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For corruption probe: Presidential Taskforce constituted

Patrick Flomo/Joseph T. Koon
House Speaker , Alex Tyler  and  Cllr. Varney Sherman being accused by Global Witness.
House Speaker , Alex Tyler and Cllr. Varney Sherman being accused by Global Witness.

MONROVIA, LIBERIA-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has constituted a Taskforce to investigate the just published Global Witness report on Liberia.

Global Witness, in the report,  alleged that it has uncovered over US$950,000 in bribes and other suspicious payments by a UK mining firm, Sable Mining, through its Liberian lawyer, Cllr. Varney Sherman, to past and current officials of government to have the company get hold of the concession for Mount Wologizi in Lofa County.

According to an Executive Mansion release, the task force is headed by the Minister of State Without Portfolio, Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa, along with a team of lawyers from the Ministry of Justice, including the Solicitor General, Cllr. Betty LaminBlamo.

The Task Force is also charged with the responsibility to investigate and resolve all allegations contained in current and past GAC reports.

The Liberian leader is also urging all individuals named in the report to submit to and cooperate fully with the investigation.

President Sirleaf has also written British Prime Minister, David Cameron, requesting the British Government to cooperate and assist in the investigation because of the involvement of a UK company in the Global Witness report.

The President said: “The report reveals the fact that the real purveyors of corruption are those predatory investors.”
“They rely on the weaknesses of some officials and the vulnerability of poor countries to carry out dubious business transactions while being harbored by rich countries,” she noted.

She called on the leaders of “rich and powerful countries to use this matter involving Sable Mining to take strong punitive actions against criminal- minded individualswho export corruption to African countries.

President Sirleaf emphasized: “Foreign businessmen and corporations are allegedly involved in the payments of bribes must also be investigated and prosecuted by their respective governments.”

Meanwhile, the Government of Liberia says it has formally requested Global Witness to make available all pieces of evidence cited in its report to assist the Task Force in the investigation.

In a letter to Global Witness, Information Minister, Eugene Nagbe, said: “The Government of Liberia is concerned about these grave allegations of bribery and corruption and therefore formally requests Global Witness to make available all pieces of evidence on this matter.”

“Such information from Global Witness would place government in the better position to take appropriate actions to investigate and prosecute if a violation of the laws of Liberia is determined,” Minister Nagbe noted.

He said: “Transparency and anti-corruption watchdog organizations must transcend from merely making allegations in reports to adducing evidence to concerned authorities for appropriate legal action to be taken.”

 


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