Sunday, July 18, 2010

What Happened To ’50 Cases’? Corruption Ball Still In Justice Ministry’s Court

Source: FrontPage Africa


07/18/2010 - FPA EDITORIAL

Monrovia -

THE ANTI-CORRUPTION Commission last week recommended for prosecution to the Ministry of Justice, several former and current officials of the Liberian government for prosecution.

UNDER SCRUTINY
TO DATE, Tah has failed to deliver on her promise at confirmation hearing that she would fight to uphold the law and prosecute the corrupt. This was evident in the case against former Information Minister Lawrence Bropleh during which Tah failed to press forward because of a family connection to the former Minister. And as early as January 2010, the minister publicly declared that several current officials in government would be indicted for corruption. Five months later, it appears the minister’s declaration was hot air.

AMONG THOSE recommended were the former Inspector General of Police, Beatrice Munah Sieh-Brown, Prince O.A. Akinremi, Proprietor of the Ultimate Investment & Holdings Company, and Harris Manneh Dunn, Former Deputy Commissioner for Administration, LNP.

THE LACC ALSO recommended that Madam Kaymah N. Zeon and Mr. Nebo Garlo, Physical Auditors of the Ministry of Finance be charged and prosecuted for the Crime of Economic Sabotage under Section 15 Subchapter F, Section 15.80(d) of the New Penal Law for making and signing fraudulent entries in the book of records of the Ministry of Finance thru their physical audit reports which misrepresented the facts about the delivery of the ERU uniforms and accessories by the proprietor of the Ultimate Investment & Holding Company, Mr. Prince Akinremi.

THE LACC recommended that Sieh, Dunn and Akinremi be formally charged and Prosecuted under Chapter 10 Inchoate Offenses, Section 10.4 Criminal Conspiracy and Chapter 15 Subchapter F of the New Penal Law of Liberia captioned Economic Sabotage, Section 15.80 Fraud on the Internal revenue of Liberia.

THE RECOMMENDATION CALL comes after months of investigation by the LACC into alleged procurement of uniforms and accessories by the Liberian National Police(LNP) for the use of emergency Response Unit(ERU), and Phase II of the missing civil servants salary checks at the Ministry of Finance.

THE LACC recommendations were contained in two separate letters addressed to Justice Minister, Cllr. Christiana Tah on Wednesday, July 14, 2010 and follows several declarations in recent months by the Executive branch that it had turned over cases for prosecution and investigation to the Ministry. To date, not much has been heard about those cases.

IN SEPTEMPBER 2008, Sirleaf told a news conference that the Ministry of Justice was working on 50 corruption cases including some officials in her administration. According to President Sirleaf, the 50 corruption cases have already been investigated by the National Security Agency (NSA) and forwarded to the Ministry of Justice.

AT THE TIME, Sirleaf declared that her government attaches importance to the fight against corruption, and as such, it would prosecute anyone engaged in such act in keeping with the law.

ALMOST TWO YEARS later, not one word has been heard from the Justice Ministry about the 50 cases of corruption. The Ministry has also to date not been able to tackle the reports of the Dunn Commission which the President also submitted for Prosecution and the U.N. assets freeze burden which dogged her predecessors Frances Johnson-Morris and Philip Banks.

AS THE INCUMBENT government embarks on its re-election quest for 2011, it is no secret that the issue of corruption remains an Achilles for the government. How it moves forward with these unsolved cases will determine its ability to convince voters that it has done enough on the issue to warrant reelection.

FOR STARTERS, The Ministry of Justice must take the initiative of making sure that cases before it are fully prosecuted and those found afoul of the law brought to justice and made to pay for their ills against the state.

THE LACC’S recommendation on the police uniforms are glaring. The investigation involving the alleged procurement of uniforms and accessories valued at $US199,800.00 by the LNP for use by the ERU, findings revealed that the Ultimate Investment & Holding Company owned by one Prince O.A. Akinremi which was said to have won the bid to procure the uniforms has no record of Import Permit Declaration(IDP) from the Commerce Ministry for the items nor a pre-shipment record from the Bureau Veritas Group of Company(BIVAC). The investigation further revealed numerous irregularities surrounding the alleged procurement of uniforms, which in fact were never delivered as shown by the findings.

THE LACC is also recommending probe into missing Civil Servants Salary and Checks for the months of July-August 2008: The second phase of the LACC investigation into missing salary checks for Civil Servants for the months July-August 2008 and their subsequent fraudulent encashments by various banking institutions, including the Central Bank of Liberia(CBL), without the coded release agreed upon between the Ministry of Finance and CBL established the identities of the current and former officials of the Ministry of Finance, who played roles in the movement of the checks in question. The LACC has therefore recommended that Mr. James Boker, former Comptroller and Jenkins Yonly, Former Director of Electronics Data Processing Section of the Ministry of Finance be formally charged and prosecuted under Chapter 15 Subchapter 15 F of the New Penal Law of Liberia captioned Economic Sabotage, Section 15.80 Fraud on the internal revenue of Liberia.

THE JUSTICE MINISTRY can no longer afford to hide behind the shadows and fail to implement recommendations of both the President and the LACC. Not forgetting some 20 plus audits of the General Auditing Commission which have not been looked into.

MINISTER TAH, Solicitor General Wilkins Wright and the team at the Ministry of Justice owe it a duty to the Liberian people to begin the process of bring those who sought to steal from the Liberian government to justice.

TO DATE, Tah has failed to deliver on her promise at confirmation hearing that she would fight to uphold the law and prosecute the corrupt. This was evident in the case against former Information Minister Lawrence Bropleh during which Tah failed to press forward because of a family connection to the former Minister. And as early as January 2010, the minister publicly declared that several current officials in government would be indicted for corruption. Five months later, it appears the minister’s declaration was hot air.

WE CAUTION the minister strongly that several officials lost their lives in a bloody coup d’etat on April 12, 1980 because of corruption and like her predecessors Johnson-Morris and Phillip Banks, her legacy is on the line. How she shapes it is up to her, the rest they say, is history.

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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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