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Liberia news

Weah wields power at CDC

Soccer star turned politician, Senator George Weah on Wednesday August 10, proved that he is in control of his political establishment when he nullified a decision taken by a handful of his officials to suspend three of the party’s sitting lawmakers.

National Secretary General Augustus Janga Kowo and the National Vice Chairman for Operations Mulbah Morlu announced the suspension Wednesday at the party’s headquarters in Monrovia during a news conference, indicating the CDC had earlier agreed to resist attempt to remove indicted Speaker Tyler, who is linked, along with several current and ex-officials to over US$950,000 alleged bribery from a British company, Sable Mining to amend Liberia’s concession law in favor of the company.

Those the officials said had been suspended include ex-secretary general Representative Moses Acarous Gray for supporting the removal of indicted Speaker Alex Tyler. The CDC executives had claimed that lawmakers involved in the Tyler removal received “brown envelops” from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to boot the Speaker out of office. The Executive Mansion has since dismissed the allegation, initially made by Tyler himself, as baseless.

But less than 24 hours after the officials announced the suspension at a news conference Sen. Weah rescinded the decision on grounds that the suspension was the work of a ‘few stalwarts of the party’.

The row over the pronounced clearly indicates that the party should be a government in waiting, does not speak with one voice on national issues with critics saying this could be disastrous for the country, if it were to assume national governance.

According to Messers Kowo and Morlu, those suspended by the party include; Representatives Acarous Gray of District#8, Munah Pelham Youngblood of District#9 and Julius Berrien of District#10, all of Montserrado County respectively.

But Weah through a live radio interview with the Liberia Broadcasting System said he believes in combating corruption and at no time will support anyone who is engaged in corrupt practices, hence, it makes no sense for him as head of the CDC to support suspension of lawmakers.

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He argued the action of the lawmakers at the Capitol is in furtherance of their functions as legislators and the party should understand. But the party national youth leader Jefferson Kojii said Weah is just an individual in the CDC, so his objection is groundless as the suspension is with the approval of all members of the national executive committee.

Speaker Tyler is alleged to have received US$75,000 as ‘consulting fees’ out of the US$950,000 bribe offered by Sable Mining, according to Global Witness. Since the release of the report, there have been mixed reactions characterized by political in-fights both in the CDC and among members of the House of Representatives, with some lawmakers opting for the Speaker to recuse himself from presiding over business, pending outcome of his trial, while others argue Tyler has violated no law that would warrant him stepping down.

Speaker Tyler’s alleged involvement in an earlier US$25,000 scandal from the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) in 2015 generated serious controversy. That matter was being investigated by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).

When the LACC announced the launch of an investigation into the US$25,000 scandal, linking Speaker Tyler and Representative Adolf Lawrence, the Capitol became very uncomfortable for the Speaker, particularly upon hearing news of a plot to remove him.

Tyler, having been arrested by Criminal Court “C” based on request by the Special Presidential taskforce constituted by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to investigate the Global Witness report, he presided over the House’s Plenary 24 hours later and appointed members of various working committees without any remorse.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor -Editing by Jonathan Browne

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