The recent revelation by The Perspective magazine that Willie Belleh, Director of the Cabinet and the Chief of Staff to Liberian Interim Leader Charles Gyude Bryant, and the other officers at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) lucratively rewarded themselves in the midst of the abject poverty in Liberia is appalling and unconscionable.
The Perspective magazine revealed that Governor Elie E. Saleeby paid himself almost $13,000 monthly while his deputy; Sandie Cooper collected about $10,000 monthly in salary and benefits from the central bank. Members of the Board of Directors including Willie Belleh, Dr. Charles Clarke and the former Finance Minister Nathaniel Barnes, Hilary A. Dennis’ replacement on the board collected $20,000 a piece yearly, plus benefits. Hilary A. Dennis, a former board member is said to have pocketed $45,000 in severance pay. What was the value of these compensations to the Liberian economy in view of the instability in Liberia during the Taylor regime?
What is even more appalling about the whole compensation scheme is Willie Belleh and Dr. Charles Clarke who claim to be opposition politicians participated in the fleecing of Liberia at the time when there was complete economic collapse in Liberia and the Taylor regime could not even pay government workers for many months.
It is obvious that Willie Belleh and the others that participated in the scheme do not have the interest of the Liberian people at heart, therefore, Willie Belleh’s participation in the interim government as Director of the Cabinet and Chief of Staff in the office of the interim chairman could gravely undermine the credibility of the office of the Interim Chairman, Charles Gyude Bryant.
The willingness of the international community to assist Liberia achieve its socio-economic development objectives depends on the credibility of the office of the interim chairman, which is currently perceived as the most credible in the Liberian government. Hence, in the interest of maintaining the credibility of the office of the interim chairman, Willie Belleh must resign now. In addition, he and the other officers at the Central Bank of Liberia must repay 75 percent of their combined compensation to the central bank.
The credibility of Liberian government depends on the integrity of the people who occupy the various government functionaries. The interim national assembly has discredited itself by electing Dictator Samuel K. Doe alleged death squad ringleader, George Dweh as Speaker. The cabinet comprises scores of unqualified people and human rights abusers, while Liberians do not know what the composition of the Supreme Court would be. Therefore, Interim Chairman Bryant has an obligation to appoint only Liberians of the highest ethical standards in his office to maintain the confidence of the Liberian people and the international community.