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Monday, June 17, 2024

LACC THROWS BOMB – CHARGES WEAH’S OFFICIALS WITH CORRUPTION

Date:

LIBERIA – The Liberia Anti-corruption Commission has charged with immediate effect several George Weah’s Officials with corruption; and forwarded to court for Prosecution.

SEE FULL TEXT BELOW

  • NEW CORRUPTION PREVENTION EFFORTS
  • The LACC is also still involved in corruption prevention efforts at public institutions. We have completed Risk Assessments at the following Institutions:
  • NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION REGISTRY
  • NATIONAL WASH COMMISSION

PUBLIC EDUCATION ON CORRUPTION

  • Public Education campaigns are taking place in the following counties:
  • Nimba
  • Bong,
  • Margibi,
  • Montserrado counties

THE LACC’S WORK ON PROSECUTION

  • On the prosecution front, The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission is increasing the prosecution of several cases around the country
  • We are currently dealing with 14 cases of corruption
  • They include:
  • Bong County- 3 cases
  • Lofa County- 1 case
  • Grand Cape mount County-1
  • Grand Bassa County-3
  • The rest of the cases are in Montserrado County

REPORTS ON INVESTIGATIONS

CASE#1: Investigative Report into Allegations Of corruption at the Ministry of Agriculture

Early this year the Liberia Anti-corruption Commission carried out series of intelligence operations at the Ministry of Agriculture following reports of corruption. Following these operations, the LACC immediately commenced corruption investigation. The basis of the investigation was to ascertain whether all legal requirements were satisfied in the award of government contracts to different companies including Fabrar and whether the Korean Value Chain project was properly management.

The LACC can now release the following after its investigative processes:

  1. On the contract with Fabrar, Hon. Jeannie M. Cooper in the discharge of her duties as Minister of Agriculture by knowingly awarding a contract valued at USD180,000.00 for the supply of 200 metric tons of 25 kg bags of rice to Fabrar Liberia, Inc.; a company in which she has vested interest and for which she is also a Beneficial Owner, be charged and prosecuted on the following statutes:
  • Section 1.3.6 (Conflict of Interest) of the National Code of Conduct for all Public Officials and Employees of the Government of Liberia.
  • Subchapter E (Abuse of Office), Section 12.72 (Speculating or Wagering on official action of information) of the Penal Law of Liberia.
  1. That, Hon. Jeanine M. Cooper, in the discharge of her duties as Minister of Agriculture by illegally relieving Mr. Raymond Ogunti as Director of the PMU/MOA (who had an existing two (2) year valid contract) without justifiable reasons and thus taking a unilateral decision in replacing him with Mr. Ansu Konneh against the expressed advised by the donor partners (WB, AfDB and IFAD); and for unilaterally awarding a contract to her relative (Zubin Cooper) as Consultant on the National Agriculture Fair (NAF) Program; be charged and prosecuted on the following statutes:
  • Section 1.3.6 (Conflict of Interest) of the National Code of Conduct for all Public Officials and Employees of the Government of Liberia.
  • Subchapter E (Abuse of Office) Section 12.70 (Official Oppression)
  1. That, Hon. Jeanine M. Cooper, in the discharge of her duties as Minister of Agriculture by knowingly providing false and misleading information to the Investigation that the second account opened at the LBDI was as a result of the first account opened at Ecobank being inconsistent with the PFM Law by not referring to the MFDP; knowing that her actual reason for taking such as decision was to get rid of the names of Hon. Precious Tetteh, Deputy Minister for Administration/MOA, and Mr. H. Nyounkpao Funnebo, Comptroller/MOA, and to be replaced with names of her chosen; be charged and prosecuted on the following statutes:
  • Subchapter B. (Perjury and Other Falsification in Official Matters),

        Section 12.30 (Perjury); and Section 12.31 (False Statements)

  1. That, the action of Hon. Jeanine M. Cooper and Mr. Bob Fassa, in the discharge of their duties as Minister of Agriculture, and Project Accountant/KOAFEC-MOA by knowingly and willfully expending the total of US$ 18,000.00 (US$ 2,000 + US$16,000) paid to both Curtis Jackson and Asatu Shannon under the pretext of services provided by them; and thus failing to provide any evidence of performance to account for or justify the expenditure of said amounts; be charged and prosecuted on the following statutes:
  • Subchapter D. (Theft and Related Offenses), Section 15.56 (Misapplication of Entrusted Property) of the Penal Law of Liberia.
  • Subchapter F. (Economic Sabotage), Section 15.80(c) (Fraud on the internal revenue of Liberia),
  • Subchapter F. (Economic Sabotage), Section 15.81 (Misused of Public Money, Property or Record) of the Penal Law of Liberia.
  • Subchapter F. (Economic Sabotage), Section 15.82 (Theft and/or Ill-legal Disbursement and Expenditure of Public Money) of the Penal Law of Liberia.
  • Section 10.4 (Criminal Conspiracy) of the Penal Law of Liberia
  1. That, Ansu Metzger, Joseph Toll Hinneh, and Theoway Nyema of the STAR-P/MOA, and Assistant Minister Earnest J. Clark and Mr. Randolph Kolleh, Director of Sectorial Coordination/MOA, Gro Green knowing fully well that the 500 pieces of Wheelbarrows under the CERC Project were paid for and never delivered; but misrepresented the facts as though the wheelbarrows were delivered and distributed; be charged and prosecuted on the following statutes:
  • Subchapter D. (Theft and Related Offenses), Section 15.56 (Misapplication of Entrusted Property) of the Penal Law of Liberia.
  • Subchapter F. (Economic Sabotage), Section 15.80(c) (Fraud on the internal revenue of Liberia),
  • Subchapter F. (Economic Sabotage), Section 15.81 (Misused of Public Money, Property or Record) of the Penal Law of Liberia.
  • Section 10.4 (Criminal Conspiracy) of the Penal Law of Liberia

CASE#2: Investigative Report into Allegations Of Financial Improprieties and Corruption at the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services

In March this year, the Liberia Anti-corruption Commission received reports of allegations of corruption at the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-information Services. The LACC immediately commenced investigations into these allegations.

Following a thorough investigation, the Commission is pleased to release the following findings:

That after a careful review and analysis of statements and documents obtained during investigation, the following are hereby recommended to wit:

  1. That, Wilmot Smith, Lawrence George, and Dominic Paye, respectively Deputy Director General for Information & Coordination, Deputy Director General for Administration, and Controller of LISGIS; acted negligently in the recruitment of both Avianet and Bluku Services Limited for the purpose of transportation and freight forwarding services to bring in 21,000 tablets and power banks and accessories to Liberia without adhering to the Public Procurement Laws of Liberia, as well as negligently failing to withhold taxes remit same to GOL revenue account; violated the following controlling Liberian laws
  • PART V of the PPCC Act titled Methods of Procurement with specific reference to the sections indicated below:
    • Section 53 titled Request for Quotations
    • Section 54 titled Basic Procedures for Request for Quotations
  1. That, Francis Wreh and Lawrence George in the discharge of their duties as Director General and Deputy Director General for Administration of LISGIS, having knowingly and willfully expended the amount of US$30,720.00 of public funds (intended for census related activities) for the purchase of a second-hand generator without adhering to the PPCC Law of Liberia; violated the following controlling Liberian laws:
  • PART V of the PPCC Act titled Methods of Procurement with specific reference to the sections indicated below:
    • Section 53 titled Request for Quotations
    • Section 54 titled Basic Procedures for Request for Quotations
  1. That, Mr. Francis F. Wreh, Mr. Lawrence George, and Mr. Dominic Paye, in the discharge of their duties as Director General, Deputy Director General for Administration, Deputy Director General for Information and Coordination, and Comptroller of LISGIS, having knowingly and willfully authorized the withdrawing and expending of the cumulative amount of US$70,000.00 of the Census fund (intended for census related activities) and failing to fully account for some percentage of said amount violated the following controlling Liberian laws:
  • Subchapter D of the Penal Code titled Theft and Related Offenses with specific reference to the indicated sections below:
    • Section 15.56 (Misapplication of Entrusted Property) of the Penal Law of Liberia
  • Subchapter F of the Penal Code Titled Economic Sabotage with specific reference to the indicated sections below:
    • Section 15.81 (Misused of Public Money, Property or Record) of the Penal Law of Liberia.
  1. That, Mr. Francis F. Wreh, Mr. Lawrence George, Mr. Wilmot Smith, and Mr. Dominic Paye, in the discharge of their duties as Director General, Deputy Director General for Administration, Deputy Director General for Information and Coordination, and Comptroller of LISGIS, having knowingly and willfully withdrawn and expanded the amounts of US$4,700; US$1,500, and US$2,640 (US$8,840.00) out of the Census account and paying to themselves and other staff extra compensation for performing tasks for which they were hired to do by Law, and for which they are being duly paid through monthly salary payment by the Government of Liberia, violated the following controlling Liberian laws:
  • Subchapter D of the Penal Code Titled Bribery and Intimidation with specific reference to the indicated section below:
    • Section 12.51 (Unlawful Rewarding of Public Servants) of the Penal Law of Liberia.
    • Section 12.52 (Unlawful Compensation for Assisting in Government Matters) of the Penal Law of Liberia.
  • Subchapter D of the Penal Code titled Theft and Related Offenses with specific reference to the indicated sections below:
    • Section 15.56 (Misapplication of Entrusted Property) of the Penal Law of Liberia.
  1. That, Mr. Francis F. Wreh, Mr. Lawrence George, and Mr. Dominic Paye, Germue Gbawoquiya, Emmentry Kpoeh, in the discharge of their duties as Director General, Deputy Director General for Administration, Deputy Director General for Information and Coordination, Comptroller, Deputy Census Coordinator of LISGIS, having knowingly and willfully withdrawing and expanding the total sum of US$4,250.00 (as stipulated in count-9.1) out of the Census account for which they cannot justify and account for; be charged and prosecuted on the following counts:
  • Subchapter D of the Penal Code titled Theft and Related Offenses with specific reference to the indicated sections below:
    • 51 (a) of the Penal Code titled Theft of Property
    • Section 15.56 (Misapplication of Entrusted Property) of the Penal Law of Liberia.
    • Section 10.4 (Criminal Conspiracy) of the Penal Law of Liberia.

