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Saturday, July 13, 2024

LIBERIA: PRESIDENT FIRES OFFICIAL FOR INTERVENING IN FOREIGN MINISTER KEMAYAH’S SEX SCANDAL 

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MONROVIA – Dismissed Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Henry B. Fahnbulleh, has hinted that he was fired by President George Weah following his intervention into a lingering dispute over a sex scandal involving Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dee Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr. and a female staff, Madam Wynee Cummings Wilson, assigned at Liberia’s Permanent Mission at the United Nations.

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Henry B. Fahnbulleh, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister

On Wednesday, the Executive Mansion announced that President Weah had with immediate effect relieved Fahbulleh of his post as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

He was fired for administrative reasons, according to a statement released to the press by the Liberian presidency.

Well, barely a day following the announcement that he has been fired, Fahnbulleh has made public what he terms peripheral information regarding his dismissal, inferring as the reason for his dismissal, his recent intervention into the reported sex scandal at Liberia’s Permanent Mission at the UN, in which Madam Wilson accused Minister Kemayah of sexually harassing her while he was serving as the country’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations.

He recalled that on Monday, 6 November 2023, two days shy of his dismissal, in a live video recording; he intervened in a standoff between Wilson and some New York City police officers, who were acting upon the orders of Foreign Minister Kemayah, to prevent the female staff from accessing the office at the UN Permanent Mission.

“I did speak directly to the cops and introduced myself as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, whose key duties include the supervision of all foreign missions,” Fahnbulleh disclosed Thursday, pointing out that. it was noteworthy to mention that Ms. Cummings [Madam Wilson] had earlier accused Minister Kemayah of sexual harassment while he was serving as Liberia’s Permanent Representative at the UN.

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Liberia’s Foreign Minister, Dee Maxwell Saah Kemayah

The complaint of sexual harassment from Madam Wilson, according to Fahnbulleh, was formally lodged to him in September 2020, when he then served as Acting Minister, following the resignation of ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs Gbehzohngar M. Findley in July 2020.

He stated that in the exercise of his fiduciary responsibility, in his Monday video chat, he also spoke to the New York cops on the subject matter of sexual harassment as well.

Fahbulleh, who intimated that his dismissal did not come as a surprise to him, narrated that the day following his interaction with the U.S. police officers, he started receiving many calls, some of which he said came from those he described as the Liberian government’s senior functionaries, who have close ties with the presidency.

He declined to reveal the names of those senior functionaries of the Government, but quoted them as warning him to retract his statement to the New York cops, as such statement, in their view, did not only validate Madam Wilson’s allegation against Minister Kemayah, but that it “embarrassed” the Weah-led government.

He further narrated that some of the calls he received from the unnamed senior functionaries of the Government went up to midnight on Tuesday, 7 November, but he emphasized that he was in no mood to oblige to such request because his assertion to the New York Cops was a statement of fact.

“So, it did not come much as a surprise to me for President Weah to have wielded his constitutional powers to relieve me of my duties as the Principal Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs,” said Fahnbulleh, who has since extended his gratitude and appreciation to President Weah for the opportunity accorded him to have served in his administration from June 2019 to November 8, 2023, describing his time in government as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, as a wonderful experience.

Howbeit, the dismissed Deputy Minister stated that what baffled him, was the speed with which such dismissal action was taken by President Weah, when the simplest action to constitute an Independent Committee to probe into the myriad of similar sexual harassment allegations, which he said some of Liberia’s development partners have found credible and had taken actions, has been largely ignored.

“I believe that every man or woman must own up to his or her action. This is called accountability,” Fahnbulleh stated, in an apparent reference to the lingering sexual harassment sagas haunting Foreign Minister Kemayah, with the Weah administration exerting little or no concrete efforts to legally resolve same.

Fahnbulleh used the occasion to thank those he interacted with during the course of his service in the post of Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, indicating that he will cherish the fond memories he had with them.

To the staff in the Office of Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, who he referred to as being dedicated, the dismissed Deputy Minister informed that they were all excellent, wishing them the best of luck in their endeavors.

However, multiple sources have divulged to Smart News Liberia (SNL) that the real reason for Fahnbulleh’s dismissal is his refusal or reluctance to campaign for President Weah’s re-election for the 14 November presidential runoff election.

Our sources disclosed that having campaigned during the first round of the presidential contest held on 10 October, Fahnbulleh has since declined to do likewise for the runoff, a situation that allegedly angered Mr. Weah and some executive members of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change, with many branding him as a spy for the main opposition Unity Party, even accusing him of being one of the insiders within government that leak secrets of the administration to the opposition bloc.

Meanwhile, the Government of Liberia has announced that neither its Ministry of Foreign Affairs nor the Permanent Mission, is in possession of a copy of any appointment letter addressed to Wilson, noting that she is the only person at the Permanent Mission without an identification card because she has refused to submit any documentation to the Permanent Mission but rather has informed the “Mission to instruct the Ministry to employ her and not play game with her.”

Olando Testimony Zeongar
A cleric and a career journalist, with a wealth of experience in the journalism craft that spans over two decades. He’s also a poet and an editor.

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