Sanvee Has Demonstrated Ethical Attitude. Why Not Korkoya?

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The National Chairman of the opposition Liberty Party (LP), Benjamin Sanvee, has stepped aside following preliminary audit report on the Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI), which implicated his company, Sanvee Holdings, for not paying the US$45,000 loan he took out. Sanvee said he has taken a leave of absence as LP chairman to have some time to work with relevant authorities to restructure the loan and make it right. Although he is the third chairman of the Liberty Party to be named in corruption allegations, Sanvee’s decision is also meant to set the party apart from his personal activities to avoid stigmatization.

His decision to take a leave of absence is also meant to portray high ethical standards and best practice among public servants. This is what people in any civilized society do to set good examples for others to follow. Make no mistake: his ‘sabbatical’, as he calls it, though it is a welcome move, is also forced upon him since the mention of his name in the report potentially casts a dark shadow on the party he chairs, which is seeking election to the highest seat in the land. Be that as it may, small shame better than big shame, let him go find the people’s money and pay it back.

Unfortunately for Liberia, many public servants including National Elections Commission (NEC) Chairman, Jerome G. Korkoya, see controversial behavior as a badge of honor, even without the conscience to defend their integrity. It is now more than three months since information started to emerge that the NEC Chairman lied under oath at his Senate confirmation hearing, that he is a Liberian citizen. Some documentary evidence has been displayed on social media and in local dailies including the Daily Observer, indicating that a Jerome George Korkoya voted in a federal election in the United States of America, a right reserved only for citizens of that country.

Since the accusations started emerge, Cllr. Korkoya has made two statements reflecting his arrogance and intransigence: 1) that he is a Liberian and 2) that anyone who has evidence of his American citizenship status should take him to court. Although our court system has not established whether or not Korkoya is an American citizen, it is common knowledge that he has lived in America and that he is quite familiar American culture of governance.

In the US, and most western countries, whenever a public or private official is accused of acts legally or ethically questionable – especially with damning evidence – that official, without clinging onto the position, immediately resigns or steps aside in some way. He/she will not wait on the Attorney General or certain groups to take him/her to court, as demanded by the NEC chairman.

It mystifies anyone in this critical time of election when a cloud of doubt surrounds the head of such an institution that needs a person of integrity to handle, in order to avoid conflict. What happens if any of the numerous political parties contesting the elections feels discontented with the election results? How credible, Cllr. Korkoya, do you think you can be in the midst of such glaring evidence against you? Are you relying on Liberia’s flawed legal system to wiggle your way out and perpetuate yourself in the NEC chairmanship? Do you want people to take your role in the elections process seriously and abide by your ruling when your own disregard for the law and ethics is far from your imagination?

It is simple for anyone to reclaim Liberian citizenship; just go to the court and renounce your foreign citizenship and make a public declaration of Liberian citizenship. That’s what the citizenship law in Liberia requires. Yet the President sits and watches Korkoya defy the Constitution without any action in this crucial time of election in Liberia.

What remains most frustrating is that President Sirleaf, who vowed to uphold and defend the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, has failed to call on Korkoya to relinquish his post to respond to such glaring evidence that he violated the very Constitution.

It may not be surprising for the President to back Korkoya’s blatant behavior. President Sirleaf is the same person who brought into her administration another US citizen, Ellen Cockrum, who ended up misappropriating huge sums of money at the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA) and later absconded to the United States. From her safe haven there, Cockrum released a series of secretly recorded conversations that brought utter embarrassment to the Sirleaf administration.

The President also stood by and let her son Robert Sirleaf run the lucrative National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) into the ground. Eventually, she claimed responsibility for her son’s deeds without any effort to correct the matter and restitute the lost money. On the one hand, we see that one who condones such behavior, gets bitten in return. On the other hand, we can’t help but ask, are hidden hands maneuvering the presidency or are these the President’s very own decisions? For they are every bit tactically treacherous and tantamount to the greatest threat to our hard-earned peace.

Whether Ben Sanvee will return to the helm of the LP during this election cycle – if and when he pays off his debt – remains to be seen. However, he has chosen the appropriate course of action, which is rare among Liberian politicians, and history will judge him favorably for that. We hope Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya of the NEC will also act appropriately and defeat the devilish conscience overtaking his personality to adhere to ethical standards.

14 COMMENTS

  1. In an event where an individual sabotage and misapplied the law, it the court that intervenes to set the record straight to save the constitution. In the case of the embattled chairman of the national election commission Cllr. Jerome korkoyah who is been illedgely accused of dual citizenship, the Supreme Court is the only institution that can resolved the matter period.

  2. Daily Observer, Korkoya has conducted several free, peaceful, and from all accounts, fair elections in Liberia. His citizenship status did not in any way lead to conflict. The only one who is pushing this narrative, that Korkoya’s citizenship status will lead to conflict in these elections, is you and whomsoever is paying you to write these stories. The court is the only institution that can declare that Korkoya is not a Liberian–point, blank, and period. Your feeble attempt to link the Korkoya issue to Sanvee is disgraceful.

  3. “What happens if any of the numerous political parties contesting the elections feels discontented with the election results?”

