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

    Leaving Scalia Replacement to 2017 Would Mean Unusually Long Vacancy

    History of high court shows Obama not in unique situation during final year of presidency

    US Fact Checkers Debunk Some Republican Candidate Claims 

    Slim evidence for several claims made by Republican presidential candidates at their last debate ahead of next Saturday's key nominating election in South Carolina

    Uganda Presidential Debate a Small Victory for Democracy

    In homes and bars across country, Ugandans were fixated on their screens as eight political candidates running for president took part in national debate

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.