Flawed Appointments, Mr. President Who Is Doing Your Nominees’ Vetting?


MONDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2018 made President George Manneh Weah exactly two weeks since he was sworn in as arguably the 24th President of the Republic of Liberia, on Monday, January 22, 2018. Later on that very Monday evening, the new President began to bring into the Government, some new and old faces in powerful positions for the daily running of the nation. The warmth from the buttocks of some of those being replaced hadn’t even left their seats, when some of these new appointees began towering above their heads and shoulders: a way of telling them, “Your time is up…”

FROM THAT JANUARY 22ND DAY to today, the President has made three sets of appointments in government, including the largest and latest batch that was made on Monday, February 5. Notably, controversy or controversial nominee(s) have never been far from all the three Presidential listings released so far.

THE CONTROVERSIES INCLUDE nominees with very known questionable characters and misspelled names of some appointees drawing confusion as to the real person the President has nominated for confirmation where applicable.   

AMONG THE VERY FIRST SET of nominees were the Ministries of Finance, Justice, Foreign Affairs, etc.

THE JUSTICE MINISTER-DESIGNATE, Cllr Charles Gibson, came in for heavy criticisms from the media and the public over his deportment with some of his clients.

BEFORE PRESIDENT WEAH appointed Cllr. Gibson, he (Attorney General-designate) was serving a two-month suspension by the Supreme Court for siphoning monies belonging to his client.

GRANTED THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE didn’t know about this other side of the learned counselor. So, who are those helping the President to vet the nominees? 

CLLR. GIBSON HAD BEEN SUSPENDED February 2017 by the Supreme Court from the practice of law directly and indirectly in Liberia when the Grievance and Ethics Committee established he misappropriated US$25,322.00 from a client. He was also asked to restitute the amount. This wasn’t a hidden fact. How come those scrutinizers didn’t see that before allowing the President to make such appointment?

IN FACT, MR. PRESIDENT, the Judicial Committee’s report showed that the proceedings started from a 2013 final judgment rendered by the Debt Court for Montserrado County, awarding the complainant, GECCO represented by its President, Mr. Anwar Saoud, the amount of US$286,200.

THERE ARE REPORTS THAT the embattled Justice Minister-designate only settled his obligation with his debtors when it became apparent that he was going to be appointed as the head of the Ministry of Justice. If it hadn’t been so, he wouldn’t have paid back his client’s money judging from how long it took him to restitute it.

IF THOSE HELPING THE PRESIDENT to do vetting, are meticulous enough, they wouldn’t have brought the Head of State so low to this public ridicule and condemnation that he’s not ready to fight corruption as he promised in his inaugural address.

OKAY, ONE COULD SAY that since that was the first embarrassment, the second set of appointments would have been thoroughly done due diligence with background checks, including surnames and kinship.

AGAIN, THIS WASN’T DONE effectively. Maybe the President is to blame, too. 

THIS NEWSPAPER HAD LEARNED that Mrs. Maime Hayford Pearson, the National Security Agency’s (NSA) current comptroller, is the wife of the recently appointed head of the entity. The NSA is the nation’s most powerful secretive, security agency.

SHE PREVIOUSLY SERVED as Deputy Comptroller but was elevated to comptroller following the death of her predecessor.

THIS AGAIN, WAS ANOTHER embarrassment, Mr. President! What’s going on or wrong with those trusted individuals closely around that SHOULD help bring these things to your attention before it/they get(s) to the public glare?

LIKE THE FIRST APPOINTMENT, this one again didn’t serve as a blinker for the President and those scrutinizing the curricula vitae of nominees that before the President makes another appointments, they would have at least become vigilant this time and not allow the President to be ridiculed again by the media and the public.

AGAIN AND AGAIN, they sat supinely and the “same old, same old” repeated itself in the nearly 150 new appointments that the President made on Monday, February 5.

FOR EXAMPLES, WHY SHOULD the President appoint Alvin Wesseh, who was expelled from the University of Liberia for acts unbecoming?

TAKE A LOOK AT THE HEALTH Minister-designate, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, who runs and owns the Hope for Women Health Center on the AB Tolbert Road in Paynesville City.

MR. PRESIDENT, DON’T YOUR helpers know that the Liberia Medical and Dental Council (LMDC), few months ago, found your Health Minister nominee liable for the ‘wrongful death’ of Pastor Desiree Fahnbulleh?

THE DECEASED FAMILY had even filed a US$6 million action for damages against the hospital with the 6th Judicial Circuit Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice. This would have been very easy to find out had there not been flaw in the vetting process of your nominees, Mr. President.

MR. PRESIDENT, WHY did you not do yourself the honorable thing of at least asking for the law on the head of the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority (LCAA) before nominating former House Speaker James Emmanuel Nuquay for the post?

HERE IS WHAT THE LAW in Sector 203 Appointment and Qualifications of Director General says.

1. THE DIRECTOR GENERAL SHALL be appointed with regard to being properly qualified and experienced in civil aviation for the efficient discharge of the powers and duties vested in and imposed by this Act

2. AT THE TIME OF NOMINATION, the Director General shall have at least 10 years management or similar technical experience in a field directly related to aviation.

MR. PRESIDENT, OTHER NAMES in your latest appointments are misplaced. Those you have trusted to help you do the vetting have let you down. It’s not yet late to do the right thing, Sir.