Liberian Student Activist Martin K.N. Kollie Writes Opposition Bloc

Monrovia, Liberia-July 3, 2019:

Dear Political Leaders: 

With optimism for a new era of an egalitarian Republic and in pressing pursuit of a fresh beginning which offers genuine hope for millions of peasants who remain very vulnerable to peril and despair, I bring you patriotic greetings during such a difficult time as this when our nation is fast descending into an abyss of economic paralysis, creeping dictatorship and mass looting of public resources. 

Leaders of Liberia’s Opposition Bloc (l-r) Cllr Walter Brumskine (LP), Alexander B. Cummings Jr (ANC), Joseph Boakai (UP), Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence (LP) and Benoni Urey (ALP)

The future seems scaring and cloudy under footballing President George M. Weah as a result of massive leadership bankruptcy and increasing hardship. Vision is lacking – no concrete agenda – no realistic strategy – and an unquenched greed to amass illicit wealth are new normal under this ruling CDC clique. The “Change for Hope” mantra is yet to offer any real hope firmly built upon those cherisheddemocratic values of justice, equality, civil liberty and prosperity for all. 

Such failed slogan especially under a domineering presidency is a reflection of a PROMISE BETRAYED. Liberians are left alone in a state of obscurity and beggary after 16 months of participating in a historic democratic transition. The CHOICE made in 2017 has proven futile so far. Such barren decision has made them even more vulnerable, miserable and hopeless. 

Amidst these harsh realities virulently crushing Liberia and Liberians, there are two (2) fundamental questions to ponder over: 

1. Do Liberians still have hope? If yes, where can they turn for relief/reprieve? 
2. Can 2019 Montserrado Senatorial and Representative By-elections offer any real hope or change for Liberians especially ahead of 2020 and 2023? 

Of course, all is not lost – there is still hope far beyond prevailing odds. The Republic can be rescued from this national tragedy or nightmare only if revered patriots begin to unite in words and deeds. This rescue mission MUST begin with these 2019 senatorial and representative elections in Montserrado County – The hotbed or powerhouse of politics in Liberia. 2019 is a defining moment. In fact, it is a litmus test for 2020 and 2023. 

Beyond this end, I thought to pen this open letter to you as key opposition leaders in Liberia who command huge following and influence/affluence in our body politics.  This is a form of caution and a call to action. The nation needs you most to rekindle a unifying spirit of solidarity during these challenging times especially in these impending 2019 senatorial and representative elections. 

It is not enough to channel such deep sense of resilience, patriotism and urge for CHANGE through audio and video recordings. Though endorsed as senatorial and representative candidates by UP, LP, ANC and ALP, but it appears like candidate Abraham Darius Dillion and candidate Telia Urey are left alone to woo voters and canvass for opposition victory in vote-rich Montserrado, which in my opinion seems unpredictable and unfair.  

Ruling CDC Logo

Like Weah as president of Liberia and political leader of CDC is frantically campaigning almost everywhere for candidate Paulita Wie and candidate Abu Kamara, how I hope Boakai, Brumskine, Cummings and Urey as prominent figures of The Opposition could go all out to campaign for Dillon and Telia. This could seal THE DEAL and send a resounding caveat to President Weah and CDC ahead of 2020 and 2023. Lest you forget that vote-rich Montserrado holds the key to the presidency, and any elected seat won in Montserrado is a plus or political boost. 

These elections are about Weah as President/CDC/NPP/LPDP and MDR on one hand versus UP, LP, ANC and ALP on another. These elections are not about Dillion and Telia. Mr. Weah is taking these elections very personal evident by his outburst against the opposition during his party’s campaign rally on June 22, 2019. It was good to have endorsed Dillion and Telia but it would be far better to roll up your sleeves and begin to canvass for them in trenches and hamlets. A lot of your supporters who are eligible voters would be far more inspired to vote for Dillon and Telia just by seeing you (Boakai, Brumskine, Cummings and Urey). 

Opposition Candidates In Bye Elections Abraham Darius Dillon and Telia Urey

This is why ‘physical presence’ counts more than audio and video recordings in a process such as this. 

If Weah along with collaborating parties wins (Worst-case Scenario): 

1. The opposition (UP, LP, ANC and ALP) would be rendered ‘impotent and weak’
2. Weah would have his way and even break more laws andamass more wealth (domineering presidency)
3. Weah’s claim of having exclusive ownership of Montserrado would be justified/proven
4. It would appear like Weah is doing well. This could validate his performance rating
5. It would place CDC in a better and stronger position for 2020 senatorial elections and 2023 presidential elections.

