News / Africa

Liberian Officials Accused of Resisting Anti-Corruption Probe

Frances Johnson-Morris, Liberia's Anti-Corruption Commission ChairFrances Johnson-Morris, Liberia's Anti-Corruption Commission Chair
x
Frances Johnson-Morris, Liberia's Anti-Corruption Commission Chair
Frances Johnson-Morris, Liberia's Anti-Corruption Commission Chair
James Butty
Liberia’s Anti-Corruption Commission has accused government officials of refusing to cooperate with efforts to verify their assets.  

In a report released over the weekend, the commission accused 22 senior government officials, including Defense Minister Brownie Samukai and Police Director Chris Massaquoi of “deliberately” refusing to cooperate with its assets verification team. 

Neither man was immediately available for comments.

Anti-Corruption Commission Chairperson Frances Johnson-Morris said the huge amounts of “unexplained wealth and material omission” raise red flags with the commission.

“We arrived at the description of unexplained wealth on the basis of a person’s lawful income.

The commission accused the former deputy minister for administration at the Ministry of Public Works, Stephen Yekeson, of having deposited US $305,590.00 into three separate bank accounts outside of his official salary of L$14,137.50.

“If someone is making, for instance, US$2,250.00 in special allowances and making L$14,000 [per month], to have in your account over a period of maybe two, three months depositing an aggregate of $300,000 plus, then it seems to us that that cannot be explained.  They did not explain satisfactorily how they got that money,” Johnson-Morris said.

She said all the officials whose assets needed verification were invited to appear before the commission.

“We do not do the exercise in the absence of the declarants. If we cite you, we invite you.  We tend to take time within a 10-day period that you will be available to come.  So, these people participated in the exercise.  We did not do it behind their backs,” she said.

The commission said former Internal Affairs Minister Blamoh Nelson held a series of cash deposits to his accounts at three different banks totaling $105,000.

But, Johnson-Morris said the commission observed an omission of Nelson’s property declaration form as well as a series of cash deposits to his accounts at three banks.

Nelson told VOA he has cooperated with the commission.

“What had happened, the actual declaration form has a narrative portion and a financial statement portion, and on my financial portion I declared the value of my real estate property to the tune of $220,000.  I have my residence and [a] couple of other structures in Grand Kru.  In the narrative, I was supposed to have listed the buildings.  That is where the omission comes from.  I didn’t list them,” Nelson said.

Nelson expressed dismay that the commission mentioned the omission in its report, even though it appeared to have accepted it.

He said the commission needs to employ well-trained people who can study financial records properly. 

“I think the commission needs to get some people well-trained who can do forensic analysis of financial records properly and not engage in this mischief that these young people are doing,” Nelson said.

Johnson-Morris said a copy of the report has been submitted to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf along with the names of the officials who have not cooperated with the verification process.

“Normally, we forward [a] copy of the report to the president because she is the appointing power.  We inform her about the refusal of these people, and, if she wants to take any action, then it is within her purview to do that. We are saying that the assets declared, some of it cannot be explained,” she said.
Butty interview with Johnson-Morris
Butty interview with Johnson-Morrisi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid