared to support a position calling for Tyler’s recusal but not his removal.
According to sources, the Representative was however not prepared to accept the cash inducement on offer for Tyler’s removal. President Sirleaf, according to the legislator, was very incensed and threatened that the Representative’s people will suffer, whatever that meant.
Another instance was that of the Elenito Agreement which was passed into law despite evidence showing that the company was no more than a mere scrap-dealership. According to a letter written to then President Sirleaf by a legislator, the legislator entreated the President not to proceed with the signing of the agreement into law until adequate due diligence had been done.
A similar letter was also written to his colleagues in the House of Representatives as well as to the Senate with the same plea. Those pleas all fell on deaf ears as the records now show and all those agreements are now history, it does not change the fact that the Liberian people were shortchanged by their elected representatives.
This newspaper recalls statements made some time ago by Senator Prince Johnson who declared that members of the Legislature were not actually independent because they were all subservient to the wishes and command of her Excellency President Sirleaf. As the late President Charles D.B. King once said, ”the fish begins to rot from the head” meaning in effect that examples whether good or bad, when set from the top can filter all the way down top the bottom.
If for example the President of the nation engages in corrupt practices, it will naturally follow that his ministers and other serving in his government will also engage in corrupt practices. When for example President Tolbert came to office following the death of President Tubman in 1971, government officials found themselves constrained to report to work at 8:00am in the morning because they could very well find themselves being greeted by President Tolbert at the entrance of their offices.
And before long, all or most government officials had fallen into line. Also during President Tubman’s reign, top hats, tail coats and evening gowns were the dress code for government officials. But when President took the oath of office in an ordinary safari suit, it did not take long before all government officials began sporting safari suits as the custom.
What all of this goes to say is that government officials should and must set the right examples and should live by them. But when government officials begin to behave as though service in government and the theft of and or misuse of government resources is a birthright, and behave as they wish, then the country is in deep trouble.
Such behavior also underscores the damage that impunity has done to this country. That the President Pro Tempore being fully aware of the existence of a Code of Conduct which he and others voted to pass into law can out rightly declare that he, like others, is going to violate the Code of Conduct-to reopen his consultancy firm (Earthcons), in the same style and fashion as lawyers and doctors who are members of the legislature are doing, simply suggests that the Code of Conduct having been gravely wounded during President Sirleaf’s tenure of office is now, for all purposes dead.
And its pronouncement of death is coming from none other than the highly placed President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Senator Albert Tubge Chie. Be it as it may, the Daily Observer wishes to remind Senator Chie that whatever is done in the dark will surely come to light as per biblical prophecy.
For example, until the disclosures in the Paradise and Panama Papers surfaced about President Sirleaf’s links to shell companies obviously intended to conceal wealth amassed from illicit gains, who in their right minds would have imagined that a seemingly squeaky clean Africa’s first democratically elected female President would be linked to such unwholesome and questionable practices.
But within the pale of time, this revelation came to public attention and who knows just where the road will lead? President Weah has kick-started a process of accountability with the commissioning of a special cabinet committee to investigate Global Witness claims of bribery of government officials.
The committee has already submitted its report reaffirming Global Witness’ accounts that the officials did indeed take bribes and should accordingly make restitution. But who knows how this will end and where the road may lead?
Simply put, President Pro Tempore Albert Chie will have to explain the links between his Earthcons Inc. and Hummingbird as well as claims that he is a 10 percent shareholder in the Hummingbird Resources.
Shrugging it off with such bland remarks will not cut it- not today and neither tomorrow. As the Holy Bible reminds us in Ecclesiastes 12:14 “For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil”.