The New Democrat newspaper reports (New Democrat, March 30, 2016) that the former Minister of Commerce and current Board Chairperson of the National Social Security & Welfare Corporation, Madam Miata Beyslow; former Managing Director of LPRC, Mr. T. Nelson Williams; Chief Executive Officer of Aminata & Sons, Inc., Mr. Siaka Toure; and a number of Deputies, indicted for stealing public funds, now face detention pending and during court trial in this, one of several, high-profiled cases, involving public dishonesty or corrupt practices.
These cases are critically important because our “New Liberia” – after 133 years of single-party, single social class, undemocratic rule; of less than 10 years of military coup d’état & civilian rule; and of the military-type, “jungle justice- rule” adventure, after the brutal civil war, all since 1847 – claims and boasts to be that it (the New Liberia) is world class democratic government, under the rule of law.
It is said that democratic government is a socio-political organization which, under the rule of law, thrives and is successful, with commitment to the Judicial Process – from arrest and detention by the Police to trial and conviction by the Courts, transparent and free of political interference or control.
Of recent, especially, particularly, beginning 2006, this Judicial Process, likened to the proverbial Pudding, the test for taste of which is done by and through the courts of the Republic. Indeed, that taste of the pudding, Liberia’s Judicial Process, will be, and is, shown through trials of high-profiled, former and current government officials accused of stealing hundreds of millions of US dollars of public resources – as shown from investigations & trials involving the ministries of Agriculture, Public Works, Foreign Affairs, NOCAL, Ebola Donations, NPA and now the LPRC, the list goes on infinitum.
Reportedly, in case of the NPA Managing Director and other high officials accused of Stealing public funds, prominent, high-priced attorneys, presidential advisors and kitchen cabinet relatives seek to bar or avoid conviction of the accused, not by presentation of evidence, but by Liberia’s “big man/big woman” tradition of arm-twisting, “dee-dee-bahs” and “mango-mangos”.
In the instant case of Economic Sabotage or stealing of Public resources allegations against high-profiled, former officials – Managing Director of LPRC & Minister of Commerce who is currently Board Chairperson of the National Social Security & Welfare Corporation, Prosecutors challenged, successfully, the legality of the appearance, Surety Bond valued US $2 million in the charge of stealing US $5.8 million. The surety bond was or is provided, for profit, by two foreign-owned firms, apparently, in collusion with prominent, high-profiled Liberians.
It is very important to note here, that according to Miss Robtel Pailey, “most non-black, non-African nationals in Liberia are far more powerful than the vast majority of our 3.4 million . . . Liberian population. One only has to peak in the doors of our major concession negotiations, our policy meetings at the highest level, or our posh restaurants, bars, clubs & entertainment centers to see who actually wields political, economic and social power” (Pailey, The Negro Clause, FrontPage Africaonline.com, October 22, 2012).
To this, we add legal power through the courts, and that Miss Pailey should know, because she served as Special Assistant to the powerful Minister of State for Presidential Affairs or the Presidential Chief of Staff at the Nation’s Executive Mansion or Presidential Palace.
Moreover, in or through its judicial prism, the international community, particularly our “Partners-in-Progress” led by our historic Mentor/Benefactor, the United States of America, see Liberia’s judicial system or process to be controlled, dominated by politics; that there is no day-in a-court-of-law, with trial based on a known body of laws; and that Liberia’s judicial system or process has not improved, but degenerated over time. Hence, the United States will not permit extradition of its citizens to Liberia for trial in Liberian courts.
Adding insult top injury, it was Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf who, with her friendship and influence, convinced prominent, relevant officials of the US Government that Mr. Charles “Taylor would not get a fair trial in Liberia” (HotPepperLiberia, January 4, 2016). This was back in the early 1980s, while Mr. Taylor was being held in maximum security prison in the State of Massachusetts, USA, on extradition request for trial in Liberia on allegations of stealing millions of US dollars of public funds, as managing director of GSA. Mr. Taylor was released upon Mrs. Sirleaf’s influence, but and ended up as the planner-organizer-leader of Liberia’s historic tragedy, the Liberian civil war.
Indeed, the eyes, ears and concerns of Liberians, political analysts and pundits are fixed on the case of T. Nelson and others, highly-connected, socio-political wheelers-dealers accused of stealing public funds and for test, for the taste of Liberia’s Pudding, the Judicial Process.