Two weeks ago the Liberian government denied allegations
that some current and former officials in President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's
government had received bribes from an American who heads the Liberian
International Ship Corporate Registry (LISCR) in order to get a renewal of his
contract without competitive bidding.
Those allegations were contained in a
multitude of emails published on the Internet allegedly written by individuals
in and out of President Sirleaf's government. Now another batch of emails have
sufficed, this time allegedly suggesting corruption by the senior executive
assistant to President Sirleaf.
In response and under pressure from many
quarters to do so, the government has now named a special commission to probe
the alleged emails exchanges. The government is also denying that it has been
paying off local journalists to suppress the story in the local media.
Liberian Information Minister Lawrence
Bropleh told VOA President Sirleaf is anxious to see the investigation get
Liberian government continues to say that this is of a grave matter for us and
what the government has done is to have asked the Liberian National Bar
Association to kindly lead the process for the setting up of an independent
commission of inquiry in order to get to the bottom of this issue because we
believe that we are stewards of the people's resources and anything that
suggests that this government has been involved in these negotiations with acts
of bribery is counterproductive to what we are trying to do in our nation," he
its initial response to the so-called "Knucklesgate emails" allegedly
implicating Liberian government officials of bribery, President Sirleaf's
government said it had asked the country's justice ministry to determine the
opposition leaders have said that such involvement by the justice ministry
would render the investigation not credible since the justice minister himself
is alleged to have received bribes, according to some of the emails.
said under the independent commission of inquiry being requested by the
government, the justice minister would be asked to recuse himself from the
justice ministry is going to recuse itself from taking any active role in the
investigative process because the Minister of Justice, though he has strongly
denied being involved in this has been mentioned in the emails as one of those
who were supposedly either bribed or listed to be bribed," Bropleh said.
also denied that the Liberian government has been paying off or pressuring
local journalists to suppress the story about the alleged emails in the local
I can say as the minister of information, culture and tourism, and I can only
speak for that which I know, is that my ministry of through any efforts of the
president is not involved in trying to pay off any journalist from publishing
this story. We are a transparent government and we will not muzzle the press on
this matter. We believe that the press must be the watchdog and present
balanced opinions or various sides to this. So I can speak for myself, I can
speak for my ministry, I can speak for the president that no one is bribing any
journalist or journalistic organizations not to publish these things or to talk
about them. I cannot speak for any other organization or any other person who
may be linked to this," he said.
said President Sirleaf is anxious to see the investigation get other way
because the president is resolved to see a corruption-free Liberia.
know that it is difficulty but there would be no intentional effort on the part
of this government, through the leadership of this government to engage in
corrupt practices," he said.
said President Sirleaf would soon present to the Liberian legislature a draft
act seeking the set up of an independent commission.