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Liberia: Government Says Former Leader Could Face Charges

The Liberian government says it is possible the chairman of the former interim government - Gyude Bryant - could face charges if he is implicated in the ongoing corruption probe commissioned by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Over the weekend, the government arrested two officials of the former transitional government, including former finance minister Lusinee Kamara and his deputy. Late Monday, former interim President Bryant addressed the media accusing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s government of violating the constitutional rights of officials of the former transitional government.

Lawrence Bropleh is Liberia’s minister of information. He said there is preponderance of evidence implicating officials of the former transitional government, including former interim government chairman Bryant.

“Under the law in Liberia or elsewhere, when people are being investigated for criminal charges, and the investigation points to an overwhelming presence of evidence that the government believes would warrant an arrest, an indictment charging these persons and bringing them before a court competent jurisdiction, how can one then claim that this is a violation of the constitution. In fact, this is carrying out the constitution to the letter of the law. And so what Chairman Bryant has said is unfortunate. That it is not true,” he said.

Bropleh said the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf government is not on a witch-hunt as claimed by former interim president Bryant.

“The ECOWAS audit was done on the clock of former chairman Gyude Bryant. ECOWAS was asked to come in and do an audit in order that the integrity of the Liberian nation and the resources of the people could be protected. The audit was conducted and it points to a lot of criminal activities, criminal charges, malpractices, inefficiencies, corruption of former officials in the Gyude Bryant administration, including chairman Bryant himself,” Bropleh said.

He said it is possible the Sirleaf government could arrest former interim chairman Bryant if he is implicated in the ongoing corruption probe.

“When the audit report raises an alarm, what the government has to do is not rush to judgment but take its time through the criminal investigative process and when this is done and the government is sure that they have enough evidence, Chairman Bryant, if it warrants his coming in, being questioned, and the evidence proves that he needs to be indicted and charged, that will happen,” he said.

Bropleh said the current corruption investigation is not about President Sirleaf’s government witch-hunting former government official. Instead he said it is about setting precedence where all government officials will not abuse the public trust. He again said former interim chairman Gyude Bryant is not off the hook.

“James, Chairman Bryant, former chairman Wesley Johnson, all those who have been implicated in criminal ways in the ECOWAS audit report and other investigative reports that have been undertaking in this country for theft of property, for corruption, they’re not off the hook,” Bropleh said.

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