The US-based International Justice Group (IJG), has accused former Minister of Finance now Senator of Gbarpolu County, Amara Mohamed Konneh of embezzlement, amounting to hundreds of millions of United States dollars from the coffers of the Government of Liberia (GoL).
In a recent statement released to the press, the IJG, which emphasized a paradigm shift in the governance process of Liberia from the old Liberia to a new one, is demanding that immediate actions within the confines of the law be taken against Konneh and others, who the group named “bad actors in Government.”
The IJG asserts that the new Liberia it envisages should be a nation where justice, accountability, and public sector integrity thrive, insisting that Konneh and others it accuses of indulging in what it terms triple evils of corruption, impunity, and disregard for the rule of law, be countered by the institution of justice, accountability, and adherence to the principles of the rule of law.
On a long list of individuals the International Justice Group labels “bad actors in government”, the IJG places Konneh atop such list in spot number one, accusing him of being involved in an elaborate embezzlement scheme undertaken to siphon hundreds of millions of United States dollars out of the public treasury, when he was appointed in July 2014, as Liberia’s first Minister of Finance and Development Planning, having previously served concurrently as Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs and Minister of Finance from January 2012 to June 2015, during the reign of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
Under Konneh’s watch as Minister of Finance, the IJG alleges that several fake companies such as IKE BUSINESS, OR I MAY INC, SAROSA, RED TRACK PROFESSIONAL, DUKE ENTERPRISES, and PRIMARY INC., were registered to facilitate the embezzlement scheme.
The group further claims that even though these fake companies were registered with the Liberian Business Registry, they evaporated into thin air once the scheme was halted after investigators closed up on them.
James Kollie, Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs at the time, and Mr. Sekou Sannoh, the Comptroller General then, were authorized signors of elaborate amounts such as US$3m, 1.1m, US$0.5M, LD$21M, LD$43.5M, according to the IJG, which pointed out that these shady financial transactions are just the tip of the iceberg.
During the period Konneh served as Minister of Finance, the IJG avers that millions of US Dollars checks were authorized and signed by Dr. Joseph Kollie.
While Konneh did not sign these vouchers and checks but Dr. James Kollie did, the IJG alleges that Konneh acquiesced as head of the Ministry of Finance to what it described as this fraudulent scheme that the group maintains was executed under Konneh’s watch.
The International Justice Group noted that without doubt, the scheme where checks involving millions of US Dollars were authorized and signed by Dr. Joseph Kollie, was done with Konneh’s tacit consent, approbation, and approval.
A request for a response sent by Smart News Liberia (SNL) to Konneh, was not replied.