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Anti-Corruption Task Force arrests, bails top gov't officials

Jos Garneo Cephas (garneo69@gmail.com):886720434
The Unity Party, Varney Sherman, House Speaker, Alex Tyler and former Deputy Lands, Mines & Energy Minister, Ernest C.B. Jones and Businessman, Chris Onunuga.
The Unity Party, Varney Sherman, House Speaker, Alex Tyler and former Deputy Lands, Mines & Energy Minister, Ernest C.B. Jones and Businessman, Chris Onunuga.

MONROVIA, LIBERIA-The Government of Liberia has indicted several individuals for their alleged involvement in the bribery allegations contained in the recent Global Witness report on Liberia.

Information Minister, Eugene Nagbe, confirmed the Wednesday, May 25, 2016 indictment on the Chairman of the ruling Unity Party, Varney Sherman, House Speaker, Alex Tyler and former Deputy Lands, Mines & Energy Minister, Ernest C.B. Jones and Businessman, Chris Onunuga.

Minister Nagbe said: “The action was based on indictment from Criminal Court-C, ordering the arrest of Cllr. Varney Sherman, Speaker Alex Tyler and Messrs. Chris Onunuga and Ernest C. B. Jones for bribery, economic sabotage and criminal facilitation charges.”

He said Cllr. Sherman, Speaker Tyler and others were released on bail by the court and filed US$1.5m and US$150,000 bonds, respectively in keeping with Criminal Procedure Laws of Liberia.

Agents of the Special Presidential Anti-Corruption Task Force, earlier in the morning hours  of the same day picked up the ruling Unity Party’s Chairman Cllr. Varney  Sherman and other officials as well as Mr. Ernest C.B. Jones, a former Deputy Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy from their home, along with Business man, Mr. Chris Onunuga.

While the Task Force, also went into hot pursuit of Speaker Alex Tyler, who later reported himself at the court.
The Special Presidential Task Force comprises the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and the Ministry of Justice.

It was constituted recently by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf with a mandate to investigate the London-based Global Witness’ alleged $950,000 corruption report, linking leading Liberian officials in favor of Sable Mining Company of Great Britain.

The report also unearthed that Sable Mining’s interest in a concession rights to mine iron from Liberia’s Wologizi Mountain involving Cllr. Sherman alleged that the bribe was intended to repeal certain portion of the Concession Laws of Liberia.

It also alleged that some Liberian Government officials, including Speaker Tyler received $75,000 as consultation fees and the former Chairman of the National Investment Commission, Richard Tolbert, allegedly received $50,000 as fees for another consultancy.

According to the report, other individuals also linked to the Global Witness’ corruption scandal includeMorris Saytumah andthe Chairman of the Public Procurement Concession Commission, Willie Belleh, allegedly received 50, 00 and 10, 000 United States Dollars, respectively.

Meanwhile, it is not clear in the report to confirm the names of the individuals who allegedly received the biggest chunks of US$250,000 each and only referred to them as “BIG BOY-01” and “BIG BOY–02.

 


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