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Auditors Reportedly found Liberia's Information Minister Defrauded Government


Suspended Information Minister Laurence Bropleh of Liberia

But Thomas Nah, executive director of Transparency and Accountability in Liberia says the Sirleaf government has been too slow when it comes to prosecuting senior government officials accused of corruption

Reports out of Liberia say the country’s General Auditing Commission (GAC) has completed its audit of the Ministry of Information and found that suspended Minister Laurence Bropleh defrauded the government to the tune of $358,000.

An article in Monday’s edition of the online magazine FrontPage Africa said the audit recommended that suspended Minister Bropleh makes restitution of the said amount and also faces prosecution.

The report said auditors found that the minister approved the cashing of several salary checks issued to ghost names on the payroll of the Liberian Foreign Service and pocketed said amount.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf suspended Minister Bropleh pending the outcome of the auditing commission's investigation and the investigation of the justice ministry.

Thomas Nah, executive director for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia, said the Sirleaf government has been too slow when it comes to prosecuting senior government officials accused of corruption.

“We think the president has to exhibit more political will in ensuring that the prosecution takes place. Now beyond the president, also the minister of justice because we do not understand why despite all the numerous cases, people are not being prosecuted,” he said.

Nah said his organization welcomes the passing of the Whistle Blower Act and the setting up of an Anti-Corruption Commission, but he said it was time for the government to move beyond the passing of laws to prosecuting people accused of corruption, especially senior government officials.

The Liberia Justice Ministry also conducted its own investigation of the allegations against suspended information minister Bropleh, but Justice Minister Christiana Tah said she could not comment on any of the reports.

A senior official familiar with the Liberian legal system said the wheels of justice were slow in turning when it came to prosecuting corruption cases because those cases involve looking for evidence.

Bur Nah said there should be no difference between seeking evidence for a murder case and seeking evidence for a corruption case.

He said at some point the Liberian government must bring closure to its corruption investigation and act.

“There are numerous instances where the government has failed to take action when there are improprieties. For instance, what has happened to the Knuckles investigation? Even people who the TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) has indicated are involved in economic impropriety those people are now being given positions. So it’s like we always set up commissions as a façade,” he said.

The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission has also recommended the prosecution of Albert Bropleh, the elder brother of suspended Information Minister Laurence Bropleh for acts of corruption at the Liberia Telecommunication Authority while the older Bropleh was chairman of the authority.