MDCL Calls for Legislative Inquiry

The Perspective

November 15, 2001

Editor’s Note: Amid startling revelations appearing in the November 2, 2001, Edition of the Washington Post, linking the Taylor regime to the Osama bin Laden al Qaeda terrorist network, including its illicit trade in diamonds with the RUF rebels of Sierra Leone, the Movement of Democratic Change (MCDL), has written the Liberian national legislature through the Speaker of the House, Hon. Nyundueh Morkonmana , calling for an inquiry into this matter. The full text of the letter is published below:

The Movement for Democratic Change in Liberia (MDCL) wishes to call your attention to the story The Washington Post carried on Friday, November 2, 2001 implicating Liberian government officials at the highest level of direct involvement in the illegal diamond trade between Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and the al Qaeda terrorist network. Below, for your consideration, Mr. Speaker, is a synopsis of the revelation in the Washington Post story:

• Senior RUF commanders often take packets of diamonds to Liberia. There, at safe houses protected by the Liberian government, the diamonds are exchanged for briefcases of cash. The diamond dealers are escorted by special state security through customs and immigration control each time they fly in and out of Monrovia.

• Sources in the diamond trade estimate that the RUF receives less than 10 percent of the market value for the diamond it sells. Taylor, who is president of Liberia, receives a commission on every transaction in Monrovia. Taylor repeatedly has denied involvement in illicit diamond dealings.

• By the summer of 2000, Ossailly had moved to Monrovia, the Liberian capital, to oversee Bah and Nassur’s diamond operation, according to people who knew them. He stayed until April.

• Last January, Bah and the diamond buyers signed a three-year lease on a four-bedroom house in Monrovia.

• Nassur, according to the sources, is usually met at the airport by senior Liberian security officials and escorted through the VIP lounge without going through immigration or customs formalities.

Against the background of similar charges by the United States, Great Britain, and a number of international organizations and human rights groups including, but not limited to the United Nations, Global Witness, International Transport Workers Federation, which resulted in the imposition of sanctions against the government of Liberia in May of 2001, this current revelation represents an ominous and significant indictment against Mr. Taylor’s government. It should be seen, expressly for the interest of the people of Liberia, as the straw that broke the camel’s back

Apropos of this potentially damning allegation, the MDCL expresses its utter concern not only at the impact the Washington Post story may have on how ordinary Liberians are perceived, but also at the continual soiling of Liberia’s image by the unlawful activities of certain highly placed government officials. We find the unfading dark clouds cast over the sovereignty of the nation as a result of accusations of unbridled criminal activities by certain government officials unwarranted and disturbing. Moreover, we are deeply concerned about these alleged criminal activities and the constitutional crisis they may portend for an already fragile nation.

In this respect, Mr. Speaker, we want you to know that the MDCL is extremely displeased by this shocking allegation, which, from all indications, seems credible and overwhelming. Furthermore, the MDCL views these alleged criminal activities on the part of those who have been entrusted to enforce the law as well as the damage they do to the institutions of government, particularly the executive branch, as a serious violation of the constitution of the Republic of Liberia. For this purpose, we call on you and the Liberian Legislature to act swiftly to institute an inquiry into the alleged criminal conduct of the Taylor government and the possible violation of the Liberian constitution.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, the gravity of this allegation demands your utmost cooperation and prompt action in the interest of the nation. In doing so, your leadership and the role of the judiciary in addressing this great shame that paints an ugly picture of our nation cannot be overstated. As a nation of laws, we encourage you to accord Mr. Charles Taylor the courtesy and due process to vindicate himself and his government. By the same token, Mr. Speaker, we will support an immediate institution of impeachment proceedings against Mr. Taylor to save the nation in the event he refuses to cooperate. Only when the law takes its course will the world know that Mr. Taylor’s alleged conduct and criminal activities of his government officials do not represent the people of Liberia.

Thank you.


Nohn Rebecca Kidau, Chairperson, MDCL

cc: The Liberian Senate

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