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Gov’t disputes Cummings clams of corruption

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The Liberian Government is disputing claims by opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) leader Alexander Cummings that the George Weah administration is wrapped up in corruption web and state sponsored crimes. In a statement issued by the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism Wednesday the Government indicated that it had taken note of the tirade by Mr. Cummings, who has again repeated the routine and unsubstantiated claims of corruption against the Weah Administration, while also spewing out allegations of state-sponsored crimes.

Excerpts of the Government statement: “That these false claims are once again being made without an iota of evidence – just the rut soundbites about “16 billion” (which was debunked by the Kroll report) or the “25 million” lies – hoping that the unsuspecting public will accept the stale strategy is not at all surprising. What is surprising to us is having a politician desperately attempting to resuscitate his miniature political stature by acting out of character and throwing insults to satisfy his base.

Not once in the entire statement did Mr. Cummings cite any evidence of corruption other than raving about “rogues” or “stealing”. The government has taken unprecedented actions to help curtail the societal menace of corruption, including by the introduction of landmark legislations which would expand the powers of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission to independently investigate and prosecute offenders, and also empower whistle-blowers. Where there have been probable cause to act against impropriety, the President has done so – including prosecuting his officials.

The government also investigated to finality, with the assistance of the U.S. embassy, the deaths of some professional Liberians – just as it did in the case of the “16 billion” hoax and the mop up exercise. None of these reports implicated the government in any “state-sponsored murders”, the reason no international rights group has made the claim – not even the annual U.S. Human Rights report.

That a leader of a political party will regurgitate word on the street just shows the level of despair.

Regarding suggestions from some quarters about a War and Economic Crimes Court, the government’s position on the matter remains the same: It is a sovereign decision that the Liberian people should make. This has since been the position of the Liberian government expressed by President Weah to the United Nations and the Liberian Legislature.

Mr. Cummings in a live broadcast Sunday May 23, voiced his support for the establishment of war and economic crimes court for Liberia to ensure justice, accountability and end impunity here.

He stated that placing individuals above the law, and not holding each other fully accountable for crimes, are practices that have kept the country backward for far too long, saying “This is why I support the establishment of a war crimes court, and a court on economic crimes.”

Mr. Cummings argues that these courts will help Liberians to find justice for victims, and hopefully, lay painful memories of loved ones, and innocent souls to deserved eternal rests.

He also believes they will also lift the weight off the shoulders of accused persons who believe themselves to be innocent or wrongly accused, noting that a court is not just a place to seek punishment, but a place to find truth, to award justice, and to set the innocent or wrongly accused, free.

“Importantly also, these courts will help us heal, be reconciled, and not continue to live in fear of each other. And especially for a court on economic crimes, I believe it ought not to be limited to only the commission of economic crimes during the war but that it must have jurisdictions to deal with current and future economic crimes such as stealing from the people, and passing deals that cheats Liberia and Liberians.”

Mr. Cummings cautions that turning a blind eye to crimes in the name of peace will give us no peace, so even if it is hard and creates fears, Liberians must find the way to achieve it. “We must also find the help we will need to do it. But in the end, we must do it for ourselves, and for our children.”

He says if Liberia will dispense justice fairly and blindly to all who seek it, from rape and the acceptance of bribes by judges and other public officials to crimes against humanity and stealing from the Liberian people, it should be a country that will hold everyone accountable.

“When we do this, our children and their children will live in a more just, peaceful, prosperous and reconciled society than we have today”, he adds.

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