Saturday, January 30, 2010

American-Liberians Found Guilty of Corruption in Liberia

American-Liberians Found Guilty of Corruption in Liberia

Written by Alieu Jabateh

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Commentary: American-Liberians Found Guilty of Corruption in Liberia Must Have their Days in court in US

The culture of corruptions is deeply rooted in Liberia and goes on at almost every level of the Liberian society INCLUDING GOVERNMENT. The acts of corruption over the years has cost Liberia fortunes and deprived its citizens of THE much needed resources for development and progress. What is even more disappointing is the case of returning Liberians some of whom are naturalized CITIZENS in other countries, including the US.

I know there are some in the current government who are truly making the difference while there are others who are engaged in corruptions.

One will expect that haven't lived and worked in the advanced western societies, some of these individuals will exhibit greater sense of morality and good ethical behaviors in discharging their duties. You would think the inherited moral standard from foreign countries should be transcended to their beloved country, Liberia. But instead, they go back to do thing the way we have always done. To add insult to injury, many of those implicated in corruption have done so with impunity. These corrupt crops of Liberians returning and engaging in corruption tarnishes the reputation of every one who live in the Diaspora and have the intention of one day returning to help our country recover from many years of fratricidal war. It is highly recommended that all those found engage in corruption must be prosecuted so as to serve as a deterrent for others who may want to engage in similar act.

From all indications, the way we talk in our community gatherings, it appears we are all fed up with corruption in Liberia but when we are given the opportunity to serve, we become willing participant in the very act we've condemn others for. Beside the high profiled cases of corruption by those in the employ of the government, as a Liberians, we have a very low moral standard when it comes to corruption. It is an acceptable norm and practice for us to accept or request bribes behind closed doors in various offices. We have to develop strong moral consciousness in rejecting all forms of corruption in our society. It may take a long time but it has to start from somewhere. Effective whistle-blowing protection and anti-corruption measures must be taken to prosecute and punish anyone guilty of corruption. Various civil society organizations, media institutions, law enforcement agencies must conduct periodic anti-corruption sensitivity trainings to their staffs and personals.

For those naturalized American Liberians who are found guilty of corruption and think they can run back to the United States to avoid prosecution in Liberia, we must be very vigilant in reporting them to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for prosecution. We must provide creditable information to our local FBI offices that may lead to criminal proceedings against them. Every United States citizen is encouraged to appropriately conduct himself/herself at all times inside and outside of the country. They should act as good-will ambassadors of their country of naturalization therefore, committing crime in Liberia and running back to the U.S. must not be tolerated.

The most glaring example of this is Charles McArthur Taylor Jr. 31, a US citizen, who was found guilty and sentenced to 97 years in US jail in October 2008 for crimes committed while he was the head of Liberia's Anti-terrorist Unit during his father, Charles Taylor’s rule in Liberia. He was also alleged to have tormented his victims with melted plastic, electric shocks, scalding water and beatings with "sharp metal rods". This case of crime committed by a United States citizen in Liberia who ran to the US was prosecuted and found guilty and now is serving long jail sentence . This must serve as a warning to all naturalized American of Liberian origin that the days of free riding back to the US after committing economic and other crimes in Liberia are over. It is about time for all Liberians in the Diaspora to advocate the lawful persecution of naturalized American-Liberians and others alike on the run from prosecution in Liberia.

Great progress is being made by independent media entities and individuals in exposing corruption and those involved but we have not heard of anyone been convicted and sentenced. It is one thing to expose these criminals but totally another thing to prosecute them. Moreover, when found guilty, they must be locked up or their properties confiscated as a way to restitute what they have stolen from the country.

Just to name few of the pending cases, there is the case of the former transitional president Charles Gyude Bryant and four others including David N. Zarlee, former Director, Budget Bureau; Justin E. Taylor, Joseph T. Giddings, Amos P. K. Brosius, all of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC)) to the tone of $927,000.00 as well as the former Minister of Finance, Losene Kamara. The most recent is the case of the former Information Minister Lawrence Bropleh who is accused of embezzling over $200,000 as reported in an audit reports by the country’s General Auditing Commission. Bropleh has said he is prepared to go to court in order to clear his name. He went on to accuse Auditor General John Morlu II of incompetence and bias. His case is pending. The most we have seen the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s government do is to fire or suspend the accused and after that the case is closed. The government must go beyond suspension and firing of individuals found guilty of corruption. It must prosecute and if found guilty they must face the full weight of the law.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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