Speaker Snowe Must Resign And Face Embezzlement Charges: Read The Asset Recovery Task Force Report on the Snowe Era LPRC

By Gbe Sneh

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
January 15, 2007


Edwin Snowe
Shortly before the convening of the 52nd Legislature, what started as a mere “wini-wini” on the sidewalks and inside “tonbo” (palm wine) bars, and ultimately turned into an uproar, is the airing of the intensions of some members of the House to force their not-so- honorable leader, the Speaker of the House, Mr. Edwin Melvin Snowe, Jr. to step down.

What a turn of events, as some of us are baffled by the breaking of ranks with a Speaker that was overwhelmingly voted in amid strong objections by the public, thanks to Mr. Snowe’s flagrant self enrichment while at the helm of the Liberian Petroleum Refining Corporation. Reasons for the three-sixty degree turnaround are not forthcoming from the House. All we are reading is a label of incompetence tagged onto the tip of Mr. Snowe’s “monkey-tail” black coat that he wore at the swear-in ceremonies of the House. Or, was it at the inauguration?

We are still waiting for these honorable members of the House unimpressed by Mr. Snowe’s gavel handling skills to define “incompetence”. Since these disgruntled members are wasting time to come forward with what’s on their mind, and since their chirping has alerted us of a possible looming disarray at our national congress, some of us are impatient to be let in on what is lurking on the corridors of our House. After all, it is a governance issue, and we do not want to be kept in the dark.

With knowledge about unfolding events on the ground, we really need not wait for “incompetence” to be defined., as the use of the word could very well be a gentleman’s substitute for “conduct unbecoming of a public figure“. We surely can offer some help to the Honorable Members of the House to cite reasons why Mr. Snowe must step down IMMEDIATELY. All we need to do is to direct our representatives’ attention to the audit findings of the combined engagement by the UN Panel of Experts, Ernst & Young, and our own Monbo & Company. It has unveiled a Collusion Quartet anchored by LPRC Director, Hon. Edwin Melvin Snowe, Jr.

Let me present to you the LPRC Collusion Quartet of Olivia Mussa, LPRC Chief Cashier turned mule; G. Andy Quamie (modern day version of Jimmy Barrolle), Special Assistant to the Managing Director; Siaka A. Sherif, Comptroller (rubberstamp man); and of course, the Director himself, Edwin Melvin Snowe, Jr. (banker/divider). Together they conducted a simple scheme where the director gets hungry, or should we say, greedy, calls the comptroller to “do” a check payable to Olivia Mussa, the courier mule. She runs the check-cashing errand and relays the green bundle to Quamie, who in turn finishes the job by passing the bundle to a waiting Snowe. Poof, the money disappears. If only they could wipe the trail clean, that is having access to the banks and destroying cancelled checks, they would be home free.

Our saving grace: they did not have such powers. So it is, that they left a blazing trail of check cashing supported by you-make-it-up disbursement reasons - from Mr. Gyude Bryant needing seventy-five thousand US dollars to tour virtually inaccessible Southeastern Liberia, to bribes to influence ghost Legislative bills. We are curious to know how much the hotel bill was in Barclaysville when Mr. Bryant stayed overnight.. Very simple, but that’s how we were ripped for millions of woefully needed reconstruction US Green Bundles. The chronicle of theft acts is detailed in the audit report on LPRC during the NTGL. A copy of the report is carried by the Perspective, under the title, LPRC Asset Recovery Task Force, Please read it; it makes the European Commission Audit look like child’s play. It even has copies of some of the fat checks. Don’t miss it.

Just click the hyperlink and scroll down to the appendix of the report and you will see a signature so intricately crafted affixed to fat LPRC checks. Don’t miss how Mr. Snowe appends the “Jr.” title to the insignia. The number “2”, the last character, yes, that Jr. for you. I am so bemused, I have five dollars for anyone who can forge that signature. You know what that means. Mr. Snowe must rule out any forged signature defense in court. It simply would not fly.

There is a clear distinction between the European Commission Audit and the just concluded UN audit. Up front, the EC audit stressed in its term of reference that its job was not to fix any blame. Thus, it was conducted solely to help identify and plug loopholes in the revenue collection and disbursement practices of government agencies It is not surprising then, that it was very high on complaints about lack of paper trail, and as a result, was shallow on documented evidence. The Asset Recovery Task Force audit, on the other hand, went the extra mile in trailing bogus checks from their authorizing phase to their issuance. This audit went further to secure very useful supporting testimonies to back up unveiled financial improprieties. We intend for this audit to fix blame, and to be followed by indictments. It is a job well done, we are delighted to add.

With the Asset Recovery Task Force report, the House can justify its request to the Speaker to step down. Forget the beating-around-the-bush “incompetence” tag. That’s the least the House can do to discard disrepute brought unto it, not by an outsider, but by its very own leader. The House must act quickly to earn the credit for bringing down Snowe or it stands to yield that feat to the law that will be indicting the Speaker, soon.

This concludes the House’s version of what must transpire in view of the audit report.

We now focus on the broader picture of Snowe the person, not the Speaker. We demand justice, a full recovery of our cash looted by the LPRC Collusion Quartet. Ministry of Justice, are you there? We are all looking up to you to recover our needed cash and to severely punish this quartet. Anything short of that would be unacceptable.

Our president is on record for hinting that we are having problems fighting corruption when she cited unavailability of evidence as the key stumbling block. This latest audit report, then, should bring some relief to Madame President, to all Liberians, to our development partners. The report must be published in the local papers; everyone in congress must have a copy; all public advocacy groups must take possession of copies of it; a copy should be read to the Market Women’s Group; all religious leaders need to include excerpts in their sermons and teachings. We are hoping our High Schools include CURRENT EVENTS in their Social Studies classes. They also need copies of this landmark, high profile audit findings case.

It is a classic case of what a blow corruption, if left unchecked, can deal a nation. That a person gets away with looting the people’s money, uses that same money to bribe his way to the third topmost position in the land should be a lesson on what corruption is capable of breeding. A strong case must be made that on one, absolutely no one, can hide behind any public position to commit crimes against society, at any time, even when the nation is experiencing a state of anarchy..

Madame President, while we are looking to our elected representatives to cleanse the House, the responsibility is ultimately yours to see that the Liberian people get justice. Please spring your Justice Ministry into action once more. Have it schedule a trial on the docket by coming up with indictments soon in the morning.

As for Mr. Snowe, what he has done amounts to a villainous act. Think of the thousands of poor people who had to work without pay checks, while he systematically signed fat checks to loot funds that could have helped civil service workers feed their families. He has taken advantage of, and made a complete mockery of a once weak system. That makes him a villain. The awakened system must now fight back, and the only thing good for a villain is vilification. He must be forced to resign IMMEDIATELY, and wait for his date with the courts.

© 2007 by The Perspective
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