Liberia: Text Of Statement Delivered By Protesters Delivered To Int’l Community

PETITION STATEMENT

September 24, 2018

The Coalition of Citizens United to Bring Our Money Back (COCUBOMB), a mass-based umbrella pro-democracy and pro-advocacy organization consisting of over 26 civil society organizations, youth/student groups and trade unions, have peacefully rallied and assembled conscious and patriotic Liberians from every sphere of our society to petition you in pursuit of L$16 billion (US$106 million) that mysteriously disappeared under the government of President George M. Weah.

With oneness of purpose and an unhindered allegiance to Liberia and posterity, we have come on this day to send this clarion message to our International Partners through you:

1 We call on you and all international partners of Liberia to launch an immediate independent international forensic investigation into this missing L$16 billion saga which has both economic, social and security implications. The nation remains terrified by this mystery.

1 We call on you to withhold all direct support (in terms of financial and non-financial aid) to our government until it can fully account and restitute this stolen L$16 billion. All those linked in this horrific economic plunder and mass looting against the State and its people must be prosecuted and made to fully restitute such amount.

1 We call on you to prevail upon the Weah-led government to immediately release the internal investigative report of the Central Bank of Liberia that former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf referenced in her latest interview on BCC. This report in our opinion could unravel a lot of hidden secrets and untold realities.

1 We call on you to assist Liberia in auditing all financial transactions done so far under President George M. Weah and former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. We are also concerned about the recent infusion of US$25 million in the Liberian economy by the Weah-led government. We are also interested in knowing the source of this US$ 25 million and how it was infused in the economy. This we believe must be thoroughly investigated as well.

2 COCUBOMB craves your indulgence most respectfully to launch an investigation into the giant-sized private properties being constructed and/or purchased by President George M. Weah and some high-profile members of his government in just six (6) months of his tenure. We are confident that such investigation could also dig out some hard truths about this missing L$16 billion.

3 We call on you to prevail upon the Weah-led government to ensure full asset declaration by all public officials especially the President either before or during the course of the Independent International Forensic Investigation.

1 We call on you to expedite the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia. This we believe would end the longstanding culture of impunity and guarantee justice for Liberia and Liberians especially war victims. This approach would certainly serve as a deterrence for would be war and economic criminals.

1 We submit to you the urgency to fully overhaul/upgrade Liberia’s financial management system in order to maintain fiscal discipline, accountability, transparency and public integrity at all levels. The need to reinforce and rebrand anti-graft institutions such as LACC, GAC, FIU, PPCC, LEITI and IAA cannot be overemphasized. Corruption especially in the judiciary must also be dealt with.

1 We demand that all former and present heads of these institutions (NPA, MoFDP, CBL, MICAT and RIA) that had/have direct link to this missing container immediately recuse themselves and be brought in for investigation by an independent international forensic investigative panel.

The people of Liberia through COCUBOMB remain very concerned and disturbed about those missing billion (US$106 million) that vanished without any trace up to now. It is sad that the government has been dishonest and inconsistent in releasing the facts. Accounts surrounding this missing L$16 billion from the MoJ, MoFDP, MICAT and even the Office of the President remain contradictory and are compounded with fundamental flaws.

The government cannot be the accused, the defendant, and at the same time the jurist. The Liberian people need their money back. Those who viciously siphoned our resources MUST account and account now! THE PEOPLE are resolved about this and we will not rest until this L$16 billion is fully accounted for by those we describe as ‘vicious economic scavengers and plunderers of our State’.

In all of these, we assure the Liberian people and the International Community that we shall remain peaceful, civil and matured as we pursue this irreversible and patriotic path of bringing an end to systemic corruption in Liberia.

The people deserve better – they deserve to rise above poverty, misery and inequality. It cannot be business as usual. The International Community must ACT to help rescue Liberia from perishing. The popular call of our PEOPLE is “BRING BACK OUR MONEY”.

COCUBOMB calls for the full protection of Journalists Philibert Brown of Hot Pepper Newspaper and Rodney Sieh of FrontPage Africa. We also call on you to protect the rights of campaigners who are demanding the full restitution of this L$16 billion. As we jealously protect the sovereignty and heritage of our State by standing up to those barriers (corruption, nepotism, tribalism, cronyism and religious intolerance) that kept us down as a people, we call you to join us in this pursuit to ensure that President Weah and his government account for L$16 billion that disappeared in thin air.

