>Front Page Africa Editorial
AMBASSADOR WINSTON Tubman, a candidate for the presidency of the Republic of Liberia has been accused of acting in bad faith regarding the sale of the Liberian embassy in Paris France during the height of the civil war.
THE REPORT, yet-to-be-made was sanctioned by former Foreign Minister Olubanke King-Akerele who, in 2009 and was one of several transactions cited for investigation. The others being, the Liberian chanceries in London, Nairobi, Belgium, and a number of other foreign missions.
THE SALE in question took place shortly after the fall of Samuel Doe and the arrival of the Interim Government of National Unity headed by Dr. Amos Sawyer, whose government was set up in an attempt to restore peace in Liberia and usher in a democratically-elected government.
THE EMBASSY IN QUESTION is located at 8 Rue Jacques, Bingen Paris, 75017, France and according to the investigation, was sold by certain individuals in 1992. The facility was exclusively owned by the Government of Liberia and had been owned by the Government of Liberia since 1953.
ACCORDING TO THE findings, Tubman signed the document which paved the way for the sale of the embassy but falls short of stating whether the former UN Special Representative to Sudan benefited from financial transaction which followed the sale.
ACCORDING TO THE REPORT, the document upon which the Notary Public in France, Mr. Dominique Ader, relied upon to perfect the sale was signed by Counselor Winston Tubman. Said the report: “We further understand that other individuals involved in the transaction included the late Ambassador Aaron George, the Liberian Ambassador to France at the time; Trohoe Kparghai, former Advisor to Samuel Kanyon Doe; and Alain Carron, the then Liberian honorary consul in Lyon, France. None of the aforementioned individuals had the authority to dispose of the Liberian government assets above described.
THE REPORT goes on to suggest that Tubman, who signed the purported “transfer of title” did not have the requisite indicia of authority in March 1992 to transfer a good, clear and free title of any property belonging to the Government and people of Liberia. Therefore, according to the report, the purported transfer was illegal and null and void ab initio.
WHILE SOME ARE raising questions about the timing of the report’s release, we encourage Ambassador Tubman to go beyond the call of duty in responding point-by-point the allegations raised in the findings especially in reference to suggestions that even though Tubman claimed to have been offered the position of Special Envoy of Dr. Amos Sawyer in 1990, he was not empowered to dispose of assets of the Government of Liberia unilaterally. Usually, Government assets abroad, such as embassies and consulates are under the purview of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
AT A TIME when Liberia and Liberians were scattered all over the world, the findings calls into question, the former Ambassador’s judgment in getting himself involved in a sale of a facility that did not require urgency of sale at the time. Was Liberia in danger of losing a property it rightfully owned? Would it have lost its sovereignty of the embassy had not been sold?
WE FEEL that Ambassador Tubman, who has been very vocal against the ruling Unity Party owes it to voters and the Liberian people to set himself apart from issues he has spoken out against, especially those bordering corruption now clouding the ruling Unity Party.
THAT THE REPORT has concluded that Ambassador Tubman, notary public, Mr. Domique Ader, Ambassador Aaron George, Mr. Trohoe Kparghai, Mr. Alain Carron, and all others involved in the sale of property belonging to the Liberian people and Government, located at 8 Rue Jacques, Bingen 75017 France, acted in bad faith; That the findings have concluded that Tubman had no authority, power or ownership interest to transfer said real property means that something sinister was behind the motives for the sale.
FOR A CANDIDATE seeking the highest office in the land, Ambassador Tubman must make it a priority to ensure that he answers these charges fully and unconditionally.
WHILE WE take the Ambassador to task, we also encourage the government to make all of the various probes public so it does not seem that the unearthing now is political motivated in an attempt to discredit Ambassador Tubman’s candidacy.
WHAT WE ARE advocating for is for candidates seeking the highest office in Liberia to exercise transparency, accountability and a sense of openness involving anything linking them to corruption or activities aimed at denying Liberia and Liberians revenues or a chance for a better life.
WE ENCOURAGE not just Ambassador Tubman but all candidates to come clean over whatever skeletons laying in their closets. Liberia and Liberians have suffered too much and are continuing to suffer as a results of frailties committed by politicians and corrupt officials and former officials. Now is not the time for any more mistakes but a time for all to come clean so that Liberia can enjoy a better future and an even much better chance at a better sense of political and financial security.