CASE#3: Investigative Report Into Allegations Of Corruption And Financial Improprieties Involving the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC)

That based on the facts/findings mentioned from the investigation herewith recommends the following:

  1. That Moseray Momoh, having knowingly and willfully conspired with Officials of the Sesay Brothers Business Center Inc. in selling of assets (seven vehicles) of the GOL/LWSC as scraps for an amount of US$6,000.00 which he knew was not authorized and thereby converting the proceeds therefrom into their personal use; be charged and prosecuted on the following counts:
  • Subchapter D of the Penal Code titled Theft and Related Offenses with specific reference to the indicated sections below:
    • Section 15.51 (Theft of Property) of the Penal Law of the Republic of Liberia.
    • Section 15.56 (Misapplication of Entrusted Property) of the Penal Law of the Republic of Liberia.
  • Subchapter F of the Penal Code Titled Economic Sabotage with specific reference to the indicated sections below:
  • Section 15.81 (Misuse of public money, property, or record) of the Penal Law of the Republic of Liberia and
  • Section 10.4 (Criminal Conspiracy) of the Penal Law of the Republic of Liberia.
  1. That Mohammed Konneh, Ayouba Sesay and Ansu Konneh in their capacities as Managers of Sesay Brothers Business Center Inc., having knowingly and willfully conspired with Mosery Momoh, Deputy Managing Director for Administration of the LWSC, to clandestinely purchase assets (seven vehicles) of the GOL/LWSC as scraps for an amount of US$6,000.00 which they knew was not authorized and thereby converting same for  personal benefit and the benefit of his company; be charged and prosecuted on the following counts:
  • Subchapter D of the Penal Code titled Theft and Related Offenses with specific reference to the indicated sections below:
  • Section 15.51 (Theft of Property) of the Penal Law of the Republic of Liberia and
  • Section 10.4 (Criminal Conspiracy) of the Penal Law of the Republic of Liberia.   
  1. Finally, the LACC herewith recommends, that the Management of the LWSC put into place measures so as to ensure that cash collected by the implant tellers from the Eco Bank and the LBDI be deposited into the account of the LWSC on the same day or the next; and that the management should ensure regular and timely reconciliation of all accounts as provided for in section 27(3) of the PFM Law in order to have these discrepancies curtailed or minimized.

CASE#3: Investigative Report into Allegations Of Corruption And Financial Improprieties at Planned Parenthood Association of Liberia

In the latter part of last year, we received information from partners in civil society about allegations of corruption at the Planned Parenthood Association of Liberia. Following an exhaustive investigative process, we are pleased to report that:

Based upon findings of the Investigation herein above, the Team recommends the following:

  1. That, Miatta K.K. Cojolo, former Executive Director, Ernree Bee Neeplo, former Program Manager,  Ernest Vobah, former Finance and Administrative Manager, William Gibson, former HR Officer and Peter Collins, Board Vice Chairperson, all of PPAL, in the discharge of their duties as officials of PPAL, having knowingly conspired in organizing PEWETA Security Firm, with shares distributed amongst themselves, and thus hiring the same outside the requirements provided for in the PPCC Act, and paying to themselves the total of US$96,875.00 over the period 2013 to 2018; be charged and prosecuted on the following counts:
  • Subchapter F of the Penal Code Titled Economic Sabotage with specific reference to the indicated sections below:
  • Section 15.82 (Theft and/or illegal disbursement and expenditure of public money) of the Penal Law of Liberia.
  • Section 10.4 (Criminal Conspiracy) of the Penal Law of Liberia.