Done and sealed on this 24th Day of September A.D. 2018 in the City of Monrovia by through COCUBOMB, a representation of the Liberian people.

Signed: ______________________________________

                                 Jeremiah S. Swen

                     Secretary General, COCUBOMB

 

Approved: ____________________________________

                                   Martin K. N. Kollie

                               Chairman, COCUBOMB

To: US Embassy, United Nations, European Union, African Union, ECOWAS, French Embassy

Reputable Organizations that have endorsed this statement:

1 Student Unification Party (SUP)

2 People Action Network (PAN-Liberia)

3 Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFFL)

4 Movement of Justice in Africa (MOJA)

5 Liberia Labor Congress (LLC)

6 Workers’ Union of Liberia (WUL)

7 Foundation for Human Rights and Democracy (FOHRD)

8 Alliance for Transitional Justice in Liberia (ATJL)

9 Teachers in Action for Concerns (TAC-Liberia)

10 Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY)

11 Patriotic Consciousness Association of Liberia (PACAL)

12 Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia (PATEL)

13 Movement of Social Democratic Alliance (MOSODA)

14 Financial Communication Sector Union (FCSU)

15 National Cosmetology Union of Liberia (NCUL)

16 Association of Opposition Political Parties Youth League in Support of Weah (AOPPYL)

17 Concerned Liberians in the Diaspora (CLD)

18 Citizen Action for the Establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Courts (CAEWECC)

19 Zorzor and Salayea Muslim Development Association (ZSMDA)

20 Forum for Democracy and Civic Education (FODCE)

21 Liberia National Student Union (LINSU)

22 TAG – Liberia

23 Concerned University and College Students (CUCS)

24 Conscious High School Students of Liberia (CHSL)

25 S. K. Doe Community Youth Association (SAKDOCYA)

26 Masses Against Poverty (MAP)

27  Federation of Sinkor Youth Association (FESYA)

28 Liberian Youth for Democracy

29 Agenda for Peace and Democracy

30 National Youth Against Violence (NYAV)

 

US Rep Daniel M. Donovan Jr. Introduces Bill To Call For War Crimes Court in Liberia

It now appears that United States Congressional pressure is being brought to bear on the George M. Weah Administration Liberia over the establishment of a war crimes tribunal in the West African nation.

Liberian President George M. Weah

An estimated 250,000 people were killed and another 1 million others were dislocated internally and externally due to one of Africa’s most brutal civil conflagration led by now jailed former rebel leader and President of Liberia Charles G. Taylor.

According to House Resolution 1055 introduced on Friday, September 7. 2018 by Representative Daniel M. Donovan Jr., a Republican from New York, the intent of the resolution is, “…To affirm strong United States-Liberia ties and support for democratic principles, and call for full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations, including the establishment of an Extraordinary Criminal Tribunal for Liberia.”

The move by a member of the US Congress is the first tangible indication that the US and the international community are prepared to decisively deal with the unserious attitude of the Weah Administration in addressing impunity in Liberia.

Liberia TRC Logo

Despite calls from the UN, through its Deputy Secretary General Madam Amina Mohamed in March of this year in Monrovia, private representations to the Weah Government by the US and some of its allies, calls by the International Justice Group (IJG), the UN Human Rights Committee and over 75 international human rights groups and non-governmental organizations, and Liberians in and out of the country who all support the establishment of the war crimes court and recommendations of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the government has signaled it’s unwillingness to prioritize the matter.

Representative Donovan’s bill has been agreed to in the U. S. House of Representatives and it has been forwarded to the House’s Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Congressman Donovan has a background as a former prosecutor and attorney.

He represents the 11th congressional district which covers parts of Kings County and Richmond County southeastern in New York.

He was elected in 2015.

According to procedures in the U. S. House of Representatives, bill are generally sent to the Library of Congress from, the Government Publishing Office a day or two after there introduced. But delay in passage of bills are possible when there is a large bill to print.

United Nations Headquarters New York

President Weah is expected to travel to NY later this month to address the UN General Assembly. Some Liberians are planning to peacefully protest and call for the establishment of war crimes court.

The U.S. may impose restrictive measures against the Weah Administration in a bid to facilitate implementation of recommendations of the TRC.

No one in Liberia has been held to account for alleged human rights violations and atrocities committed during the civil war.

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal

Alleged Liberian War Criminal Arrested In France

The international justice noose continues to tighten around former alleged war actors in the Liberian conflict.

France Crimes Against Humanity And Genocide Agency

Latest news from France received by West African Journal Magazine say French authorities have picked up a suspected former factional commander for investigation into his alleged atrocities committed during the West African country’s civil war in the 1990s.

French Police

According to France 24 news website, a Liberian national who now holds Dutch citizenship and identified as Kunti K, a former ULIMO commander now living in the French suburb of Bobigny, outside of Paris was arrested by authorities on Tuesday, September 4, 2018. The apprehension of the Liberian war actor was based on a complaint filed with the French government by the victims rights advocacy group Civitas Maxima which is based in Europe. The group also played a key role in raising international awareness about the prosecution case of now convicted former “Defense Minister and Chief spokesperson” of the former rebel NPFL Mr. Jucontee Thomas Woweiyu in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA.

File Photo – Liberian Rebel Fighters

According to the report, ” Kunti K., born in 1974, was detained in a joint operation by the elite GIGN police and officers from France’s OCLCH agency, which investigates war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. He arrived in France in 2016, after leaving the Netherlands and passing through Belgium, said Colonel Eric Emereaux, head of OCLCH.”

French authorites had been investigating the accused Kunti K. The ULIMO rebel faction was named in Liberia’s TRC as committing over 11,500 various forms of abuses and atrocities including forced displacement, killing rape, property destruction and torture among aother alleged criminal actions. ULIMO was allegedly responsible for committing about 7% of overall atrocities in the TRC Final Report and its leaders recommended for prosecution for human rights and international humanitarian law violations and war crimes.

https://m.soundcloud.com/radiofranceinternationale/liberia-suspected-former-militant-commander-arrested-in-france-for-crimes-against-humanity

Radio France International Interview

No one in Liberia has been prosecuted for alleged atrocities committed during the war.

Former Rebel NPFL Commander Martina Johnson

Other Liberians who have been booked by foreign countries include a former NPFL commander, Martina Johnson. She was arrested in Belgium on September 17, 2014 and is facing investigation and prosecution for her alleged role in atrocities committed in Liberia. Agnes Reeves Taylor

She was a former personal bodyguard to former rebel leader turned former President Charles Taylor who is serving a 50 year prison sentence in the UK for his role in the Liberia civil war.

The ex-wife of former President Taylor, Agnes Reeves-Taylor, was arrested in the London on June 1, 2017 and is facing prosecution over four charges for offences she allegedly committed in Liberia.

Chuckie Taylor

The son of former President Taylor, Charles “Chuckie’ Taylor Jr., a US citizen, was prosecuted in America for his role in the war. In October, 2008, he was convicted by a U.S. Court on six charges of committing act of torture and conspiracy to commit torture in Liberia and firearms violations. He is serving a 97 year jail sentence in the U.S.

Former Warlord of the Rebel LPC Dr. George Boley

Another warlord who was residing in NY, Dr George Boley of the Liberia Peace Council (LPC) rebel faction was picked by by U.S. authorities in January 2010 on immigration violation charges and extra judicial killings in the Liberian war.

He was deported to Liberia in March 2012. A witness in Dr. Boley’s case, one Isaac Kannah of Philadelphia, who U.S. Immigration authorities say lied to federal authorities to help Dr. Boley admitted to perjury and obstruction of justice on July 26, 2018 and agreed to voluntarily leave the U.S. He was facing a 5 year jail sentence and $250,000 fine, if convicted It is unclear if Kannah, has left the U.S.

Mohammed “Jungle Jabbah”: Jabateh, a commander in the rebel ULIMO faction was prosecuted in the U.S. on immigration fraud charges, found guilty and is serving a 30 year jail sentence. He is said to have lied to U.S. immigration authorities about his past association with ULIMO rebel faction in order to gain immigration benefits.

