By John S. Morlu, II,
Washington DC Metro, USA
I reported yesterday, providing sufficient, appropriate and material evidence that former dismissed Director General of GSA, Pearine Davis-Parkison has been nominated as Ambassador at Large. In response, the President has set up a Special Presidential Committee to "further investigate" the findings of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) on Dismissed Officials. Interestingly, officials of Justice and Information ministries have said the GAC reports need further investigation; the President has turned the corner on them. The President says she too does not trust the Minister of Justice and her team. So she is asking for "further investigation" on Ministry of Justice findings on dismissed officials.
Let the "further investigation" continue, while Rodney Sieh remains in jail for 5,000 years and FrontpageAfrica is closed down for exposing corruption documented in official audit reports, in spite of universal condemnation of his incarnation and shutting down of FrontPageAfricaby the Government of Liberia, a government headed by Nobel Laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Yesterday evening, I received another phone call from the Mansion telling me that the President has established a Special Presidential Committee to" further investigate" issues causing the dismissal of GSA Director Pearine Davis Parkinson. I said why investigate when the President has ignored the "evidence she reviewed" to cause her to fire the GSA boss.
The Letters indicate: "PRESIDENTIAL COMMITTEE TO FUTHER INVESTIGATE MOJ FINDINGS ON DISMISSED OFFICIALS." Email Address: email@example.com. Cell number: 0880 619 617 or 0886 516 416.
No official letter head, gmail email address, no terms of reference attached......this kind of letter would go straight into my waste paper basket. But in Liberia, Special Presidential Committees' activities are carried out via gmail.com.
The letters are written by John K. Wonsehleay, Esq. Mr. Wonsehleay serves as Reporteur to the Committee. Interestingly, the President is investigating Ministry of Justice (MOJ) Findings? See attached letter. At 2:11 PM while at lunch, I called and spoke to Mr. Wonsehleay. I requested a copy of the MOJ Findings on Dismissed Officials. He confirmed the Special Presidential Investigation. He suggested that I go to the hearing to get a copy of the MOJ findings. I told him I will send someone for it; kind wondered whether he did not know I am in USA.
Barely five minutes after we ended our first conversation, Mr. Wonsehleay called me back and asked, "which John Morlu are, are you the GAC John Morlu?" I said I was the former Auditor General, not GAC John Morlu. And he said in a rather polite tune, "I am not supposed to be talking to you on this issue. This matter is confidential. I am only executing a mandate. We are only inviting Commissions to share light on the case."
I said to him I understand. And then he said, "but what is your interest in this matter?" I asked him the following questions: Do you know Pearine Davis-Parkison was dismissed by the President for violation of laws and financial malpractices, and he said, "yes." Do you know she has been nominated as Ambassador at Large, and he said, "I heard it she was appointed." I told him I was doing a follow up article regarding the nomination of the dismissed GSA boss, and then he replied again, "I am just executing a mandate from the President." He informed me that he has to get off the phone as his minutes had ran out.
I texted him to remind him that I will send someone to get the copy of the 'MOJ Findings on Dismissed Officials' which his Committee is investigating. He texted me back to say I should call him so we can talk. I called him and he asked me whether I have called the Ministry of Justice to get a copy of the report? I said yes but the office of the Deputy Minister for Economic Crimes indicated no such report existed on "Dismissed Officials." And then he became satirical and said, "How did you know about the investigation?" I said someone from the Mansion told me yesterday. He told me, "Mr. AG, you are more privy to information than me." We laughed and I told him I will stay in touch. He was very professional and courteous, coming off as just a professional trying to "execute a Presidential mandate."
The letters of invitation states that "recently, the President of Liberia, Her Excellency, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appointed a three member committee headed by Hon. Commany B. Wesseh, Minister of State without Portfolio, and including Counselor Laveli Supuwood and Mrs. Mariama Browne to do an investigation into the matter relating to the dismissal of the Director General of the General Services Agency."
On Monday, 8th July 2013, an Executive Mansion Release stated, " President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has dismissed the Auditor-General of the General Auditing Commission (GAC), Robert Kilby and the Director-General of the General Services Agency (GSA), Ms. Pearine Davis-Parkinson, for non-compliance with, or violation of, public financial management and procurement laws. President Sirleaf, in a brief nationwide address,said that after reviewing documentary evidence, “I am today formally requesting the concurrence of the Honorable Legislature to dismiss the Auditor General, Robert Kilby, for failure to disclose private business activities that represent a clear conflict of interest with his official duties as Head of the institution with prime responsibility to investigate and advise on non-compliance with our public financial management and procurement laws.For the same reason, the Liberian leader said, she has dismissed the Director General of the GSA, Ms. Pearine Davis-Parkinson, who approved those contracts in violation of the country’s procurement laws and procedure."
