Monday, August 2, 2010

Bropleh Declares 2011 Run: Ex-Minister Eyes Bassa Legislative Seat

Hamilton Smith, FPA STAFF WRITER
Source: FrontPage Africa

Buchanan, Grand Bassa County-

Laurence K. Bropleh
Despite a hanging indictment over his head over his alleged role in the siphoning of US$262,772.73, former Information Minister, Dr. Laurence K. Bropleh, over the weekend declared his intention to contest Electoral District Number Four as representative come the 2011 elections, bringing an end to long-standing speculations of the former minister’s intent to do so.

Bropleh, embroiled in an almost US$300,000 theft at the Information Ministry, resigned the post shortly after being indicted by the General Auditing Commission (GAC) following an audit of the foreign mission payroll of the Ministry.

The fallen minister was immediately suspended by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf after some of the auditees tied him into the fraud, recommending that the Ministry of Finance calculate the appropriate interest over the period Bropleh allegedly siphoned the money from state coffers through fraudulent means.

The audit held the suspended Information Minister responsible for three major fraudulent transactions including payments allegedly made to four ghost employees, salaries and allowances of Bernard Warity collected by the suspended Minister for eight months and money paid to ghost name Nathaniel Walker upon the directive of Bropleh.

“Minister Laurence K. Bropleh should be made to immediately restitute US$262,772.73. This represents the funds he misappropriated from the fraudulent processing and payments of salaries to four ghost names in the amount of US$207,160.72, the US$21,807.08 he misappropriated from the salaries and allowances paid in the name of Bernard Waritay, the US$13,855.20 he misappropriated from the salaries and allowances paid in the name of James Essieh, US$9, 569.73 he authorized and paid to ghost worker Nathaniel Walker and US$10,380.00 he authorized withdrawn from the operating account of MICAT at the CBL. Minister Bropleh should be made to restitute the total at an interest determined by the Minister of Finance on the basis of prevailing market rate, compounded monthly since salary and allowances are paid on a monthly basis”, the audit recommended.

Beside restitution, the audit stated that the Ministry of Justice institutes the appropriate legal means to remedy the fraudulent act committed by suspended Minister Bropleh.

“The Government of Liberia, through the Minister of Justice, should institute the appropriate legal procedure to remedy the fraudulent payroll transaction committed by Minister Laurence K. Bropleh”, auditors recommended.

Bropleh was in February, 2010 indicted along with two others from the Ministry–former MICAT Comptroller, Joseph Z. Nyamunue, Sr. and former Chief Accountant, Josiah B.S. Gwaee by the Grand Jury of Montserrado County, Criminal Court ‘A’ at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, and have since been forwarded to the Criminal Court ‘C’, which has legal jurisdiction over the trial.

Promise To Work With Bassa People

During an interactive forum held at the ‘All People, One People Atai Shop’ on Tubman Street in the Port City of Buchanan, Bropleh promised to work along with the citizens of the county if he is elected as their next representative for the seat currently being held by Representative Gabriel B. Smith of the Liberty Party.

Why not promising to build roads, the former minister told his audience that he will do his best to make the Bassa citizens to achieve more because, according to him, working with them would enable him to make discussions.

Bropleh’s declaration was supported by Charles Taylor’s former Defense Minister Daniel Chea, himself a possible aspirant for the junior senatorial seat of the county who told the audience to put their trust in the resigned information minister.

Speaking on his own indictment, Bropleh told the interactive forum that he was indicted for criminal facilitation but the February’s indictment of the former information minister holds him liable for theft of property and criminal conspiracy in addition to the criminal facilitation.

According to the indictment, between the period of November 2006 and September 2009, defendants Bropleh, Nyamunue and Gwagee, “without any color of right and the fear of God; and in violation of the statutory laws of Liberia, knowingly, purposely, intentionally, criminally, stole, took and carried away, and converted sundry amounts from various accounts of GOL, under various schemes, and acting in concert, did place on GOL payroll names of Foreign Service personnel who are not legitimate employees of the Ministry of Information.”

The indictment further said the men forged the signatures of some legitimate Foreign Service personnel as well as fictitious persons. They had also signed for and received the salary checks totaling US$208,407.01 and converted the said amount to their personal use.

The actions of the defendants, according to the indictment, is in violation of sections 15.51, 15.70 and 10.2 of the Penal Laws of the Republic of Liberia.

Count one of the Court’s indictment states that: “the defendants, Joseph Z. Nyamunue Sr. and Josiah B.S. Gwagee did commit theft of property, while serving as comptroller and chief accountant at the Ministry of Information, by placing the names of Foreign Service personnel who are not legitimate employees of the Information Ministry; did forge the signature of some legitimate Foreign Service personnel, received their salaries and converted same to their personal use and benefit to the disadvantage of the plaintiff, Republic of Liberia.”

It remains unclear as to Bropleh’s chances of winning the legislative seat in the midst of both his alleged role in the corruption that brought him down from the governmental post that had him to be one of the President’s closest aides and in an election that promises to be a hot one for an electoral constituency in the country’s second seaport city.

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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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