In July, 2018, a former bodyguard to President Charles Taylor was removed from the U.S. to Liberia. The former Staten Island resident is Charles Cooper. According to U.S. Immigration authorities, “…An ICE investigation revealed that prior to coming to the United States, Cooper, while a member of the SSS and the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, was directly involved in the persecution of civilians in Liberia. Cooper was also identified as a member of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, a rebel group founded by Charles Taylor that committed numerous human rights violations…”

Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel laureate has been sued in a civil matter in a US. District Court Boston, Massachusetts by a Liberia national for her alleged role in the war.

A former Presidential guard commander during the early stages of the war in Liberia, one Colonel Moses Thomas, is facing a civil suit in Philadelphia for his alleged role in the Lutheran Church massacre by government troops under his command. Colonel Thomas has denied any involvement.

Local and international pressure is building on the Weah Administration to establish a war crimes court to prosecute those accused of committing human rights violations and atrocities during the war. But the Liberian President, at a recent meeting with opposition political parties purportedly stated that because Liberians are inter-related and since some of the accused are current “decision makers” in government, he could not implement recommendations to hold those individuals accountable nor could he take on a full frontal assault on “endemic” corruption in government. President Weah has been roundly criticized by Liberians in and out of the country for his unwillingness to implement recommendations of the country’s TRC.

Map of Liberia

A mass peaceful protest is planned by Liberians in the U.S. to greet President George Weah who is expected to attend the UN General Assembly in New York later in September. Organizers say their protest is to call for President Weah to establish a war crimes court and fight corruption in the small West African country.

Former Rebel Commander Turned Senator Prince Y. Johnson

A major war actor and former rebel commander now turned Senator Prince Y. Johnson who is named in TRC report as a “perpetrator” and recommended for prosecution has in recent days been threatening a return to conflict if there is an attempt to arrest him for prosecution.

Some supporters of President Weah say attempts to prosecute alleged war and economic criminals could destabilize the fragile peace while others say justice and accountability are the best remedies for reconciling Liberians.

Liberian President George M. Weah

Recently, a newly formed rights advocacy organization the International Justice Group (IJG) based in Europe and the U.S. disclosed that its investigators have uncovered individuals listed in the West African country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report  living under different disguises and names to avoid detection and apprehension by authorities for the roles in the Liberian civil war.

“Under international justice, President Weah’s clear refusal poses serious consequences for Liberia’s prosperity in many ways. From international sanction to other activities such as travel ban of officials and others in government and the country, the pressure will be brought by the International Justice Group  as well as the 76 Group and others…” the IJG said.

The group also clearly stated that, ” …under international justice, President Weah’s clear refusal poses a serious consequences for Liberia’s prosperity in many ways. From international sanctions to other activities such as travel ban of officials and others in government and the country, the pressure will be brought to bear by the International Justice Group as well as the 76 group and others…”

Flag of Liberia

Liberia was wracked by back-to-back war starting in 1979 in which nearly and estimated 250,000 people were killed and about 1 million others were internally and externally displaced by roving bands of rebels. The conflict spilled over into neighboring Sierra Leone where rebels reportedly hacked off limbs of victims and killed thousands others.

TRC Liberia

International war crime investigators say they will pursue alleged war criminals for full prosecution in and out of Liberia.

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine

Int’l Advocacy Organization Calls On Liberian Govt To Conclude High Profile Corruption Cases

img_1110The International Justice Group (IJG), a newly formed global advocacy, research, documentation and accountability organization based in the United States and Europe with operations in Africa, Asia as well as South and Central Americas, is calling on the Liberian administration of current President George M. Weah to ensure an end to several high profile corruption cases in the country, especially the cases involving an Iron Deal carried out at the Port of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, and the Sable Mining bribery saga in Liberia.

