The Special Presidential Taskforce – recently instituted by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to probe the investigation of Global Witness’ corruption saga involving past and present top officials of government, has turned over the prosecution aspect of the investigation to the Ministry of Justice for full implementation.
The taskforce, headed by new Minister of state without portfolio J. Fornati Koffa, comprises the Ministry of State, Ministry of Justice and Liberia Anti Corruption Commission. Minister Koffa disclosed that the president was very much concerned about the interest of the state – something that led her to set up the taskforce to investigate, prosecute or bring resolution to the matter.
According to him, within less than the require statutory period, the taskforce has indicted at least four individuals with more than 12 witnesses in Liberia and abroad, as well as reviewed more than 700 pages of evidents which has been combined.
“Now that we are gotten to a point where the taskforce can fully pickup the respective roles individually and independently, it is time for the Ministry of state to play its supporting role, because we have begun active prosecution of persons who have been indicted; and I expect that by next week, more persons will be indicted,” he said.
“We must now turn that role over to the agency statutorily responsible for prosecution, and that is the Ministry of Justice,” he noted. Addressing a special news conference yesterday, June 2, 2016, at the Ministry of Information on Capitol Hill, Minister Koffa – also head of the Presidential Taskforce noted that the taskforce and investigators from the LACC, have decided to turn over the mantle to the Ministry of Justice because it is charged with the responsibility of prosecution in Liberia.
He said the Ministry of Justice and the LACC have destined responsibilities that must be recognized “There is no need for us to be part of this process; we are nonly there to be supportive to ensure that those agents from the LACC compile what they have to turn over the case to the ministry of justice,” Cllr. Koffa said.
“Part of our mandate at the Ministry of State without portfolio which was created by the president and confirmed by the Senate, is a robust approach to dealing with any corruption case,” he noted. According to him, corruption, at the level in Liberia can be handled by one institution of government, but requires the full cooperation of every citizen to curtail the act.
“What we are doing next is to take a look at all of the old GAC reports in the country that have not been prosecuted or investigated to do compliance screening; we are not doing investigation because that’s the job of the LACC. We will release a list of persons of interest based on the audit to the public and this will be a situation where you are listed, and there is a need to talk to you on some matters, though you have not been accused of any crime or corruption matters, but because you are listed we need to clear you off – maybe there was a mistake on the part of GAC,” he added.
The former Liberty Chairman underscored that where people should have problems is when there is a corruption scandal, saying “we are going to referred you to the LACC”. According to him, those who are responsible to investigate are the group from the LACC, but “we are there to assist them in that process”.
Earlier, the newly confirmed Justice Minister and Attorney General of Liberia, Cllr. Frederick Cherue, expressed gratitude to the Minister of State and the investigators from the LACC for their tireless efforts during their investigation.
He said the Ministry of Justice is the prosecutorial arm of the government and the taskforce has reached the stage to turn over the ministry. “We highly accept; we will rely on you and your people for the evidence you have with all of the materials, and resources given to you so that we can successfully prosecute this case,” the new Justice Minister said.
By Lewis S. Teh