If Opposition Collaborating Parties (UP, LP, ANC and ALP) claim victory:

1. This will send a clarion message against misrule and bad governance (especially corruption, dictatorship, and increasing hardship) under ex-Soccer Star George Weah and CDC
2. It would render CDC as a ‘frail and unpopular’ ruling clique in vote-rich Montserrado after a period of just 16 months
3. Weah’s popularity in his ‘political stronghold’ would be deflated/diminished. This would further disprove Weah’s wild claim of having absolute control/ownership of Montserrado
4. It will strengthen opposition parties and solidarity forces to unite even more ahead of 2020 and 2023 elections in order to SAVE Liberia
5. The people’s hope and aspiration for a new future would be reawakened through an alternative and opposition victory. 

Boakai, Brumskine, Cummings and Urey, I admonish you as key opposition political leaders to consider “The Montserrado Factor” as an indispensable political capital you could leech and/or lane on for future elections. With just 5 more days to these upcoming by-elections, I encourage all ofyou to leave your comfort zones and move across Montserrado to canvass for your candidates (Dillon and Telia). Yet another opportunity has been made available for you to resist Weah’s overly ambitious plan of consolidatingexcessive power ahead of 2023. You must prevent this moribund semblance of fascism and authoritarianism. 

Ruling CDC candidates Abu Kamara and Paulita Wie

You have all it takes to WIN in 2023 as opposition collaborating parties (UP, LP, ANC and ALP). But such victory begins now in 2019 and beyond! Yes, you can win Weah and his Coalition of Desperate Crooks (CDC, NPP, LPDP and MDR). Let me dig out some NUMBERS quickly: 

2017 Elections: 

1. Weah and his Coalition:
a. CDC, NPP, and LPDP – 596,037 votes (38.4%)
b. MDR – 127,666 votes (8.2%)
c. Total – 723,703 votes (46.5%)

 

2. Opposition Collaborating Parties:
a. UP – 446,716 (28.8%)
b. LP – 149,495 (9.6%)
c. ANC – 112,067 (7.2%)
d. ALP – 24,246 (1.6%)
e. Total – 732,524 (47.2%) 

So this means that the four (4) opposition collaborating parties stand a better chance to win in 2023 if they remain on this plinth of unhindered unity, honesty and loyalty. But victory in 2023 is largely dependent on 2020 and 2019 elections. This is why all four political leaders MUST consider these senatorial and representative by-elections very crucial. Getting fully involved with this process could even avert or discourage any form of electoral fraud/malfeasance (November 2018 Sinoe County Senatorial By-election is a case to reference and a lesson learned). 

Out of two (2) senatorial seats in Montserrado, CDC is already occupying one. You must not allow CDC to win this other seat. Even the late Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff who later became a prominent political figure in the oppositionbloc and vigorously campaigned against CDC in 2017 won’t be happy if this happens. The Late Senator didn’t campaign or canvass through audio and video recordings. She wore her boots and moved into the trenches. Amidst a declining economy coupled with high unemployment, inflation,corruption, rape and mysterious deaths, this could be an easy victory for opposition political parties. Such victory is only possible if your physical presence (full involvement both in words and deeds) is with Dillon and Telia. The people are looking up to you for guidance and direction. 

Using White-collar approach (speaking to voters through audio and video recordings) in order to woo voters may yield less impact. Had these voters and stalwarts of your parties used similar approach in 2017, you wouldn’t had accumulated thousands of votes. If they do in 2023presidential election, your support-base would dwindle. The nation is in dire need of transformation and visionaryleadership. Paulita and Abu are far from possessing such quality or trait. But they could be imposed through whatever means if you keep a distance from this crucial process. 

The country is in a state of trance (subconscious state) and its image is being ruined. The democratic gains made so farare fast diminishing while corruption is being institutionalized under Mr. Weah and his cabal of kleptocrats. No foreign appointment or interest is greater than Liberia’s interest right now. Acting too busy to campaign and abandoning this 2019 senatorial and representative elections could cause you a lot. So far, I have only seen ALP Political Leader Benoni Urey in mass rallies campaigning and directly interacting with voters. All of you must muster this courage to do same if an opposition victory is to be secured in 2019, 2020 and 2023. You cannot be too busy or overly tight with personal matters during these very critical times. 

Remember, any form of defeat for Dillion and Telia is a defeat for you (Boakai, Brumskine, Cummings and Urey). And this could likely spill over or become a big blow in future elections. It now appears in some quarters that if it is not about you, it can’t be about anyone, which I still do not want to believe. Therefore, I caution you to disprove this public notion and move into action with urgency for an opposition victory in these elections. Stand up and act now for our nation needs you more than ever before. You cannot spectate or play a laissez-faire role during these very criticaltimes. Doing so would certainly make Weah overly powerful and ambitious to further ruin our Republic. 

Out of love for Country, this is a caution and a call to action from a young patriot. 

Yours in pursuit of a New Liberia, 

Martin K. N. Kollie 

Youth and Student Activist 

 

Cc: Mr. Wilmot Paye, Chairman, Unity Party (UP)

Sen. Steve Zargo, Chairman, Liberty Party (LP)

 Sen. Daniel Naatehn, Chairman, Alternational National Congress (ANC)

 Mr. J. S. Theodore Momo, Jr., Chairman, All Liberian Party (ALP)

Candidate Abraham Darius Dillon and Candidate Telia Urey 

West African Journal Magazine

 

Former TRC Head And IJG Executive Director Cllr Jerome Verdier Calls For Implementation of TRC Report

Washington DC – April 12, 2019: The Executive Director of The International Justice Group (IJG) and Chairman of the erstwhile Liberia’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Liberia (TRC) says he is delighted and is lauding the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) and the Transitional Justice Working g Group (TJWG) for recognizing the need for entrenching Justice into the country’s body polity.

Executive Director of IJG and Former TRC Head Counselor Jerome Verdier
Executive Director of IJG and Former TRC Head Counselor Jerome Verdier

He is also welcoming their courageous calls for the full implementation of all the recommendations of the TRC, including the establishment of an Extraordinary Economic and War Crimes Tribunal for Liberia.

In an statement to West African Journal Magazine on Friday, Cllr Verdier reiterated that the call for the full implementation of all TRC recommendations is in keeping with law and section 46 of The TRC Act when it clearly stated that “The Independent Human Rights Commission shall be seized with the responsibility to ensure that all the recommendations contained in Report of the TRC are implemented and that and that civil society organizations and moral guarantors of The CPA shall be seized of the responsibility to monitor,  and campaign for the scrupulous implementation of all recommendations  contained in the report”.

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

And Section 48 which also provides that “The Head of State shall report to the National Legislature within three (3) months of receipt of the report of the TRC, and on a quarterly basis thereafter, as to the implementation of the Commission’s Recommendations. All recommendations shall be implemented. Where the implementation of any recommendations has not been complied with, the Legislature shall require the Head of State to show cause for such non-compliance.”

Chairman Verdier charged that both the Liberian National Legislature and the Liberia President George M. Weah are in open violation of the laws of Liberia and the Rule of Law principle which places the law far above individuals and institutions created by law. The former TRC Chairman said maintaining the Rule of Law is important for maintaining a stable and more peaceful society and acts as the number one incentive for attracting international trade, commerce and foreign investments to the Country.

Liberia TRC
Liberia TRC

“That the Liberia Chief Executive, President Weah, to be in open violation of the law without any plausible excuse or justification is a non-starter especially for a new Government,” Cllr Verdier said, adding that “the President and his CDC- controlled Legislature are undermining the viability of the State and setting very wrong precedence for security, stability and peace of the State because soon the citizens will realize that if these important institutions of State are lawless and disrespectful of the laws then they too as citizens have the right to refuse to obey the laws of the land, pointing to chaos, a breakdown of law and order and the eventual unraveling of our fledgling democratic process.”

The Executive Director of the IJG Cllr Verdier, in his statement, noted Liberia should recognize, as the international community has long since recognized, that the rule of law above all men is imperative because it stabilizes our environment and societies.

“It is very Central to maintaining our modern global social, political and economic order the pursuit of which we all must submit to the rule of law whether it pleases us or not or runs contrary to our intrinsic interest, he maintained,” he said

The learned international human rights advocate and outspoken campaigner for social justice and peace said that “the Rule of Law is our best hope for peace, equity, justice and a civilized society in which the rights of the people are protected and at all times guaranteed.”

Members of the Legislature
Cross Section of Liberia National Legislature

According to him, “President George Weah and the National Legislature are failing and disappointing the Liberian people too early on in their leadership and ignoring the Rule of Law. It is to their own peril because when they stand in need of the law most, the law will fail them, having undermined the law and our institutions of law.”

Verdier emphasized that the full implementation of all the recommendations of Liberia’s TRC Final Report, including the establishment of an Extraordinary Criminal Tribunal for Liberia is “sine qua non” to the attainment of sustainable national peace, national  unity, national security and national reconciliation in in a non-threatening society that offers equal opportunity to all.

“President Weah must not disappoint the Liberian people. Too many hopes were hinged to his ascendency. He must take the moral high ground in service to state and abandon petty parochial interests, recognize that he took an oath and made a sworn declaration to put Liberia first, hold Paramount national interest and uphold sacrosanct the Constitution and Laws of the Republic; otherwise, he will be an ordinary and failed leader and admiration by the people will soon diminish and will leave office soon forgotten as a son of the soil and a “man of the people” without a legacy and a champion “without a cause”, Cllr Verdier in his statement said.

Meanwhile, the IJG Executive Director has condemned the recent removal of Supreme Court Justice Kabineh Ja’neh, describing it as a “shameful cowardly act orchestrated by a band of political malcontents without any well-founded basis in law or the Constitution by an overly ambitious Executive branch aspiring to become a dictatorship, a rueful House of Representatives, an ignorant Senate and a highly compromised Chief Justice in a Kangaroo forum that flagrantly violated the Constitution of Liberia, which they neither understand nor appreciate; thus bringing shame and disgrace to our beloved patrimony.”

Chief Justice Francis Korkpor
Chief Justice Francis Korkpor

Cllr Verdier, a veteran and successful senior Liberian lawyer and member of The Honorable Supreme Court Bar, went on to say of all the reasons in law and the Constitution that the co-conspirators could use to effect their cowardly and unpatriotic act, they chose to woefully, shamefully and disgracefully violate the Constitution when in Article 73, the Constitution provides that “NO JUDICIAL OFFICIAL SHALL BE SUMMONED, ARRESTED, DETAINED, PROSECUTED OR TRIED CIVILLY, OR CRIMINALLY, BY OR BY THE INSTANCE OF ANY PERSON OR AUTHORITY ON ACCOUNT OF JUDICIAL OPINIONS RENDERED OR EXPRESSED, JUDICIAL STATEMENTS MADE  AND JUDICIAL ACTS DONE IN THE COURSE OF A TRIAL IN OPEN COURT  OR IN CHAMBERS, EXCEPT FOR TREASON OR OTHER FELONIES, MISDEMEANOR, OR BREACH OF THE PEACE. STATEMENTS MADE AND ACTS DONE BY SUCH OFFICIALS IN THE COURSE OF JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS SHALL BE PRIVILEGED, AND SUBJECT TO THE ABOVE QUALIFICATION, NO SUCH STATEMENTS MADE OR ACTS DONE SHALL BE ADMISIBLE INTO EVIDENCE AGAINST THEM AT ANY TRIAL OR PROCEEDINGS”

In his view, Cllr Verdier held that Justice Ja’neh was under-represented, and his lawyers should be subject to disciplinary hearings and punished or sanctioned, while those lawyers for the prosecution must be disbarred and the Chief Justice deserves to be removed or similarly impeached or made to resign.

Associate Justice Kabineh Jan'eh
Associate Justice Kabineh Jan’eh

Since the case is not over yet, the international lawyer, former TRC head and Executive Director of the IJG called on the Liberian Senate to NOT move to confirm removal of The Honorable Justice Ja’neh until the full bench of the Supreme Court of Liberia disposes of the matter by appeal.

“Advocates or lawyers for Justice Ja’neh must perfect an appeal to the full bench of the Honorable Supreme Court. In which case, the Compromised Chief Justice will be compelled  to recuse himself and the remaining Justices will decide the appeal,” Verdier concluded in his statement.

West African Journal Magazine

 

Arcelor Mittal Bats Down Claim of 1000 Job Creation In Liberia

Monrovia, Liberia – April, 12, 2019: The international iron ore conglomerate Arcelor Mittal, which is operating in Liberia, has denied that it is creating 1,000 new jobs in the sub-political divisions of Nimba and Grand Bassa Counties.

Assistant Information Minister David B. Kolleh

The claim was pushed on social media a few days ago by an Assistant Minister for Technical Services at the Ministry of Information in the Congress For Democratic Change(CDC) led- Government David B. Kolleh and a Deputy Director General for Rural Services at the state run national broadcaster – a ruling party operative Boimah J.V. Boimah whose profile identified himself in January , 2018 as a  CDC Chief of Social Media & Communications Strategies.

Deputy LBS Director General Boima J. V. Boima

The social media post listed the job creation as part of Government’s achievements for the people of Liberia. Mr. Kolleh was appointed in February, 2018 shortly after the inauguration of President George M. Weah.

West African Journal Magazine conducted a scan of various social media sites and found the claim on Facebook which credited Mr. Kolleh. He has been promoting the  Weah Administration on various social media platforms. Kolleh joined Twitter in July, 2011.  His last post was on September 9, 2018 in which he was promoting the Government run New Liberian newspaper which featured articles on the Liberian President.

In response to an inquiry into the job creation claim by Assistant Minister Kolleh, a media representative of Arcelor Mittal told the West African Journal Magazine ion Thursday in an email that, “This information is untrue. Arcelor Mittal Liberia has not opened new employments. We will continue operating as normal.”

This is the most recent account of Government operatives attempting to lie about actual events in the country. In March, an aide to President Weah Sekou Damaro Kalasco was caught red-handed posting a fraudulent photo  to show Government of Liberia road construction development in Lofa County, northeastern Liberia.

The photo was stolen from an African Development Bank (ADB) project in Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. Mr. Kalasco later apologized for the mistake.

Liberian Presidential Aide Sekou Damaro Kalasco

In another social media post discovered from February, 2017, one Alieu A. Swaray challenged a prior post by Kalasco in which he erroneously charged that the annual budget of former Liberian Vice President Joseph Boakai was more than that of the U.S. President.

The claim by Kalasco was untrue.

Social Media Posts from Feb. 2017

The Government is under pressure to produce tangible results to change the current dire economic situation and operatives have been trying to paint a positive outlook of Government to citizens; sometimes by embellishment or non-factual information.

By Our Correspondent In Monrovia

West African Journal Magazine

Government of Liberia Failing To Support Fight Against Corruption, LACC Says

Monrovia, Liberia – February 18, 2019: The fight against public corruption in the West African country of Liberia appears to be a losing exercise in addition to lackluster support from the George M. Weah Administration. 

Liberian President George M. Weah – File Photo
Since it’s inauguration over a year ago,  no public official has been prosecuted nor convicted of graft by the Administration.  The Liberian Government’s pronouncement of fighting corruption in public service has not been matched with concrete support and funding. 
Embarrassing National financial scandals including the alleged “missing 16 billion dollars” from the Central  Bank of Liberia (CBL) and the bribery and extortion saga at the National Housing Authority (NHA) involving the former head take top manifestations of pervasive graft which are yet to be checkmated by government. 
Transparency International (TI) defines corruption as, “…the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It can be classified as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs.”
In spite of his call to his own underlings to comply with law and declare their personal assets, President Weah has yet to hold his officials accountable for their failure to do so.  Citizens of the poor West African country are yet to receive confirmation of public officials complying with the law.

LACC James Verdier

According to the country’s Anti Corruption Agency (LACC), “The government of Liberia printed into handbill on June 20, 2014, “An Act of Legislature Prescribing a National Code of Conduct for All Public Officials and Employees of the Government of The Republic of Liberia” in line with the 1986 constitutional requirement to curb certain vices which are inimical to the economic and social wellbeing of our common patrimony. Specifically, Article 90 a) & b) of the Constitution highlight those vices while article 90 c) quoted below echoes the antidote to eradicating them: Article 90 c) “The Legislature shall, in pursuance of the above provision, prescribe a Code of Conduct for all public officials and employees, stipulating the acts which constitutes conflict of interest or are against public policy, and the penalties for violation thereof.”  The legislation of a national code of conduct after twenty-eight years, since the coming into force of the Liberian constitution, finally created a legal framework through which the conducts of public officials could be monitored, examined and punished in relation to the use and management of public resources. In Part 10, of the Code of Conduct, it is required that every Public Official and Employee of government involved in making decisions affecting contracting, tendering or procurement, and issuance of licenses of various types sign performance or financial bonds and in addition declare his or her income, assets and liabilities prior to taking office and thereafter:

  1. At the end of every three years;
  2. On promotion or progression from one level to another;
  3. Upon transfer to another public office; and
  4. Upon retirement resignation.”
President Weah’s own asset declaration was held behind closed doors and sealed after; a clear failure to be a transparent example. Public officials have openly ignored the asset declaration law and the President. 
“Corruption corrodes the fabric of society. It undermines people’s trust in political and economic systems, institutions and leaders. It can cost people their freedom, health, money – and sometimes their lives,” TI says of the cost of corruption. 
The LACC’s Investigations of alleged acts of corruption  by public officials or recommendations to the Justice Ministry are oftentimes never started, aborted and abandoned; and where cases are prosecuted, lost in court. 
Recently, the head of Liberia’s anti graft agency James Verdier, in an interview with a Radio France International, and in a rather bold move, accused the Weah Administration of “undermining ” the fight against corruption. 
“ The experience we’ve had in the first half is a bit terrible because we’ve not had funding. We have actually struggled to actually have this Administration put its stamp behind the stamp of corruption and make some bold statements regarding transparency, accountability and ensuring that we can fight corruption.”
In less than a year and while there has been no public disclosure of his assets, President Weah is facing scrutiny and questions over his massive construction of houses in a poor country. 
The country which emerged in 2005 from back-to-back wars in the 1990s is struggling to attract and retain critically needed foreign investors and resources to jumpstart the flailing economy. 
 In 1980, a violent coup d’etat carried out by non-commissioned soldiers was sold as a radical solution to address “rampant” corruption. The civilian President William R. Tolbert was murdered by soldiers led by former junta head and former President Samuel K. Doe.
Flag of Liberia
Nine years later, another charge of runaway “corruption” was laid as the basis for a rebel insurgency against the Doe Government. The war which quickly devolved into an ethnic conflagration was prosecuted by former rebel turned former a President Charles G. Taylor who was eventually forced out of power by rebels opposed to his government and pressure from the international community. 
Taylor is a convicted war criminal serving out his fifty year sentence in prison in the UK.  
An estimated 250,000 people lost their lives and nearly 1 million others were displaced internally and externally. 
The NHA extortion scandal is still pending prosecution after the accused posted bond and were released. Unconfirmed reports, however, say the suspects have jumped bail and have either fled the country or cannot be found. 
During his State of the Nation Address to lawmakers and citizens on January 28, 2019, President Weah disclosed that the Investigation Report on the “missing billions” will be released by USAID by the end of February, 2019.
 “If it is established that there has been any willful act of criminality, negligence, or malfeasance by anyone implicated in the reports, the full weight of the law will be brought to bear”, President Weah warned.  
Transparency International
Just prior to the inauguration of the Weah Administration in January, 2018 Transparency International (TI), the global organization leading the fight against corruption, advanced several recommendations to the Congress For Democratic Change (CDC) led government to tackle endemic corruption and included the following:
1. Ensure the independence of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and give it direct prosecutorial power to quickly investigate and prosecute corruption cases.
2. Establish specialised anti-corruption courts for prosecuting corruption without delays.
3. Enact a Corrupt Offences Act to clearly define and provide sanctions for various forms of corruption.
4. Enact a Whistleblower Protection Law to encourage more Liberians to freely report acts of corruption and other integrity-related issues.
5. Require all public officials, including the president, to declare their assets, irrespective of their positions or connections to superiors in government. The government must independently verify and publish these declarations of assets.
5. Review and impartially implement reports and recommendations by integrity institutions in a timely manner, and establish dedicated committees and bodies for investigating fraud and other forms of corruption.
6. Audit the legislature just like any other branch of government or institution that receives public funds. The 52nd and 53rd legislatures in particular should be audited and any recommendations from the audit report fully implemented and
7. Increase financial support to integrity institutions and enable them to properly function.
A year later, the Weah Administration is still delinquent in the adoption and implementation of TI’s recommendations. 
IJG Principal Deputy Executive Director Luigi Spera
Last September, the International Justice Group (IJG) announced that it was putting in place a mechanism to ensure that all those in Liberia accused of war and economic crimes, money laundering etc. will be exposed to the international justice system for tough punitive actions, including asset tracking and confiscation, international arrests, trial, and imprisonment if prosecuted and found guilty.
By Our Economic Editor With Contribution From Our Justice Correspondent In Monrovia
West African Journal Magazine

IJG Says Dispatching Investigators To Liberia To Monitor & Collect Data On Threats To Activists

Washington DC, USA and Monrovia, Liberia- February 11, 2019: The International Justice Group (IJG) says it has dispatched a team of Investigators to Liberia as a result of increased security threats to several civic and human rights organizations and activists.

International Justice Group (IJG)

According to a representative of the IJG, it says it has received credible information through its contacts in the West African country and social media monitor. and is concerned that senior operatives of the ruling party and auxiliaries, some of whom are disguised, are intimidating, issuing threats of death and bodily harm to others who freely express critical views of the Government.

Liberia’s Finance and Planning Minister Samuel Tweah last year lashed out at the media over its reportage against the Government and openly threatened to “weaponize” supporters against the media.

Ruling CDC Party Mulbah Morlu

Two weeks ago, the Chairman of the ruling Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) Mulbah Morlu, at a hastily arranged partisans meeting at his party’s headquarters in Monrovia, accused the opposition bloc and supporters of supporting the assassination of President George M. Weah.

“There are a few supporters of the three political parties, that we’ve documented, that post on social media calling in people to take up arms against the President. And one of them came out to say that the President should be assassinated…” Morlu quoting social media charged.

He, however, presented no evidence to substantiate his accusation that the posters were opposition supporters.

Dolakeh Jonathan Saye Taryor

A member of the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) Dolakeh Jonathan Saye Taryor, in a strong reaction to Morlu’s accusations, called them “reckless and irresponsible” and an attempt to instill fear among citizens.

He told the West African Journal Magazine, in a telephone interview on Sunday night, that the ANC and coalition of opposition political parties are committed to maintaining the peace in Liberia.

Mr. Taryor scoffed at Morlu’s “assassination” accusation, adding that, “…the assassination of President Weah, will not, in anyway, install the opposition in power..”, and called Morlu’s Statement simply false.

Coalition of Opposition Political Parties – Liberia

The opposition member challenged the credibility of the current CDC Chairman Morlu and his “ridiculous” claim a couple of years ago that, he, Morlu, met former US President Barack Obama at a summit in Ghana where he claimed, they both held “high level talks”.

There is no proof of this Obama meeting that Morlu claimed.

Taryor said the CDC Chairman was attempting to deflect from the prevailing issues of the missing “16 billion” Liberian dollars scandal, proof of the provision of 78,000 chairs to schools, as claimed by President Weah in his State of The Union Address on January 28, 2019, the deteriorating economy under the CDC-led government and other missteps.

The opposition member called for a state investigation of the CDC Chairman over the “incendiary” accusations, which, he said, have the potential to cause chaos and endanger the lives of opposition leaders and supporters.

“IJG is saying its Investigators will be fully stationed in Liberia indefinitely to monitor Human Rights Violations and has recommended several Liberians to the US and European governments for travel restrictions.”

The global research and rights organization says the IJG is currently lobbying in Washington DC, the United States Senate for full Congressional passage of House of Representatives Resolution (H.Res) 1055 which calls for the full implementation of the Final Report of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the establishment of a Special tribunal for Liberia.

Seal of the US House of Representatives

The Resolution which was introduced September, 2018, and agreed to by the House of Representatives last November, “…Supports efforts by the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development to advance Liberian national reconciliation…”

Map of Liberia

According to the group, it says it is collecting data on alleged crimes being committed under the current Liberian Administration and will advocate for accountability for all economic and rights abuses.

By Our Justice Reporter In Washington DC, USA and National Politics Correspondent In Monrovia

West African Journal Magazine

Liberia: “Missing Billions” Report In; Govt Allegedly Planning Against Opposition, Media

Monrovia, Liberia January 15, 2018: The Task Force constituted to investigate the missing $16 billion dollars in the West African country of Liberia has reportedly presented its findings to President George M. Weah in the capital Monrovia, according to an unimpeachable source.

Political Map of Liberia
Political Map of Liberia

The forensic report is expected to confirm that the printed Liberia dollars did come into the country and that over $2 billion Liberia dollars (LD) are actually unaccounted for and may be part of monies which came into the country after the inauguration of the Congress For Democratic Change (CDC) led government in January, 2018.

Shortly following disclosure of the “missing billion” scandal by an independent Liberian investigative journalist Philibert Browne of the local Hot Pepper newspaper last year, the Weah Administration instituted a task force to investigate the matter. The U.S. Government through USAID seconded forensic auditors to assist with the investigation.

Last September, shortly before departure to address the UN General Assembly in New York, President Weah addressed citizens on the “missing billions”.

“I asked all citizens to be patient and those involved in the investigation to be corporative. I am confident that in the end, we will come to a logical conclusion into the circumstances surrounding this money and if anyone is caught in any financial malfeasance they will be held accountable to the full extent. I can assure you, my fellow Liberians, proper accountability of the money in question is vital to my government’s ability to improve your lives. As we accelerate our investigation to which I have invited international partners to join in advising us to ensure transparency. Let’s us remain calm and have faith in the process. I believe that the mandate I received from you is a mandate to end corruption in public service and I remain fully committed to this task. I promise to deliver on this mandate and I will not let you down, the President said at the time.”

It can be recalled that on Monday September 17, 2018, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) in Monrovia issued a press statement in which it officially confirmed that an investigation of the matter was underway by multi-sector government agencies including the Liberia National Police, the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) .

liberia justice minister counselor frank musa dean
Liberia Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean

“…Initial findings indicate that the containers and bags of money allegedly arrived between November, 2017, prior to the inauguration of the current Government and on August, 2018. Evidence available to the investigative team has established that the current administration was not informed about the containers and bags of money and bags of money into the country…” the Justice Ministry press statement said at the time.

Information Minister Eugene L. Nagbe around the same time and at the height of the scandal disclosure said, “We can confirm that the money was brought through the Freeport of Monrovia and the Roberts International Airport and for now we can confirm that the amount was L$16 billion. An estimate of a little over US$60 million as far as we are concerned from ongoing investigation as of today, and it came in the two ports of entry,”

But the country’s Finance and Planning Minister Samuel Tweah quickly dismissed the Information Minister’s statement in a radio interview on Thursday, September 20, saying, the  “missing billions” had been infused into the Liberian economy.

Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf  later dismissed any responsibility for the scandal saying it was a ploy to impugn her reputation.

liberian protesters - file photo
“Missing Billions” Protesters In Liberia

Our source in the Executive Mansion who is familiar with the report but not authorized to discuss it due to its sensitivity, told the West African Journal Magazine Tuesday that $1 billion LD is also unaccounted for from the  about $5 billion LD printed by the former Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Administration. About $10 million LD of $15 million LD which were allegedly infused to stabilize the Liberian economy is reported to be unaccounted for – no record, the source said, adding that the plan is to water down the report before release to say that “although the money is not accounted  it is not missing”.

Government spokespersons and controlled media have been instructed to push the narrative that “no money is missing”.

