Africa

Press Statement: PEACEFUL PROTESTORS ARE TRUE PATRIOTS, NOT NOISE MAKERS

INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE GROUP ( IJG)

PRESS STATEMENT

For immediate release

Peaceful protests is a fundamental right of free speech and expression guaranteed by the Constitution of Liberia, Universal Declarstion of Human Rights and multiple international covenants and declarations of theUnited Nations, the AU, ECOWAS, to which Liberia is a part is undeniable.

The Americans and European Bodies also have guaranteed that espouse and respect the right to freedom of speech and expression.

Liberia House Speaker Bhofal Chambers

For the Speaker of the Liberian lower House of Representatives to declare that demonstrators are noise makers exposes a fundamental flaw in the Speaker’s understanding and appreciation for “contemporary democracy”.

Liberia’s peaceful demonstrators are the Bosses of the Honorable Speaker. They are the ones who pay his fat salary, he is accountable to them and this Government of President Weah must listen to them.

Said statement appearing in the October 19th Edition of the Frontpage Newspaper, attributed to the Honorable Speaker is callously reckless and irresponsible. It demonstrates that the Honorable Speaker doesn’t know his place in Government and is unfit to be the people’s representative.

No immunity from criminal Investigation

Ongoing investigation or future investigations into the very shameful “missing money” saga is of the nature a criminal investigation from which there is no immunity for members of the Honorable National Legislature.

The immunity they enjoy is to ensure they perform their job, the business of the people of Liberia, without hindrances and restraints but not to shield the Honorable members of the National Legislature From criminal investigations, crime or prosecution for the commission crimes. A member of the National Legislature can be arrested for a misdemeanor as low as infraction of public peace or disorderly conduct or any infamous crimes in hot persist.

There is no protection of a Legislator from investigation for the commission of a crime. HONORABLE

LEGISLATORS ARE NOT ABOVE THE LAW, AND NO ONE IS.

“Contemporary Democracy” puts no one above the law, nor does it shield anyone from justice who does a wrong, breaks the law or conspire to steal money, launder money or engage in currency manipulation and economic crimes. While the entire body of the HonorableHouse of Representative may not be subject to current criminal investigations, but individual members may so be where the evidence leads and be prosecuted and they cannot hide under the cover of that Honorable Body to extenuate impunity and impede the ends of justice.

Serious Crimes we’re committed

The investigation into the “missing money” saga are potentially very serious crimes and the Government of President Weah must regard it as such. Indications are that the saga points to a conspiracy to commit crimes like money laundering, currency manipulation, insider or illegal dealings in currency and counterfeiting and if this Honorable Body is found to be involved, liable or found to be complicit or culpable, the Honorable Legislature will be thereby discredited, its immunity lowered to face justice or be disbanded.

Servant Leadership

In our scheme of democracy, our leaders are expected to be servants of the people, subject to their desires for good governance and accountability.

So, when the people demand “bring back our money” they are not saying they know where the container of money is, Mr. Speaker, they are saying they know that the authorities of state took the container of money and it is the authorities who, therefore know where the money is, and the money is their (public) property and are demanding you all must bring back their money from under your beds, in your cupboards and closets, garages, in your cars and wherever they have new started to elude suspicions and discoveries.

Legislative Break

The National Legislature is entitled to annual breaks, which the late President Samuel Doe designated as “agriculture break” so legislators can spend time with their people in their constituencies to emphasize the importance of agriculture to Liberia’s economic resurgence.

This break by the Legislature is compulsory, constitutional and must hold. It is not within the purview of the Honorable Legislature to, on their own accord, terminate their annual break. So, they must continue on break and if they end it for any reason other than Presidential Perogative, then they are on their own and any monies paid to them will be illegal, corruption amounting to gross abuse of public office and authority.

Map of Liberia

The Honorable National Legislature can only be recalled from break by The President for state emergency reasons or similar inputs. Since no such state of emergency exists, at the moment, President Weah will be well advised not to recall the Legislature and spare the national treasury such High sum to pay US$10,000 as legislators are said to be demanding. So, please, Mr President, Dr George M Weah, let the Legislators enjoy their break to rest and interact and consult with their constituencies inkeeping with law. In the absence of the Honorable Legislature on recess any law you desire can wait and Executive Orders are available to remedy such situation pending their return.

Authority to Print Money

While the Honorable National Legislature May have intended to limit the CBL to printing a certain amount of new Liberia Currency to 5 Billion Liberia Dollars, the communication transmitted to the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) is suspect.

The communication, wether by design, miscommunication or a criminal conspiracy or scheme from which individual members of the Honorable Legislature or the entire body benefited is yet undetermined.

Instead of limiting the CBL, the communication from the National Legislature to the CBL did not express or contain any such restrictions or limits. Instead, the communication authorized the CBL to use all the constitutional authority of the National Legislature to print new money when in closing the Honorable National Legislature unwittingly and unnecessarily said “ In view of the above and with the Power assigned to the Legislature under Article 35(d) of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, this shall constitute your legal and sufficient authority “

With this expressed authorization and Blessings of the National Legislature coupled with the scope, power and authority conferred on the CBL by the CBL ACT, the Legislature explicitly delegated, assigned and arrogated to the CBL all its powers and authority to print new Liberian Currency in any amount the CBL so desires.

And, with information becoming clearer and clearer that some members of the National Legislature shared in the proceeds of the looted container of Liberian money, we may be getting closer and closer to a grand national conspiracy to commit fraud, theft of property, money laundering. and other economic crimes against the people of Liberia, on a scale like never

before seen in the history of Liberia.

Recommendations

1. That the Government enacts very strong anti-corruption laws that makes it easier to punish corrupt officials of government and recover stolen assets for public use. The IJG offers its services and is willing to assist government in this direction

2. That the Government of President Weah establishes a SALARIES AND RENUMERATION COMMISSION to regulate, set parity standards that creates equity and fair standards in salaries and renumeration in the public sector to reward experience and merit and encourage productivity in the public sector and bring in line the very high salaries of public sector officials with economic realities and the living standards of the people, which at the moment is disproportionately too high or at best unrealistic.

3. Review of the CBL ACT to remove any and all anomalies found within the act so that the relationship between the. Legislature and the CBL can be less suspicious which clarification of roles, scope of functions and authorities will eliminate.

ISSUED BY AUTHORITY

IJG

This 20th day of October, AD 2018

Signed:

Jerome J Verdier, Sr (Cllr)

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

-END-