The government of Liberian President
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will Tuesday release to the public the findings
of a commission set up by her to probe
allegations revealed in published emails that senior members of her government
were involved in bribery and corruption.
The commission, chaired by U.S.-based
Liberian university professor D. Elwood Dunn, was to look into the authenticity
of some emails which alleged that some current and former Sirleaf government
officials solicited bribes from an American who head the Liberian International
Shipping Corporate Registry (LISCR).
Information minister Lawrence Bropleh, who will make the report public, told VOA the report found no earth-shaking revelation.
the public will see is that this was a report and commission that the
government had no interference over, provided the resources, over $200,000
United States dollars for it to do its work. And you will see that the report
is clear and provides some recommendations to the government, but in essence
said that there are further investigations that must take place principally regarding
some of the key players, inclusive of Mr. Willis Knuckles,” he said.
of the mandates of the so-called Dunn Commission was to ascertain the
authenticity of the more than 100 emails. Bropleh said the commission’s report
is recommending further investigation into the authenticity of the emails.
also said President Sirleaf has found one of the emails to be authentic.
to even Dr. Dunn’s Commission being set up, the President, the government of
Liberia said that one particular email exchange between the office of the presidency
and Mr. Knuckles was authentic. This was the email where Mr. Knuckles was
asking for repayment for expenses incurred when he served as a minister of
state. The President’s response to Minister Knuckles, which some Websites did
not carry, said that if these charges that you are now asserting the government
may owe you are legitimate, then you have to follow the process of submitting
your receipts, etc. verifying that these are legitimate government expenses
when you served as the Minister of State and it will have to go through the
regular process or repayment through the ministry of finance. That has been
established as authentic.
are speculations that the Dunn Commission report will recommended that
disciplinary action be taken against some of the officials allegedly implicated
in the emails scandal, including even dismissal.
Bropleh said the report did not recommend that any disciplinary action be taken.
Instead he said those who might be found guilty in the scandal would be turned
over to the country’s anti-corruption commission.
the investigation proves is that it cannot identify with certainty or to prove
that there are any outright acts of corruption associated with the email saga.
What the report does say is that at a point that it has investigated, there
needs to be some further investigation beyond what this commission has done.
What the President has said is that this matter now will be turned over to the
Anti-Corruption Commission (headed by former justice minister Frances
Johnson-Morris) and those who may be linked to this or may be found to be
guilty of whatever charges, the Anti-Corruption Commission through its act has
got the proclivity to act upon it,” he said.
pressed further whether the report recommends any disciplinary action against
Director General of Cabinet Medina Wesseh, Justice Minister Phillip Banks or
President Sirleaf’s brother-in-law and security advisor Estrada Bernard,
Bropleh said the report did not recommend such action.
report does not do that and that is because what we saw in the emails, a mere
allegations, the mentioning of names, there has been nothing to authenticate
that these individuals had been involved in the receipt of bribes or had been
involved party to concocting how they may be able to defraud the government as
it relates to the LISCR (Liberian International Shipping Corporate Registry)
agreement for the maritime program,” Bropleh said.