Africa

Liberia Bars Housing Bribery Scandal Suspects From Leaving Country

In the ongoing alleged bribery scandal involving the head of Liberia’s National Housing Authority (NHA) and his principal deputy, the country’s Ministry of a Justice says,”…the officials of Government mentioning in the recording categorically reject any suggestions that Messers Duanah Siryon, Tugbeh C. Tugbeh and Augustine Weah acted on their behalf or with their consent…”

Duanah Siryon, NHA Managing Director

A Press Statement issued on Sunday afternoon in Monrovia confirmed the existence of a government investigation into the scandal saying,” …based on a petition filed by the Ministry of Justice filed on Friday, November 23, 2018, the Criminal Court “A” at the Temple of Justice has issued the Writ of Nea Exit Republica barring Messers Duanah Siryon, Managing Director of the National Housing Authority, Tugbeh C. Tugbeh, Deputy Managing Director of the National Housing Authority and Augustine Weah from leaving the bailwick of the Republic of Liberia pending conclusion of the investigation.”

Siryon and his Deputy Tugbeh were reportedly arrested by state security on Friday for questioning following disclosure of a tape which implicated top government officials allegedly soliciting bribe for the warding of a housing contract to GELPAZ, a Burkinabe company.

Minister of State in the Liberian Presidency Nathaniel F. McGill

Strangely, the Justice Ministry, in its statement, is already appearing to side with those mentioned on the tape by amplifying their denial, while its investigation is ongoing.

The Justice, Finance and Ministry of State in the Presidency are all entangled in the alleged bribery plan as heard in discussion on tape. Their cut of the money was referred to as the “VIP Package”.

Liberia Minister of Finance and Planning Samuel Tweah

“The Ministry of a Justice (MOJ) wishes to emphasize that the solicitation, offer and acceptance of anything of value as consideration for the rendition of a public service constitutes bribery, a felonious offense punishable under Subchapter D, Subsection 12.50 of the Penal Code of the Republic of Liberia…,”the Press Statement said.

Depiction of Bribery

Liberians in and out of the country are outraged at the plethora of financial scandals plaguing public officials in the Weah Administration.

An ongoing investigation for $16 billion Liberian dollars has yielded no update since the Ministries of Justice, Information and the Central Bank all gave conflicting accounts of the missing money.

Also, the Liberian Government has yet to clearly explain the process of the infusion of $25 million USD in the local economy to stem its rapid decline.

Liberia Justice Ministry Press Statement

Some Liberians say that they less confident of any credible accountability in these scandals.

The Weah Administration is under heavy pressure to provide economic relief to suffering Liberians.

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine