Capitol Hill, Monrovia, Liberia – June 20, 2019: A lawmaker from the sub political division of Grand Gedeh County in southeastern Liberia G. Alphonso Gaye is challenging the country’s Ministry of Justice on what he believes is a wrongful procedure being used to indict former and current government officials implicated in prior audit reports.
Senator S. Alphonso Gaye
This week, authorities of the Justice Ministry released past audit reports to the public saying, the Ministry reserved the right to invite anyone of interest that is named in the reports.
The action by the Liberian Justice Ministry comes barely three weeks after President George Weah declared that his government will audit past government transactions.
The Weah Administration is facing pressure to address several financial scandals.
But Senator Gaye, in an apparent reaction to the Ministry on Thursday, June 20, 2019 wrote the Senate Pro Tempore, Albert T. Chie informing him of the ‘wrongful’ procedures being applied by the Justice Ministry to indict individuals named in the General Auditing Commission (GAC) audit reports.
“My attention is drawn to media reports naming former and/or current officials of government that are either indicted or to be indicted by the Ministry of Justice based on GAC reports that they may have in their possession. This is wrong and it should be halted immediately”, Senator Gaye’s letter is quoted as telling the Senate leader.
Letter From Senator Gaye
According to him, while he applauds the Ministry of Justice for performing its duties and responsibilities in keeping with statute, such action should be done in the framework of the law and established procedures.
Therefore, he said, “…the Ministry should not be in the business of looking for cases to prosecute, rather it should wait for cases forwarded to it for prosecution.“
The Senator, in his letter reminded his colleagues that the General Auditing Commission (GAC) is obligated by law to report to the National Legislature upon the completion of audits.
“After GAC completes an audit, the report is submitted to the National Legislature who in return mandates the Public Accounts, Audit and Expenditure Committee for scrutiny through a public hearing conducted by the Joint Public Account Committee (PAC)”, he further stressed.
Liberia Minister of Justice Cllr Frank Musa Dean
Senator Gaye said, “it is upon completion of the scrutiny and validation by the Committee that validated repot is submitted to the Plenary of both Houses for endorsement.
After the endorsement by both Houses of the Plenary, Senator Gaye divulge that the endorsed report is then submitted to the President who now forwards same to the Ministry of Justice for action based on the findings and conclusion contained in the validated report.“
Against this backdrop, the Grand Gedeh Senator concluded that GAC report that is not validated by the Legislature and cannot be used as an instrument to indict anyone, be it former or current government officials.
Former Information Minister Lewis G. Brown
Former Deputy Finance Minister James Kollie Jr.
Meantime, a former Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning James Kollie Jr and a former Minister of Information and UN Ambassador Lewis G. Brown are also challenging the inclusion of their names in the GAC Reports saying they were not contacted during the mentioned audits.
Reporting By Paul Kanneh in Monrovia
West African Journal Magazine