 IRON ORE SALE CORRUPTION CASE

The Iron Ore sale corruption case which took place under interim president, the late Gyude Bryant (then Chairman of Liberia’s transitional government) involved the following witnesses: Johnathan Mason, formerly of the Lands and Mines Ministry,  Mr. Albert Chie (current President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate), Lusine Kamara, former Minister of Finance, Isaac Nyenabo, former Comptroller General of Liberia, Tugbeh Doe, a former Deputy Minister of Finance and now a businessman, Pyne Walo, former Deputy Minister for Expenditure at the Ministry of Finance, Abraham Teplah Doe, a U.S. citizen, Thomas Niminie Yaya, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Richard Devine, current chairman of the National Port Authority’s board of directors among others.

In its blog post, Counselor Jerome J. Verdier, Sr., former chairman of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and founding executive director of the International Justice Group remarked, “Why should anyone or a group of individuals get involved with the selling of iron ore that belongs to an entire country without any proper legal authority?”

Iron Ore Mining - Liberia
Iron Ore Mining-Liberia File Photo

At the time when the country’s Iron Ore was sold out of Liberia, the International Justice Group’s director was a part of Liberia’s civil society when they got a tip-off on the illegal sale. Counselor Verdier immediately proceeded to the Supreme Court of Liberia and filed a Petition asking for a stop order for the ship not to leave the Port of Buchanan. According to Counselor Verdier, the then justice minister under Chairman Bryant disobeyed the Court’s order and ran the ship out of Buchanan.

According to Executive Director Verdier, the case is still pending before the Supreme Court and it is a big case but the Court has failed to decide it because of the very important justice and human rights issues raised. For example:

  1. the court had to determine that natural resources are people property. It belongs to the people and the government cannot dispose of it in any way that doesn’t benefit the people.
  2. the people have proprietary rights inherent in the natural resources and have a right to sue the government when those rights are violated.
  3. that apart from the right to sue government citizens have the right to recover damages from the government for the violation of those rights, and
  4. the petition was elaborate on natural resource exploitation and distribution and use. The court refused to rule twice because of the several unprecedented issues which would have changed how our resources are managed and exploited. Some of those issues are similar objectives as in the TRC Recommendations on Natural Resources.

When the current Executive Director of the International Justice Group went public with the case, the then Chief Justice at the time called him in audience and said in the end, “Look Counselor Verdier, you are young and there are lots of things you don’t understand but one day you will be in my position and you will understand why we cannot decide this case………..”

 SABLE MINING’S BRIBERY CASE

In another major alleged corruption case involving Sable Mining and some former and current Liberian officials and others including former House Speaker Alex Tyler, the International Justice Group is calling on the Weah administration to conclude the case to determine the facts.

Sable Mining Case Indictees - Courtesy of Daily Observer Newspaper
Suspects Named By Global Witness in the Sable Mining case (clockwise): Sen. Varney Sherman, J. Alex Tyler, Dr. Eugene Shannon, Former PPCC Chairman Willie Belleh, Sen. Morris Saytumah and Dr. Richard V. Tolbert – Courtesy Daily Observer

In a lower court’s ruling, the judge had mysteriously refused to admit the emails from one of the accused persons, Senator Varney Sherman, showing that he had bribed the officials and others. But the Supreme Court, in a ruling, says the lower court’s judge ruling was alien to Liberia’s jurisdiction. In the view of the International Justice Group, this calls into question the judge’s incompetence which could also be a ground for a possible removal from office if the case remains unresolved.

Based on the Supreme Court’s decision, it appears the prosecution in the Sable Mining’s case was in the right on this matter without explicitly giving reasons as to whether the accused persons are guilty. Therefore, the International Justice Group is calling on the Weah’s administration to take the bold step in concluding this landmark corruption case which has claimed the attention of the US and the UK. This is necessary because the ruling of the Supreme Court appears to vindicate the prosecution without affirming charges against those accused, or clearing their names from the charges.

Liberia Justice Minister Frank Musa Dea
Liberia Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean

The international Justice Group is also demanding an audit of all government’s agencies in the past administration where alleged corruption cases were rumored to have taken place. These include the ministries of finance, defense, and agriculture as well as the National Port Authority among others.

Source: International Justice Group (IJG)

 

Liberia War And Economic Criminals Hiding Abroad, Say IJG Investigators

The International Justice Group (IJG) war crimes investigators in the United States. South Africa, Europe and Canada say they have discovered about 73 Liberian war and economic criminals residing in the US, Canada and other parts of Europe.

