The opposition Congress for Democratic Change or CDC has called on officials named by Global Witness for receiving bribes to resign in order to face prosecution. Several members of the Liberian Legislature, including House Speaker Alex Tyler are linked to the allegation, and have been formally indicted by the state.
The CDC at a news conference on Sunday afternoon in Monrovia said senior government officials who are linked to the scandal should do the honorable thing by resigning their posts or stepping aside to exonerate themselves before the law.
The party says it makes it very difficult and challenging for any judge to prosecute high profile officials such as senators and the Speaker while they still enjoy the luxury of impunity accorded them under the laws of Liberia.
CDC, through its national Chairman for Operations, Mulbah Morlu, called on the Presidential Taskforce to prosecute all those mentioned in the report rather than being selective. Mr. Morlu says if the taskforce could muster the political courage to indict Speaker Tyler and Senator Varney Sherman, it should also indict the Director of the National Security Agency, Col. Fomba Sirleaf; Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company Managing Director Sumo Kupee; the former head of the Public Procurement Concession Commission Willie Balleh, and the others.
Several officials, including Mr. Fomba Sirleaf, Senator Morris Saytumah have reportedly appeared before the taskforce, but both Speaker Tyler and Senator Sherman refused to appear except in court. The CDC says it is not surprised by the report, noting that some officials were engaged in corruption daily, while the administration pays lip-service to combating the deadly anti-developmental disease.
Mr. Morlu warns that those indicted, if found guilty, their properties should be sold and proceeds generated from the sale diverted to health and education. He says the party has embarked on a three-day hunger strike with 200 partisans to tell the United States government and other international partners that the Liberian people are tired of corruption officials.
Following weeks of legal wrangling between some accused in the Global Witness Report and the Special Presidential Task Force set up to probe the report, the Government of Liberia on Wednesday indicted Speaker Tyler and Senator Varney Sherman for allegedly committing multiple criminal offences, including bribery, economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy, solicitation and facilitation, respectively.
Co-defendant Ernest C. B. Jones, Deputy Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy at the time requested and allegedly received US$5,000.00 for providing the technical advice for the alteration of the law, while Speaker Tyler allegedly received the amount of US$75,000.00 for conducting the smooth passage of the Amended Procurement and Concession Commission Law containing the provision for the Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy to have the power to declare a concession area a non-bidding area (Article 75) of the amended PPCC Act so as to create an easy passage for the awarding of the concession agreement on the Wologisi Mountain.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne