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Commentary

“In Liberia: A Disgraceful Government” – A Rejoinder

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The New Dawn Liberia The New Dawn Liberia“People who are angry at themselves sometimes blame others”. – Jeanne Phillips

Fondly, we have rarely followed the track of George Fahnbulleh in semi-progressive maneuverings to say the least. This rarity speaks volumes and although it would prematurely judgmental to reason otherwise, George’s latest misplaced aggression and onslaught leaves so much to be desired.

Intellectually, an engrained discourse is typified by its profound content, assembled arguments catalogued in an order of sequence that systematically engages with sound and well-founded analysis that seeks to covey somewhat informed thought processes to a select or specific audience.

George Fahnbulleh, a pretty smart chap, has of course become the new guard-man and fighter on the block wearing fronting gloves for the wrong boxing ring. Who is he advocating for in the latest debacle? This should be his darling and a former Justice Minister in the Sirleaf-led government arena. George went into action when he sought to on Monday January 5, published an article via the online Liberian controversial debate center – The Perspective. The article was concomitantly published in the FrontPage Africa newspaper on the same date (January 5, 2015) as well as the paper’s online channel.

Why did George Fahnbulleh become enraged amid the kind of aggression that is compelling him to break tradition with his sobriety and engage in a crude kind of public relations? There is no need for surprises especially when humankind becomes obsessed by the compelling dictates of their surrounding – rationalization amounts to absurdity.

A Security Consultant identified as Mr. Grant Solomon, in an elaborate commentary apparently came close to George’s better-half in a litany of damning allegations, claims and to some extent references sourced to contemporary Liberians publications with former Justice Minister Christiana Tah being at the mercy of an executioner. Quite frankly, Mr. Solomon is George’s real target. 

Ironically, George Fahnbulleh had seen a rather perceived enemy – the government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf let alone the National Security Agency. Grant Solomon has proven beyond all reasonable doubt that he exists, runs a consultancy, has contact and can be reached. That’s George and Christiana’s existent target. It appears from all indications that the pair – George and Christiana are eagerly wooing undue attention from the government. Whether they will get the attention being anticipated remains to be seen.

For the record, many a time when there is an attempt to rationally counter an obtaining argument; you are easily branded as a government agent, operative or surrogate. These diverging or competing views will always become the thrust of a thriving open society. Sometimes it comes at our detriment as is the case with Grant Solomon who is calling former Justice Minister names but is not being seen as relevant but the blame-game has been shifted in the direction of the government.

In George Fahnbulleh’s pursuit of ‘surrogate advocacy’, he believes he will gain absolutely nothing by advancing any counter offensive against  Grant Solomon who he thinks is an imposture. If he believes so, then it is only fair to confront the thesis presented by Solomon. George’s resort to making indignantly blatant accusations that cannot be proven clearly reminds us how far some people will go to taint the characters of others for squarely no justification.

The government has at its disposal the tools, power and the resources to do or undo anything. Let’s state categorically that for a government feels that action or inaction of certain individuals or people is counter-productive to stability – no force can prevent the government from acting in the public interest. Undoubtedly, the only fish the government has to fry in this equation is one of its Ministers resigned without coercion. What is the point? When a soldier dies in battle, he gets replaced by another while the war wages on.  It will be foolhardy for the Liberian government to choose to hide behind Mr. Grant Solomon. 
 
Time has proven that given the openness of the Government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, it does not condone the culture of getting involved into the private affairs of other people least mention those who have served in government and have honorably retired or allowed to let go without any fuss. A classic example is Harry Greaves. The government did not have reason to murmur when former Minister Tah decided to quit.

It is important to establish that former Minister Tah was appointed as Minister of Justice following the exit of Cllr. Philip A. Z. Banks now Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia. She was respected as the Minister of Justice who worked in the administration harmoniously for more than five years.

Unfortunately George Fahnbulleh is going all out to put the government’s feet to the fire in a bizarre style of transferred aggression. The purposeful action and determination of Grant Solomon who acted purposely on his own accord and is on record as disclosing his identity, affiliation with the type of consultancy he is involved in, an address and contact number.

We believe Grant Solomon is reachable, accessible and contactable. At no time did he infer that he works for or that someone in government has hired his services as a paid agent. If there were or are secrets as George Fahnbulleh is suggesting have been divulged; the government is the wrong place to be seen as a contributing factor in such equation.

