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LAA/RIA Probe Announced by the Government of Liberia

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During the last press briefing at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism on Capitol Hill last Thursday, Minister Lewis Brown announced the administration’s preparedness to launch a full-scale investigation into the situation at the Liberia Airport Authority (RIA). According to Minister Brown, the administration’s objective is to determine the fact of the corruption saga in order to prosecute the culprit(s).

His pronouncement broke the conspicuous silence of the Executive on the matter, perhaps due to some determining factors, regarding how to proceed in handling the situation which had taken the front pages of some Liberian newspapers, as well as the headlines of radio and television newscasts in Monrovia.

Perhaps the claims and counter-claims by the two main actors in the corruption saga-the Board Chairman Musa Bility and Airport Managing Director Ellen Crokrum which went far and wide across the nation may have triggered the move by the Executive Mansion to probe the situation.

It followed the dismissal letter of Ms. Crokrum for attempting to defraud the Liberian Government as published in a number of local dailies-something strongly detested by the Managing Director with a counter, linking Mr. Bility to acts of corruption at the airport.

These are two grave claims and counter-claims that the administration must investigate together, for doing so would determine who’s actually telling the true about the other. The results from such probe and actions thereof, must set the precedence for other corruption incidents within the administration.

Too long, reports/cases of corruption have gone into “thin air” without any result, except for the Bropleh-LTA case which went to court, as well as the Bropleh-MICAT case which is still in the hands of the Supreme Court of Liberia.

The corruption saga at the Liberia Airport Authority has drawn so much public attention through the media that the need the commission a probe cannot be over-emphasized. The embarrassment resulting from such undue publicity given the situation, through media politics must be significant enough to propel investigation. This is why when Information Minister Lewis Brown made the pronouncement last Thursday, many of us were relieved, as whatever embarrasses the Government of Liberia also affects the Liberian populace in general.

And so, in such important investigation, the issue of sentiments and all other sympathetic features must be absolutely ignored to allow due process,, supported by documentary and evident by the two parties, to take its course probably under the auspices of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission.

Having seen these evident displayed at news conferences hosted by Board Chairman Bility and managing Director Crokrum at separate intervals, it would now be incumbent upon them to make those evident available to the LACC for analysis and determination.

One thing that must be understood here is that when given the opportunity to handle this matter, one of the parties would even dream or think about engaging in acts incompatible with due process, considering the caliber of individuals on that Commission-no way. The nature of their integrity would even make it more difficult for any of the two prime suspects in the corruption web to be attracted to any form of inducement in favor of either of them.

But again, the administration must be hailed, through Minister Lewis Brown, for intervening the way it did as a way of first calming the media war and announcing a probe, as well as assuring the public of the necessary action against whoever is brought down guilty.

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