A Special Commission set up last year
to investigate a multitude of emails published on the Internet and suggesting
corruption by individuals in and out of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s
government submitted its report to the president Wednesday.
Some of the emails
alleged that some current and former officials in the Sirleaf government solicited
bribes from an American who heads the Liberian International Shipping Corporate
Registry (LISCR) in order to get a renewal of his contract without competitive
U.S.-based Liberian University Professor D. Elwood Dunn
and chair of the commission told VOA that it is now up to
President Sirleaf to release the report to the Liberian public.
“In keeping with our mandate contained in
Executive Order No. 15, we completed our work and submitted the report to the
president, along with a financial statement on the outcome of the carrying out
of the mandate of the commission. The mandate was to investigate certain
allegations that were contained in email exchanges on FrontPage Africa and
things related thereto,” he said.
of the Dunn Commission’s duties was to determine the authenticity of the published
emails containing allegations of corruption.
said it would be too hasty to reveal the findings of the commission’s report.
believe it’s premature to say anything of substance related to the report at
this point. It’s all in the president’s hand, and I think she has the prerogative
to act,” Dunn said.
Nah, executive director of the Center for Transparency and Accountability in
Liberia told VOA Liberians expect President Sirleaf to punish those government
officials who would be implicated in the so-called Knuckles Gate II commission
expectation of the Liberian people is that those who believe that government is
a hunting ground to illegally enrich themselves should be prosecuted and dealt
with under the law. And if this report authenticates that indeed the emails
were authentic, we will expect that the president act, and she will act
decisively. She will dismiss those who are in government, and we will expect
that there will be legal recourse also,” he said.
said Liberians will be too disappointed if President Sirleaf failed to act on
the Dunn Commission recommendations.
think the president has little options but to act at this juncture, and it
would be quite disappointing if she fails to act because she has consented that
corruption is a problem. It undermines the growth of this country. So when
people who are in her inner circle are involved in acts of corruption and she
fails to act, I mean it’s a sign of weakness. And I think it’s going to
undermine the image of the government, and at this stage where Liberia is
trying to resuscitate the economy and trying to project an image that will help
our national democracy, for the president not to act on such an important issue
would be quite unpleasant for our own country,” Nah said.
of the emails alleged some current and former officials in the Sirleaf
government solicited bribes from an American who heads the Liberian International
Shipping Corporate Registry (LISCR) in order to get a renewal of his contract
without competitive bidding.
said companies seeking to do business in Liberia, like the Liberian
International Shipping Corporate Registry (LISCR) should pay the price if found
they tried to corrupt Liberian government officials.
our fight to rid Liberia of corruption, it means that people that we transact
business with, whether internally or externally will have to exhibit a high
degree of integrity because if we allow people to come and interact with the
government and corrupt officials of government and taint the good name that we
are trying to build, then that’s wrong. If 90 percent of the emails are
authentic and some of the transactions in those emails reflect the discussions
between Mr. Cohen or LISCR and Mr. Knuckles and other parties, we think that
just as the local officials or other people that are involved in the scandal
are dealt with, there should be a way that we should also deal with the LISCR
situation. And that would mean looking at our own contractual relationship with
LISCR,” he said.
said Liberia should not do business with companies that seek to undermine the
integrity of the country.