Essentially, there does not exist any kind of bad blood between the government and the former Minister of Justice whose resignation was responsibly occasioned by her own dictates. Mr. Grant Solomon’s article outrage has attracted a misdirected or simply put transferred aggression. Who has become the scapegoat after Mr. Solomon somewhat elaborate commentary?

Seemingly, in the misconception of George Fahnbulleh – the government is the “Boo-Coo man” and therefore targets his rants at the power that be for all the cheap reasons. Granted Mr. Solomon presented a bucket of “innuendoes and lies” – Mr. Fahnbulleh would do a worthy service to what appears a confidante former Justice Minister Christiana Tah by going after his real adversary than his perceived or imagined enemy – that has become the government.

It will be a sound decision were George Fahnbulleh’s aggrieved attempt to wage a justified war in defense of the former Justice Minister – rather becomes engaging in a realistic academic discourse by focusing on the issues – he seeks to engage in diversionary tactics that is not helping his friend and former Justice Minister.

Surely, it would be myopic if the government were to take delight in such trivialities as gibberish tendencies, personal family life, parentage upbringing because such attitude would only reduce humankind’s mental faculties to the low and ebb. George says he cannot organize his thoughts as a result of the “falsity and disgusting” nature of Grant Solomon’s piece. If that is the case, isn’t it pointless to also point accusing fingers at the government as being behind Solomon’s pretty lengthy article.

George holds a begrudging perception that the NSA and the President are supposedly the hidden hands behind Solomon Grant’s write-up to the extent of blaming them for Grant’s inference regarding an autistic son of former Justice Minister. George Fahnbulleh should rhetorically be asking himself the following fundamental question:

•    Why would President Sirleaf appoint a Justice Minister with a low GP?
•    Was it based on favoritism even though George alleges government’s complicity in Grant Solomon’s pp thesis;
•    If the government was behind such article, wouldn’t that amount to shooting themselves in the leg?

 George Fahnbulleh arguably narrows his reasoning that the President drives and despises competent women out of her government. The two women alluded to including the likes of Dr. Antoinette Sayeh and Olubanke King-Akerele resigned voluntarily without rancor. President Sirleaf as Africa’s first democratically elected female President is on record as maintaining record presence of women holding very top jobs under her administration. To the contrary, the President assisted Minster Sayeh to obtain a bigger position at the I.M.F. Both former Ministers remain close friends and confidantes of the President.

It is instructive for Mr. George Fahnbulleh to appreciate that the option to reckon the choice of Cllr. David Jallah; Dean of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law in pursuit of nothing short of an unqualified, impartial and independent determination can in no way be construed as “obstructing of investigation” on the part of the President. The government took the resignation of Dr. Tah in good faith and considers it premature to read meanings completely unconnected in any form.

No law forbids the President from appointing an Ad Interim Committee to preside over a specific inquiry. The consideration of Cllr. David Jallah cannot be seen as some wishy-washy sort of investigation. Cllr. Jallah has an outstanding legal history whose independence, integrity and professional judgment is critical in dispensing justice. I therefore sought to obtain the report on the case in keeping with the doctrine of the Freedom of Information Act. At least that’s transparency!

Although George Fahnbulleh disagrees with the appointment of the Cllr. David Jallah, Special Investigation Committee – the Jallah Committee recommended that:

•    “That appropriate administrative actions be taken against the operatives of the National Security Agency namely: Alexander Graham, Terrence Doe, Railey Farley, Derek Momo and Solomon Nelson who were directly involved with the arrest of the Korean Nationals and Sierra Leoneans, immediately.”

•    The operatives of the National Security Agency (Alexander Graham, Terrence Doe, Railey Farley, Derek Momo and Solomon Nelson) who were directly involved with the arrest of the Korean National and Sierra Leoneans, and their co-conspirators, Nasser Aly, and Cassell Kuoh, be handed over to the Ministry of Justice for Prosecution in order to clear the name and image of the National Security Agency”.

•    The Government of Liberia refunds the Korean National the 247,500.000 (Two Hundred Forty-Seven Thousand Five Hundred Dollars), which they withdrew from IBLL on July 8, 2014 and which they proceeded with directly to the City King Hotel, immediately thereafter and were ousted shortly after their arrival”.

Upon careful review of the recommendations  the Justice Ministry rendered the following opinions:
1.    We endorsed the first recommendation of the Committee that appropriate administrative action be taken against all five NSA operatives namely: i. Alexander Graham, ii. Terrence Doe, iii. Railey Farley, iv. Derek Momo and v. Solomon Nelson. The conduct of the aforementioned agents shows that they do not have the character, integrity and ability to be trusted as agents of NSA. They have impugned the dignity of the Agency and brought it into disrepute. Allowing these agents to remain with the rank and file of the NSA could potentially undermine the national security of the state. Accordingly, the Justice Ministry advised the five agents be dishonorably discharged and dismissed from the NSA.

2.    We endorsed the second recommendation that the five NSA operatives be turned over to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution. In this regard the report of the Committee has been turned over to the Solicitor General with the view to taking the appropriate action. It must be noted,   however, that additional investigation has to be conducted by the Ministry of Justice with the view to securing the necessary prosecutorial evidence including witnesses.

3.    We disagree with the Committee’s third recommendation that the Government of Liberia refunds to the Korean Nationals the full amount of $247,500,000. The Committee concluded that “the aforesaid recommendations are predicated upon the fact that the NSA operatives are all employees of the Government of Liberia and their conducts can be computed to the Government except that they would be responsible for any criminal acts committed personally.” We disagree totally within this conclusion.

4.    Nowhere in the Committee’s report is there a finding that the Government benefitted from the S$247,500 allegedly taken from the Koreans. Hence the Ministry of Justice is unable to understand why the Government of Liberia should refund the alleged amount when the Government itself, is a victim of fraud perpetuated by the conspirators as established by the Committee, and when the Government did not in any way benefit from the fraud. Hence, the recommendation for refund has no factual or legal basis.

5.    We (Ministry of Justice) are very disturbed by the Committee’s failure to probe into the conduct of the four Korean nationals and to make recommendations regarding their findings. It is clear that the Koreans were engaged in an illegal activity, occasioned by greed and a desire to bypass the legitimate procedures currently in place for the sale and purchase of gold in Liberia. There is no mention in the report that the Committee consulted the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, and the Ministry of Commerce regarding whether or not the Koreans had the required corporate or legal status and the relevant licenses or permits to engage in the purchase of gold in Liberia. Had the transaction gone into logical conclusion without the incident, the gold purchased would have been taken out of the country illegally without the payment of the required taxes due to the government, a conduct that is tantamount to “Economic Sabotage”.
Professionally and ethically, George Fahnbulleh would require some basic schooling in the workings of journalism. Whenever a credible newspaper breaks an apparently indicting story it does not necessarily mean an automatic guilty verdict has been handed down. Does George know why? This is because the newspaper is not a judge, jury and executioner so to speak ethically.

It would be preposterous to contrive that police at any time tear-gassed the offices of the National Chronicle newspaper when the area was only cordoned. The newspaper’s publisher was invited for questioning but never arrested. Claims that the President ordered Police Director to prevent Mr. Philibert Brown from traveling was groundless.

In contrast, the Police Director does not head the Bureau of Immigration. Even if he did, Philibert Brown travels to Ghana as regularly to visit his family relocated to Ghana due to the Ebola outbreak without molestation. The situation involving The National Chronicle has to be examined in context. One cannot apply for license to operate a newspaper and in the name of reckless abuse of press freedom resort to Yellow Journalism that seeks to compromise the national interest. Freedom of the press goes with responsibility.

Insinuating a “Golden Child” precept is utter rubbish. It takes one who has never been able to father or mother a child to reason with such stupor. Madam Sirleaf has been a proud mother before she opted to sojourn professional pursuits, activism, advocacy, as well as political and progressive work. This is someone who massively won the senatorial seat for Montserrado County in 1985 but gave up her seat because of the character of the polls.

Evidently, this has not been about Grant Solomon’s article but a deliberate vitriolic attack on the President’s person and by extension her family. If ‘minion’ becomes something out of the ordinary then George Fahnbulleh has a point. All parents have children specially favored. So, what is the point? When people see elections from the perspective of a battle, there should be no reason for noise-making in the marketplace. In a situation of a ‘political war’ – the best warrior cannot win all battles. Some you win, while those you lose provide a challenging basis for re-think, soul-searching, re-strategizing and repositioning of thought processes.

In conclusion, former Minister Christiana Tah is not the country’s biggest challenge and if detractors of the likes of George Fahnbulleh think the President would divert the current course of kicking Ebola out to commence the process of aggressively focusing on national development issues – he is doomed. The boat is already sailing and there is no turning back. He and his client can just go up and about in the wilderness and lick their wounds.  

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