    I’ll tell you what will happen Daily Observer — the discontented political parties will raise their issues with the Supreme Court, just like they’ve always done in the past. And Cllr. Korkoya’s citizenship status will be immaterial in that regard.

  4. My sense is that Observer is making legal arguments,raising ethical questions and also making a decent comparison.Honestly,if Ellen were participating in this election this dude either show his renounced American citizenship paper or being booted out.Ellen,when ppl are pushed against the wall,they fight back

  5. If is true that Mr Korkoya hold a foreign passport and then holding a Liberian Ecowas diplomatic passport, Mr Korkoya should face justic. If not, ECOWAS should take the Liberian Government to court for violating Ecowas policy. Ecowas passport are only given to Ecowas citizen only not a foreigner. Liberia is not a Dual citizen nation so, It about time for Ecowas to step in.

  6. Korkoyah shall not “demonstrate the ethical attitude until Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who knew prior to or upon his appointment as NEC chairman COMPELS HIM TO DO SO ….DEMONSTRATE THE ETHICAL ATTITUDE OR DO THE HONORABLE THING! THE ISSUE IS NOT ABOUT PERFORMANCE. ITS ABOUT UPHOLDING THE LAWS AND RESPECTING THE CONSTITUTION.

  7. I TRULY BELIEVE THAT COMPARING KORKOYA’S SITUATION TO SANVEE IS UNFAIR, OBSERVER, TO KORKOYA! SANVEE IS ASCCUSED OF COMMITTED A GRAVE CRIMINAL ACT AND HAS STEPPED ASIDE TO BE VINDICATED. MORE OVER, SANVEE REPRESENTS AN ASPIRING CANDIDATE IN THE FORTHCOMING ELECTION. UNLIKE SANVEE, KORKPYA IS ACCUSED OF MISREPRESENTATION OR DECEPTION NOT INVOLVING ANY “DIRECT” PECUNIARY, FRADULENT WRONGDOING OR HARM TO THE LIBERIAN PEPO! HE HAS DENIED ACCUSATIONS OF US CITIZENSHIP AND INDICATED THAT ACCUSERS CAN TAKE HIM TO COURT! FURTHERMORE, IT IS JUSTICE MINISTRY DUTY TO PURSUR TRUTHFULLNESS AS WELL!

  8. When we read such editorials from Kenneth Yarkpawolo Best we do not only see the real Kenneth Best, we also feel the spirit of Stanton Peabody! We also feel and see the fearless pen of Rufus Darpoh! I mean Albert Porte physically appears!

  9. Sanvee and Korkoyah situations are not the same and we need not to be confused over these situations. There is a wording called Pro non sequitur, that is the issue being discussed is far from what is being portrayed or to be compared to the actual issue.
    Firstly, Mr Sanvee belittled himself by going to credit money and can not able to pay back for it. That is the Liberian people money and he needs to pay back that money. He has become part of the corrupt system that is going on in the country.
    This man with connections got this money as a credit and legally stated and appended his signature to the loan agreement and a time to repay his debt. He flatly refused and today, he is being held accountable for refusing to pay back that money.
    In Liberia we as citizens tend to define corruption by Government officials stealing money, but this is wrong. When you take away money from somewhere or from someone and refused to pay back that is cheating and it is part of corruption.
    As for Korkoyah it is simple and if any legal accusation that he is not a citizen, the burden of proof rests on the Accuser. Korkiyah has the right to continue his job, because he does not feel guilty and there is no Government of Liberia’s law that had found him guilty of any wrongful doings This is it and it is what it is.This must take precedent.
    Liberians will have to learn about how to handle things in the right forms. Not because I do not want to see you, so I should create all manners of bad perceptions about you. Go to court and have your ideas implemented and avoid getting pressure and wishful thinking sickness.
    God bless Liberia!

  10. Some Liberians are very greedy, being chairman of the election commission and having problems with those you are serving which is important? This man have exercised the highest level of being greedy. Some of these people don’t really care about the country is about their interests.

    • Fatu, what you mean greedy? Kokoya is a Liberian citizens he was just opportun to traveled abroad to study and he came back to served his country, are you saying is a Crimes he committed?

  11. it is a big shame that some Liberian media executives would all be scrounging at the feet of NEC executives for hush hush money to keep the lid on the mounting problems resulting from ineptitude, incompetence, and down right greed in the handling of the electoral process. that thousands of people would be left out of the voters rolls including Margibi Senator Oscar Cooper and his wife, that NEC Chairman would unilaterally discount the utility and significance of the Voters rolls and declare that all persons in possession of a Voters registration card will be allowed to vote speaks volumes about the kind of elections we are going to have.

    This means that all the Voters Registration cards issued by the Government official who was nabbed with such materials in his house, as well as those who were issued VR cards in Sierra Leone by a NEC official will also be allowed to vote. So if NEC officials believe that those belly driven media executives will be the ones to douse the flames by downplaying it in the media they are in for a rude awakening. They underestimate the power of social media so we shall see.

    And by the way what is ex convict Fonati Koffa’s regular visits to NEC all about?

  12. I do think Korkoya is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The accusers or plantiffs should brings in burden of prove that should be preponderance and compelling, so that the Senate can subpoena Korkoya for a public hearing.But as it stands right now, .Korkoya is entitle to enjoying the benefits of the doubt.

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