Friday, July 16, 2010

Ex-Police Boss in Liberia, Six Others Face Prosecution


16 July 2010

No matter how anybody considers it, corruption remains a major obstacle to government's efforts to pull Liberia's postwar economy out of the ditch - slow revenue intake due largely to institutional flaws and incompetence, and lagging donor pledges being the only other factors.

In view of these obstacles, many had thought that law enforcement agencies and the nation's finance regulators would devise safety measures to salvage the situation. But it seems they have been (are?) part of the problem as the latest investigation of the Liberia Anti-Corruption has revealed. The Analyst, reports.

LACC has recommended to the Justice Ministry in Monrovia to indict and prosecute six former and current public servants and the CEO of a foreign-owned import-export company for their involvement in 'corrupt practices' in various shady deals.

The recommendations were contained in two separate letters the Commission sent, Wednesday this week, to Justice Minister Cllr. Christiana Tah.

Those the Commission said it has found to be guilty of corrupt practices, which are tantamount to economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy, and fraud, were the former Inspector General of the Police, Col. Beatrice Munah Sieh-Brown, and the former Deputy Commission for Administration of Police, Harris Manneh Dunn.

Others were businessman Prince O. A. Akinremi, owner of the Ultimate Investment & Holding Company; former Finance Ministry Comptroller General, James Boker; and former Director of the Electronic Data Processing Section of the Ministry of Finance, Jenkins Yonly; and two physical auditors of the Ministry of Finance: Ms. Kaymah N. Zeon and Nebo Garlo.

After leaving office almost eight to nine months ago, the former Inspector General of the Liberian National Police (LNP) Col. Beatrice Munah Sieh-Brown has appeared on the radar of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) for her alleged involvement in shady financial deals executed during her administration.

Because of that, the LACC wants the Ministry Of Justice to charge and prosecute the former LNP boss, her deputy for administration and businessman Akinremi for economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy and fraud in keeping with New Penal Code and Financial Laws of Liberia.

The LACC's call for the charge and prosecution of the former LNP boss and all stemmed from her involvement in alleged procurement of uniforms and accessories valued at US $199,800.00 by the LNP for use by the Emergency Response Unit (ERU).

According to a statement issued yesterday under the signature of Ben Kolako, Public Relations Officer of LACC, the Commission said it came to the decision to recommend the prosecution of Madam Sieh-Brown and her accomplices following months of sustained investigation into alleged procurement of uniforms and accessories by LNP for the use of the ERU during her administration.

"Findings obtained from the investigation conducted into the LNP/ERU Uniform Procurement saga," the LACC said, "showed that the Ultimate Investment & Holding Company...has no record of Import Permit Declaration (IPD) from the Commerce Ministry..."

The Commission said not only was the holding company unable to present the IPD for the items, but that also it did not have a pre-shipment record from the Bureau VERITAS Group of Company (BIVAC).

It noted further that its investigation revealed numerous irregularities surrounding the alleged procurement of the uniforms, which it said were never delivered.

The Commission said it has deemed it necessary to recommend that Madam Kaymah N. Zeon and Mr. Nebo Garlo, both physical auditors of the Ministry of Finance, be charged and prosecuted for economic sabotage.

The statement quoted the Commission as saying that its investigation discovered that the two internal auditors made and signed fraudulent entries in the books of records of the Ministry of Finance.

It said reports misrepresented the facts about the delivery of the ERU uniforms and accessories by the proprietor of the Ultimate Investment & Holding Company, Mr. Prince Akinremi.

Madam Sieh-Brown who served as police boss from 2006 to 2009 was relieved of her post by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, for what the Executive Mansion at the time called administrative reasons, a carefully diplomatic phrase used very often by the presidency apparently to cover the shady deals of officials dismissed and/or transferred from one ministry to another.

Madam Sieh-Brown's administration was scarred by incessant criminal activities, most especially armed robberies that led to the injuring of several residents, thus prompting the public to call on the chief executive to dismiss her.

Though the president did not act as quickly as the public expected, she did so at her time of convenience and replaced her with Mr. Marc Amblard, who is serving in the capacity currently.

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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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