What Happened To ’50 Cases’? Corruption Ball Still In Justice Ministry’s Court


Source: FrontPage Africa

07/18/2010 – FPA EDITORIAL

Monrovia –

THE ANTI-CORRUPTION Commission last week recommended for prosecution to the Ministry of Justice, several former and current officials of the Liberian government for prosecution.

UNDER SCRUTINY
TO DATE, Tah has failed to deliver on her promise at confirmation hearing that she would fight to uphold the law and prosecute the corrupt. This was evident in the case against former Information Minister Lawrence Bropleh during which Tah failed to press forward because of a family connection to the former Minister. And as early as January 2010, the minister publicly declared that several current officials in government would be indicted for corruption. Five months later, it appears the minister’s declaration was hot air.

AMONG THOSE recommended were the former Inspector General of Police, Beatrice Munah Sieh-Brown, Prince O.A. Akinremi, Proprietor of the Ultimate Investment & Holdings Company, and Harris Manneh Dunn, Former Deputy Commissioner for Administration, LNP.

THE LACC ALSO recommended that Madam Kaymah N. Zeon and Mr. Nebo Garlo, Physical Auditors of the Ministry of Finance be charged and prosecuted for the Crime of Economic Sabotage under Section 15 Subchapter F, Section 15.80(d) of the New Penal Law for making and signing fraudulent entries in the book of records of the Ministry of Finance thru their physical audit reports which misrepresented the facts about the delivery of the ERU uniforms and accessories by the proprietor of the Ultimate Investment & Holding Company, Mr. Prince Akinremi.

THE LACC recommended that Sieh, Dunn and Akinremi be formally charged and Prosecuted under Chapter 10 Inchoate Offenses, Section 10.4 Criminal Conspiracy and Chapter 15 Subchapter F of the New Penal Law of Liberia captioned Economic Sabotage, Section 15.80 Fraud on the Internal revenue of Liberia.

THE RECOMMENDATION CALL comes after months of investigation by the LACC into alleged procurement of uniforms and accessories by the Liberian National Police(LNP) for the use of emergency Response Unit(ERU), and Phase II of the missing civil servants salary checks at the Ministry of Finance.

THE LACC recommendations were contained in two separate letters addressed to Justice Minister, Cllr. Christiana Tah on Wednesday, July 14, 2010 and follows several declarations in recent months by the Executive branch that it had turned over cases for prosecution and investigation to the Ministry. To date, not much has been heard about those cases.

IN SEPTEMPBER 2008, Sirleaf told a news conference that the Ministry of Justice was working on 50 corruption cases including some officials in her administration. According to President Sirleaf, the 50 corruption cases have already been investigated by the National Security Agency (NSA) and forwarded to the Ministry of Justice.

AT THE TIME, Sirleaf declared that her government attaches importance to the fight against corruption, and as such, it would prosecute anyone engaged in such act in keeping with the law.

ALMOST TWO YEARS later, not one word has been heard from the Justice Ministry about the 50 cases of corruption. The Ministry has also to date not been able to tackle the reports of the Dunn Commission which the President also submitted for Prosecution and the U.N. assets freeze burden which dogged her predecessors Frances Johnson-Morris and Philip Banks.

AS THE INCUMBENT government embarks on its re-election quest for 2011, it is no secret that the issue of corruption remains an Achilles for the government. How it moves forward with these unsolved cases will determine its ability to convince voters that it has done enough on the issue to warrant reelection.

FOR STARTERS, The Ministry of Justice must take the initiative of making sure that cases before it are fully prosecuted and those found afoul of the law brought to justice and made to pay for their ills against the state.

THE LACC’S recommendation on the police uniforms are glaring. The investigation involving the alleged procurement of uniforms and accessories valued at $US199,800.00 by the LNP for use by the ERU, findings revealed that the Ultimate Investment & Holding Company owned by one Prince O.A. Akinremi which was said to have won the bid to procure the uniforms has no record of Import Permit Declaration(IDP) from the Commerce Ministry for the items nor a pre-shipment record from the Bureau Veritas Group of Company(BIVAC). The investigation further revealed numerous irregularities surrounding the alleged procurement of uniforms, which in fact were never delivered as shown by the findings.

THE LACC is also recommending probe into missing Civil Servants Salary and Checks for the months of July-August 2008: The second phase of the LACC investigation into missing salary checks for Civil Servants for the months July-August 2008 and their subsequent fraudulent encashments by various banking institutions, including the Central Bank of Liberia(CBL), without the coded release agreed upon between the Ministry of Finance and CBL established the identities of the current and former officials of the Ministry of Finance, who played roles in the movement of the checks in question. The LACC has therefore recommended that Mr. James Boker, former Comptroller and Jenkins Yonly, Former Director of Electronics Data Processing Section of the Ministry of Finance be formally charged and prosecuted under Chapter 15 Subchapter 15 F of the New Penal Law of Liberia captioned Economic Sabotage, Section 15.80 Fraud on the internal revenue of Liberia.

THE JUSTICE MINISTRY can no longer afford to hide behind the shadows and fail to implement recommendations of both the President and the LACC. Not forgetting some 20 plus audits of the General Auditing Commission which have not been looked into.

MINISTER TAH, Solicitor General Wilkins Wright and the team at the Ministry of Justice owe it a duty to the Liberian people to begin the process of bring those who sought to steal from the Liberian government to justice.

TO DATE, Tah has failed to deliver on her promise at confirmation hearing that she would fight to uphold the law and prosecute the corrupt. This was evident in the case against former Information Minister Lawrence Bropleh during which Tah failed to press forward because of a family connection to the former Minister. And as early as January 2010, the minister publicly declared that several current officials in government would be indicted for corruption. Five months later, it appears the minister’s declaration was hot air.

WE CAUTION the minister strongly that several officials lost their lives in a bloody coup d’etat on April 12, 1980 because of corruption and like her predecessors Johnson-Morris and Phillip Banks, her legacy is on the line. How she shapes it is up to her, the rest they say, is history.

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