THE ELLEN JOHNSON-SIRLEAF led government has been under scrutiny since it came to office in January 2006.
NOBODY ASKED SIRLEAF in 2006 when she wrote her inaugural speech to declare corruption public enemy No. 1 but she did and the media both local and international have held her to that standard and taken her to task for failing to curb graft.
LAST WEEK, the President during her annual message acknowledged that her administration had lost the war: “We have not fully met the anti-corruption pledge that we made in 2006. It is not because of the lack of political will to do so, but because of the intractability of dependency and dishonesty cultivated from years of deprivation and poor governance.”
THIS IS A FAR CRY from January 2006 when she vowed to pursue graft wherever it leads.
OVER THE PAST twelve years, the Sirleaf-led government’s failure to tackle graft has cost Liberia millions, if not billions in investment money gone awry.
THE PRESIDENT’S failure to settling for resignation versus outright firing when some member of her administration is found to be in breach of graft is well documented and has been persistently criticized.
THIS BRINGS US TO last week and the issue of a major discovery regarding an astonishing audit report that discovered how some members of the House of Representatives cunningly setup a firm to win the contract for the construction of the Bong County Technical College (BCTC) is sending shock waves.
THE AUDIT REPORT among other things shows that former House Speaker Alex Tyler, Representative Bhofal and former lawmaker, Ketehkumuehn Murray own significant shares in the Liberia-China Investment Group.
The audit report also state that Tyler owns 7.5% shares, Maryland County lawmaker Chambers has 7.5% shares, and former Representative Murray has 15% shares and a Chinese National, Lian Zhi owns 70 percent shares.
AMONGST OTHER THINGS, the audit found that on October 21, 2010, a contract worth US$4,394,776.97 was entered into between the Project Management Committee (PMC) of Bong County as the ‘owner’ and the Liberia China United Investment Group as the contractor to construct a twin–wing two story building, located in Gbarnga city, to be used for academic and administrative purposes by the College.
IT IS NO coincidence and perhaps it is that we find that nearly all those involved in this scandal are being paraded around by the newly-minted George Weah-led Coalition for Democratic Change.
WE ARE EVEN more troubled about the role the senior Senator for Bong County, Senator Jewel Howard Taylor played in this massive corruption scandal that has robbed the citizens of the county she represents.
EXCERPTS from the contract modification now in the possession of FrontPageAfrica shows that Senator Howard attested to the now controversial fraudulent scheme that is now front and center of this current administration’s lost war on corruption.
EXCERPTS FROM THE MODIFICATION reads: “On January 25th 2011, a modification was made to the contract wherein the owner expressed inability to comply with the payment terms and thus requested the contractor to execute only 50 percent of the construction works instead of 75 percent as mentioned in the contract. The modification was signed by Thomas K. Cisco, PMC Chairperson, Lucia K. Herbert, Superintendent, and Hon. George S. Mulbah Sr., Chairman, Bong County Legislative Caucus and witnessed by Hon. J. Howard Taylor, Senior Senator, Bong County. Lian Zhi signed on behalf of the company.”
WE FIND IT TROUBLING that aides to Senator Weah did not give him proper advice prior to him announcing his association with a tainted bunch of corrupt-ridden officials now threatening to rock his presidential bid.
ALL THIS when he has already gone to bed with an indicted former speaker who is embroiled in one of most damaging scandals in recent memory, the Global Witness Bribery saga.
HOW MUCH vetting went into this decision? How informed was Mr. Weah about those he has chosen to go to bed with?
THAT ANY ONE associated with the Weah campaign will even think that they are above reproach, above questions regarding corruption in Liberia speaks volume to the audacity of insincerity now being thrown in the faces of voters preparing for this year’s elections.
SENATOR WEAH owes it to himself, his candidacy and his political life to address the ongoing aura of corruption circling his coalition if he has any seriousness about becoming the next president of Liberia.
AND THIS GOES for all other candidates as well.
LIBERIA HAS BEEN through so much in the past twelve year that the incoming government will be greeted with enormous suspicion by the global community.
THIS IS WHY it is necessary that whoever assumes leadership of Liberia comes with clean hands and is above suspicion so that when they sit across from aisle of any world leader they can speak and act with confidence because they have no skeletons in the closets or no official in the midst with a cloud of corruption baggage hanging over their heads.
ANY ADVISOR OR AIDE encouraging Senator Weah to remain mute when the circle around him continues to be haunted with seeds of corruption perhaps have not been in Liberia the past twelve years.
LIBERIANS ARE FED UP, Liberians are tired and they want change. But it is no telling what they would do when faced with the surmountable decision of choosing between the devil they know against the devil they do not.
A HINT TO THE WISE…