Part V of the PPCC Act titled Methods of Procurement with specific reference to the sections below:

Section 65 paragraph one (1) (violation of procurement requirements).          

  1. That, Madam Ernree Bee Neeplo , in the discharge of her duties as former Program Manager of PPAL, having knowingly used her position to influence the hiring of J&D Catering Service owned by her mother (Josephine Harris), without adhering to PPCC requirements, thus authorizing the disbursement of US$2,800.00 to Madam Harris; and as well as paying the amount of US$12,490.00 to her husband (Victor Neeplo) for the purchasing of ten (10) Laptops from Info Tech Fastrack, without adhering to requirements provided for in the PPCC Act; be charged and prosecuted on the following counts:
  • Subchapter E of the Penal Code titled Abuse of Office with specific reference to the indicated sections below:
    • 72 of the Penal Code titled Speculations and Wagering
  • PART V of the PPCC Act titled Methods of Procurement with specific reference to the sections indicated below:
    • Section 53 titled Request for Quotations
    • Section 54 titled Basic Procedures for Request for Quotations
  1. That, Miatta K.K. Cojolo, former Executive Director, Ernree Bee Neeplo, former Program Manager,  Ernest Vobah, former Finance and Administrative Manager,  all of PPAL; in the discharge of their duties as officials of PPAL, having knowingly and purposely conspired in the withdrawal of US$38,800.00 from the BMZ project account under the pretext of setting up a Youth Center, and thus diverting same towards the purchase of a vehicle (White Ford Everest)` SUV with VIN:MNCLS4D10BW321364 in the name of PPAL; and for subsequently changing the title of said vehicle from the Institution (PPAL) to the personal property of Miatta K.K. Cojolo, be charged and prosecuted on the following counts:
  • Subchapter D of the Penal Code titled Theft and Related Offenses with specific reference to the indicated sections below:
    • Section 15.56 (Misapplication of Entrusted Property) of the Penal Law.
    • Section 15.70 (Forgery and Counterfeiting) of the Penal Law of Liberia.
    • Section 10.40 (Criminal Conspiracy) of the Penal Law of Liberia.
  • Subchapter F of the Penal Code Titled Economic Sabotage with specific reference to the indicated sections below:
  • 80 (e) Fraud on the internal revenue of Liberia
  • 82 Theft and/or illegal disbursement and expenditure of public money

Ladies and Gentlemen of the press and our Foreign and Local Partners, the Liberia Anti-Corruption is submitting these investigative reports to the Ministry of Justice in keeping with section11.1 & 2 of the August 2008 Act creating the Commission.

It is our hope therefore, that the Ministry of Justice will act speedily and swiftly to bring to justice those who the investigations have found culpable.

As the LACC continues to work in combating corruption, we are calling for the passage of the following enabling legislations so that corruption can be fought at all levels of the society. The Legislations include:

  1. Direct Prosecutorial powers
  2. Specialize Court for Corruption
  3. Witness Protection
  4. Whistleblower Act
  5. Complete eradication of the Statute of limitation
  6. And an amendment to section 10.2 of the Code of Conduct to allow the LACC to be the sole repository of all Assets declared

Additionally, the Liberia Anti-corruption Commission will continue to work with sisterly countries within the ambit of existing legal frameworks for the repatriation of those wanting for acts of corruption in Liberia. There should be absolutely no save heaven for those who corrupt the system and flee to other countries for shelter.

This is why as Vice President of West African Anti-corruption Body, I am working with colleagues to ensure that nowhere in West Africa will be safe for anyone who cheats the system in any ECOWAS Country.

Again, on behalf of the Board of Commissioners, I sincerely extend thanks to those public officials from the affected Ministries and Agencies for availing themselves for these investigations.

It is my anticipation that all public officials will always respond to the LACC’s invitation on issues that border on corruption investigations.

In conclusion, I want to thank our Partners for responding to our invitation.

I thank you.

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