Convicted NPFL Spokesman Tom Woewiyu and Former Rebel INPFL Commander Prince Johnson

According to the IJG Investigators, the individuals listed in the West African country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report  are living under different disguises and names to avoid detection and apprehension by authorities for the roles in the Liberian civil war.

They are from the  Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), National Patriotic Front of of Liberia (NPFL), Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) and the Liberia Peace Council (LPC).
Others in hiding are from the Lofa Defense Force (LDF), MODEL, ULIMO-J, ULIMO-K and the LURD rebel factions.

The accused were involved in heinous atrocities committed between April 14, 1979 up to 2003. A team of international investigators was in Liberia in June to conclude the final stages of investigation of these individuals, a source said.

Some of the non combatants and victims of the Liberia civil conflict included the following:

Mr. & Ms. Samuel Greene
Archie Greene
John Bright
Budu Houge
Charles Gbenyon
Robert Quiah
R. Vanjah Richards
James Coleman
Butler Freeman
Mr & Ms. Johnny Nah
Johnny Kpor
Doris Toweh Gballah
Stephen Yekeson
Stephen Daniels
Tommy Raynes
Samuel Tody and
Browne Paul
Henneh Johnson
Phillip Bowen
Michael Doe
Jackson F. Doe
David Q. Livingstone
Moses Washington
James Turning
Chea Kayea
Roosevelt Savice
Gabriel Kpolleh and
Tonia Richardson

Still other victims are:
Wuo Garbe Tappia
Wewe Debar
Exodus Kerdoe and
Benedict Garlawolu

Thousands in Liberia and Sierra and nationals of other countries who are not listed were  murdered by the rebel factions in violation of the four Geneva Conventions which  protect people who were not (or were no longer) taking part in hostilities, including the sick and wounded,   prisoners of war, and civilians.

Liberia TRC
TRC Liberia – Logo

Since submission of the TRC Report and recommendations, in 2009 to the Liberian government, no one has been held to account for their roles in war and economic crimes.

Local and international pressure is building on the Weah government to favorably respond to calls to establish a war crimes tribunal.

Liberia President George M. Weah
Liberia President George M. Weah

The International Justice Group (IJG) earlier this week said, “Under international justice, President Weah’s clear refusal poses serious consequences for Liberia’s prosperity in many ways. From international sanction to other activities such as travel ban of officials and others in government and the country, the pressure will be brought by the International Justice Group  as well as the 76 Group and others…”

The Weah Administration has yet to officially commit to the setting up of a war and economic crimes court.

Liberia – TRC Full Report

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal

IJG Calls For Accountability in Sierra Leone and Liberia

Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio Taking Oath of Office - Reuters
Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio Taking Oath of Office – Photo Courtesy of Reuters

The Government of Sierra Leone led by President Julius Maada Bio is being called upon to “…take bold steps in ensuring accountability and making sure that those response for such ecnomic crimes are held accountable under national and international justice system.”

The call was made on last Thursday by the newly established International Justice Group (IJG) which is dedicated to researching, investigating, documenting , exposing and holding accountable, through the international justice system, individuals and groups that are responsible, support and aid the commission of such acts.

The IJG cited what it described as a report of “an astonishing level of fiscal indiscipline and rampant corruption by former ruling All People Congress (APC) Government of President Ernest Koroma,” adding it “had led to the near collapse of Sierra Leone’s economy by the time the Government of President Julius Maada Bio was sworn into office.”

In citing the dire economic issues facing the West African country, the IJG said, “…the economy was left burdened with external debt amounting to $16 billion USD, a domestic debt amounting to Le $4.99 trillion or USD $658 million and an exploded payroll (salaries and other compensation for government employees of Le 2 trillion (USD $263 million) or 14.4% of the GDP.”

In July, two former top officials of the Sierra Leone government were arrested in an anti-corruption crackdown. Former Vice President Victor Forh was charged with various counts of public funds embezzlement and mis management while a former Mines Minister, Mansaray Minkailu is facing charges for his involvement in the questionable sale of a stake in a mining project to a family member of former President Ernest Koroma at a rather low price.