Opposition and Media

Allegedly, part of the Weah Administration plan to blunt the fall-out from the damaging report is a massive public relations onslaught to “kill public anger”, the source said. Protesters in September, outraged by the alleged “missing billions”, staged a peaceful march to demand accountability and return of the money.

free press
Free [Press In Liberia
Manifestation of the alleged plan also include discussions among CDC strategists and government functionaries to target vocal talk shows and hosts and to have critical content controlled through new restrictive media regulations, the co-opting of some “Government friendly” media personnel and financial strangulation of others, the source disclosed, adding that, “some businesses and government agencies are being called in and threatened and instructed to re-channel business to more government-friendly media houses. Some critical talk show hosts will be taken off air”.

A Liberia media executive and publisher of the of the independent Inquirer Newspaper Mr. Phillip Wesseh disclosed over the weekend that there was an attempt to “destroy” his paper with the sudden exit of about five employees who are planning to launch the “Independent Inquirer” newspaper. Accusing fingers have been pointed at the Government in the scheme to financially destroy the paper which was launched in October, 1990 during the height of the country’s civil war.

Wesseh has told the independent Daily Observer newspaper that the Inquirer will continue publication and is not worried about the exodus of some employees.

But publishers of the new Independent Inquirer newspaper have rejected claims that they were being used by the government operative to sabotage their former paper.

“Very harsh language and vocal language will be used including intimidation, family pressure and inducements against opposition operatives, if necessary, ” the source disclosed, saying that the aim is to harm their reputation and demoralize their partisans.

rep acarous gray and deputy minister samorra wolokollie
Rep Acarous Gray and Deputy Minister Samora Wolokollie

Over the weekend, a senior government official and Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) Samora Wolokollie and long-time CDC operative and Montserrado Electoral District #8 Representative Moses Acarous Gray  verbally attacked the  opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) leader Alexander Cummings, calling him a “bare-faced” liar”.

The two officials of the CDC government who appeared on the state-runned national broadcaster took issue with stinging criticisms leveled at President George M. Weah by Cummings who warned in an interview recently that “looting and stealing” in the Government has got to stop. Cummings’ statement drew favorable reviews from several quarters in and out of Liberia including social media.

The source alleged that government surrogates Ansu Konneh and Boikai Fofanna are the lead persons designated to “control the discourse on social media” in favor of the CDC led government.

West African Journal Magazine attempted but was unsuccessful in obtaining a response from the state house the Executive Mansion in Monrovia since no one was authorized to discuss the matter.

Liberians are anxiously awaiting the release of the contents of the report. There is no indication of a release date by the Government.

By Staff Reporter and Correspondents in Monrovia

West African Journal Magazine

 

Aggrieved Ruling Party Members Demand Jobs in Liberia

Ruling CDC Liberia

 

Monrovia, 28 Aug 2018:  As pervasive economic hardship bites  in Liberia, President George Weah was Saturday shocked by scores of aggrieved zealots of his ruling coalition for Democratic change, CDC,  protesting at their party headquarters in demand for jobs.

  

Unsuspecting President Weah had arrived at his party headquarters to receive several defectors from opposition parties crossing over to the CDC; something fast becoming the newfound greener pasture here.

 

Former ruling Unity Party (UP) lawmaker  Richmond Anderson was Saturday amongst several persons nowadays streaming to join the ruling CDC.

 

Already, many southerners including Representatives Jay Nagbe Sloh and Johnathan Fornati Koffa, who won legislative seats on the former ruling UP and Liberty Party tickets have since crossed carpet to the CDC. Sinoe county Rep. Sloh says he is on a mission to woo 20 lawmakers to give CDC a “convincing majority at the Capitol.”

 

Bong county is an exception having a single CDC  representative in its 8-member legislative caucus.

 

Placard wielding  CDcians chanting “We want jobs, we want jobs…” We are tired of being marginalized,” had directed their anger party chairman Mulbah Morlu, accused of favoring nonpartisans over CDCians for employment.

 

But President Weah remained acquiescent about the job protests whose authors vowed to continue until their grievances are met.

 

Ruling CDC Party Chairman Mulbah Morlu

 

Our Monrovia correspondent reports that Chairman Mulbah’s drive for only ruling party CDC members to occupy jobs is seriously ruining the Civil Service Agency (CAA) now obliged to employ, according to CDC recommendations, thus swelling the CSA with over 2000 new employees, let alone the Capitol Building

where nepotism and patronage are rampant. 

 

Meanwhile, barely a fortnight before he makes his debut at the UN, president Weah has recalled ambassador Lewis Brown from the UN in New York and replaced him with deputy foreign minister D. Maxwell Kemayen, a neophyte in diplomacy, thus creating speculations for the move.

 

By Tepitapia Sannah in Monrovia

West African Journal