Saturday, 7th September 2013, the initial Press Release published on the Executive Mansion website showed that under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, President Sirleaf nominated " Pearine Davis-Parkinson - Ambassador - at - Large."
The President stated that "after reviewing documentary evidence" she has sacked Mrs. Parkison "who approved those contracts in violation of the country’s procurement laws and procedure." But then the President turned around and nominated Mrs. Parkison as Ambassador. The nomination was exposed on 10 September 2013. On the same day, this Special Presidential Committee is announces itself and began work to investigate findings from the Ministry of Justice in a criminal matter, actions the President determined violated "country’s procurement laws and procedure."
This Special Presidential Committee is clearly an attempt to justify the nomination of the dismissed GSA Director. It is almost a certainty that Mrs. Davis Parkison will be cleared of all of the charges and she will go on to sue media houses for libel, asking for $12 million judgment. After all, she has been already nominated as Ambassador.
Where in the world does a President set up a Special Committee to "further investigate" the findings of the Minister of Justice/Attorney General. In our system of democracy, Minister of Justice/Attorney General's findings on matters of law and corruption was superior to an adhoc Presidential Committee.
Other Special Presidential Committees with no actions include: Dunn Commission Report, Knuckle Gate II Corruption Email Scandal, Nagbalee Warner's Commission on Carbon Harvesting Report, Ndobor Jallah's Commission on Private Use Permit Report, Western Cluster Contract Investigative Committee, Justice Minister's Investigative Committee on Zakhem Contract. Other reports are Tiawon Gongloe' Commission Report, Dr. Boima Fahnbulleh's Commission Report, and Tipoteh's Commission Report.
Commany Wesseh is the husband of Medina Wesseh. Medina Wesseh was indicted in the Dunn Commission investigation and the Commission recommended her prosecution for conflict of interest. Medina Wesseh was also implicated in the Private Use Permit scandal, a syndicated fraud in the forestry concessions reported by Global Witness, U.N. Panel of Experts and Ndobor Jallah's Special Presidential Commission.
Commany Wesseh and Medina Wesseh are also implicated in the GAC audits report on the County Development Fund in River Gee County, wherein they created a company which was paid to perform construction work in the county but never performed. Mr. Wesseh, in 2010, threatened a lawsuit against the Auditor General and the GAC.
Mr. Wesseh is heading a Special Presidential Committee to further investigate Justice Ministry's findings? Liberia is an interesting place. As the late journalist Tom Kamara put it “This too is Liberia.”
I wish journalists in Liberia could follow up with the Minister of Justice to get the Justice Minister's Findings and Committee members to get more details on why only investigate the case of Pearine Davis Parkison. In January 2010, in her State of the Nation Address, President Sirleaf reported that more than 21 officials have been dismissed for corruption.
Why not investigate the dismissals of Dr. J. Chris Toe, Mr. Harry Greaves, Mr. Ambulai Johnson, Mr. Chris Bailey, Mr. Lawrence Bropleh, Mr. Albert Bropleh, Ms. Munah Sieh, Ms. Ellen Cockrum, Mr. Aloysius Jappah, and a long list of other officials and civil servants dismissed for corruption and violation of law, etc.
Minister of Information, Deputy Minister of Information, Minister of Justice/Attorney General, Solicitor General of Liberia and the Deputy Minister of Justice for Economic Crimes have denounced GAC audits. These officials have argued that audit reports by the General Auditing Commission are "unprofessional" and require "further investigations" before prosecution. Liberians, the GAC, the National Legislature, Liberty Party and the international community have all rubbished the claims of these government officials, with the Legislature calling these statements "troubling and misguided." The President, too, says Justice Ministry's Findings need "further investigation."
Justice Ministry signed 68 concessions. But Moore Stephens' audit shows that only 2 of the 68 concessions were legal. The remaining 66 or 97% were illegal and marred with irregularities. No one has been held accountable.
The same Justice Minister headed a Presidential investigation that determined that former Managing Director Harry Greaves and Presidential Advisor Aloysius Jappah committed a crime of bribery. Instead of going ahead to further prosecute them, the Justice Ministry said she was waiting for direction from the President and the Board of Directors. Giving the current trend, the President is likely to set up another Special Presidential Commission to investigate Justice Minister's Findings in the Zakhem Contract Scandal. Mr. Greaves could get lucky and get a new appointment.
God bless Rodney Sieh and FrontPageAfrica and all the auditors, media professionals, student groups and civil society actors that are risking libel lawsuits to uncover and expose public enemy number one...corruption. In the absence of prosecution and the recycling of dismissed corrupt officials, you have a significant risk exposure.