The former ruling APC and President Koroma have rejected the charges of corruption.

Speaking after receiving a report from a special 12 person commission in July, President Bio stated, ““Corruption is at a level that can destroy this nation”, adding then “I consider the level of corruption that we have met as a national security issue.”

In its call to the Sierra Leonen President, the IJG in its blog said, “Despite tremendous natural resources, Sierra Leone is a national regarded as one of the poorest in the world . About 205 of children die before their 5th birthday because of poverty and poor health, youth unemployment is high and women are struggling to make ends meet…”

In a separate development and just across the border, the IJG has pointed a finger at Liberian President George M. Weah for his continued refusal to implement the Final Report of the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

UN DSG Amina Mohammed
22 March 2018. Monrovia: (Left to right) The Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mohammed Ibn Chambas, and the United Nations Deputy Secretary General, Amina J. Mohammed, meet with the President of the Republic of Liberia, George Weah, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia, Liberia. Amina J. Mohammed is visiting the country to attend the celebrations of the completion of the UNMIL Mandate. Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran – UNMIL

“…Liberian President George Manneh Weah, like his predecessor former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has failed to show any sign of interest in the administration of justice for the victims of the Liberian conflict,” the group charged.

The IJG held that, ” under international justice, President Weah’s clear refusal poses a serious consequences for Liberia’s prosperity in many ways. From international sanctions to other activities such as travel ban of officials and others in government and the country, the pressure will be brought to bear by the International Justice Group as well as the 76 group and others.

In a blog statement issued on last Thursday on its website, the Weah government was put on notice that the IJG, with its networking partners organizations and institutions, will seek accountability, adding, “This is not a difficult thing for President Weah.”

No one has faced prosecution in Liberia for serious human rights violations, or war and economic crimes perpetrated by major actors since the submission of the TRC Final Report to government in 2009. Liberia was wracked by back to back war starting in 1979 in which nearly and estimated 250,000 people were killed and about 1 million others were internally and externally displaced by roving bands of rebels. The conflict spilled over into neighboring Sierra Leone where rebels reportedly hacked off limbs of victims and killed thousands others.

In a statement recently attributed to President Weah at a meeting with members of the opposition, he defended his government’s position of not going after endemic government corruption or the prosecution of war crimes because he said all Liberians are inter-related some how.

The statement has drawn fierce criticisms from some Liberians who are mounting pressure for the establishment of a war crimes tribunal. President Weah is expected to visit the UN General Assembly in New York on September 26 where diaspora Liberians are planning a peaceful protest against his presence and urge him to fully implement the country’s TRC Report including the setting up of a war crimes court.

“… Besides, the reason every notable institution and groups are calling for investigations into crimes that were committed during the Liberian war is not necessarily to punish those bear the greatest responsibility as some may seem to think. It is also intended to exonerate individuals and groups that have been maligned for acts they may have not committed as well as hold responsible those who committed certain heinous acts and yet feel justified…: the IJG noted.

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine

 

 

Liberia: President Weah Honors Former Coach With Country’s Highest Honor

Monrovia, 24 Aug 2018: Liberian President George Weah’s former coach Arsene Wenger and three Liberian sports icons have been decorated with the country’s highest honor – the Humane

Order of the Star of African Redemption with various grades.

 

President George M. Weah and His Former Coach Arsene Wenger

 

Our Monrovia correspondent reports that Coach Wenger received Knight Grand Commander while Togo’s coach

Claude LeRoy was given Knight Commander.

 

Former Lone Star coach Alhaji Frank Jericho Nagbe, former national coah

Vava George and basketball icon and administrator, Ms B. Wilson, all

were decorated with the grade of Commander in the Star of Africa.

 

Coach Wenger Visiting President George Weah

 

The west African nation of Ghana Earlier, was decorated with the Knight Grand Band in the Humane Order of African redemption for it’s contributions to peace and development in Liberia.

 

In a very brief remark , President Weah urged all Liberians “to use this day to focus more on those things that unite us rather than those that divide us.”

 

By Tepitapia Sannah in Monrovia

West African Journal