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Saturday, July 20, 2024

JOURNALIST URGES PRESIDENT BOAKAI TO ADDRESS CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS AGAINST LABOR MINISTER KRUAH

Date:

MONROVIA – The Minister of Labor, Cllr. Cooper Kruah, is reportedly entangled in allegations of corruption, conflict of interest, and illegal dismissals, creating a significant embarrassment for the administration of President Joseph Boakai. This controversy has led to Liberian journalist Paul Kanneh cautioning the President to act decisively.

In a statement issued on Friday, June 21, under the title “The Labor Ministry’s Saga and Why I Think the President Should Act,” Konneh addressed President Boakai directly, urging him to reconsider the appointments made at the Labor Ministry. He wrote, “Dear Uncle Joseph Boakai, I have come to encourage you to properly look into the appointments you made at the Labor Ministry. I have not come to believe that you are not in control of appointments. Rather, I have come to believe you are overwhelmed with national issues, and hence, you do not have the time to cross-check all including recommendations for appointments.”

Konneh highlighted that of the 11 presidential appointments at the Labor Ministry, none have institutional knowledge of the Ministry, and seven individuals are from the same ethnic group. He argued that this imbalance could lead to biased decision-making based on ethnic solidarity.

Earlier, civil society activist Martin Kollie exposed Minister Kruah’s alleged corrupt dealings in a commentary. Kollie stated, “Labor abuse is everywhere across various mines and plantations. Unfortunately, Minister Cooper Kruah is at the center of protecting the illicit interests of foreign nationals, including illegal Chinese miners, who are exploiting the natural resources of Liberia.”

Kollie further noted that Kruah was previously investigated and found guilty by the Grievance and Ethics Committee of the Supreme Court for committing financial fraud and theft against a client, violating Rule 15 of the Code of Moral and Professional Ethics. Kruah was mandated to repay over US$105,000.

Kruah now faces fresh allegations, including protecting foreign nationals in exchange for kickbacks, conflicts of interest, and illegal dismissals. Kollie’s commentary detailed accusations from Charles Brown, Labor Inspector of Liberia, who claimed Kruah protected foreign companies and nationals, including Chinese miners operating without work permits in Gbarpolu County.

On June 14, 2024, a team of labor inspectors, accompanied by law enforcement, discovered 11 illegal Chinese miners in Gbarpolu without work permits. When the team sought to enforce labor laws, they were instructed by Assistant Minister Emmanuel Zorh to disengage, as the mine was referred to as Minister Kruah’s “pepper bush.” Following their refusal to comply, Minister Kruah allegedly dismissed the inspectors without adhering to due process, violating the 2012 Standing Orders of the Civil Service Agency.

Kollie condemned Kruah’s actions, stating, “These ‘dismissed’ civil servants were never granted due process. We call on Minister Kruah to reinstate them or else, we will proceed to court. They were doing their job. They were never employed to protect your ‘pepper bush’. They were employed to protect Liberia’s interests.”

The dossier, including findings from the inspectorate team, dismissal letters, and evidence of the illegal miners, has been uploaded for review. Kanneh concluded, “CHANGE means CHANGE. RESCUE means RESCUE. It must be done differently. It cannot be business as usual.”

The ball is now in President Boakai’s court to address these serious allegations and restore integrity to the Labor Ministry.

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