Monrovia - Amid the refusal of some officials of government, linked to corruption in the recent Global Witness report, to cooperate with a taskforce setup by President Sirleaf to look in the allegations, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alex Tyler, has tacitly agreed to appear before the taskforce for questioning, according to Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa, head of the taskforce and Minister of State Without Portfolio.
“You will find out that the speaker office will release another press release shortly that the Speaker has agreed to be interrogated by the taskforce,” said Cllr. Koffa at a press briefing Monday. Speaker Tyler had been uncooperative from the get-go of the investigation based on his position but the 360 degree U-turn stemmed from threats of impeachment from members of the House of Representatives who allegedly ordered him to face the inquest or be booted out, according to sources. “We will not hesitate to use law enforcement power available to carry out this mandate. We are grateful that numerous persons have called to appear before the taskforce. As a result, many arrests may not be necessary, so that we can conclude the investigatory face of this investigation and move to the prosecution aspect, let the process take its course.” He said the taskforce is not going to fear or favor anyone named in the Global Witness report. “We, without fear or favor, is the motto of this taskforce. This job is not a pleasant one and not a popular one but a necessary one. Again, we want to stress and appreciate, this is multi-agency taskforce.” The head of the Presidential Taskforce explained that investigators on Monday went to arrest individuals, who were not cooperating, to bring them before the taskforce for questioning. “Let me tell you what has occurred today at 5:00 am. Today, agents of the LACC who provide lead to investigators of the taskforce, began an operation to arrest and bring in for questioning certain persons to be associated with criminal activities in the Global witnesses report,” Cllr. Koffa added. “The operation is ongoing. At 10:00 am, the Ministry of Justice obtained two search warrants—one for the Sherman and Sherman law firm and another for the home of Cllr. Varney Sherman—that operation is also ongoing.” The Minister of State without Portfolio stressed that the Taskforce has no intent to witch-hunt anybody, adding that the investigation will be followed to a logical conclusion. “We will continue the processes until it is concluded. Make no mistake, it is not our intention here to embarrass anyone,” he added. He said the law allows the LACC to arrest for a probable cause. “We can give you detail of the evidence we are looking for. The operation is ongoing we have not gathered any information from the investigators on the field.” At the press conference, Cllr. James Verdier, chairperson of the LACC, said there’s a lot of concern surrounding the Global Witness report on the role of the anti-corruption institution, adding that the taskforce enhances the LACC work. “In the wake of GW report, there is lot of concerns by citizens,” said Cllr. Verdier. “Therefore people thought that statutory body will be sidelined but we cannot question the authority of the President. Our understanding is that the taskforce brings additional support and expertise, which will reinforce the authority of MOJ and LACC.” Verdier furthered that the taskforce will prosecute those it has sufficient on, adding that they are determined to get to the bottom of the ongoing saga. “We will prosecute those we have sufficient evidence to prosecute. The LACC has not been side-lined; we are collaborating with others to make sure we get to the bottom of this. “The LACC has Police power—we are using the law the way it is written. Today the taskforce and the Ministry of Justice obtained a search warrant to search the offices of Sherman and Sherman law firm and Cllr. Sherman’s home.” He urged citizens not obstruct the legal processes adding that taskforce expect the support of the public. “We cry everyday on corruption and that people are diverting our resources for personal gains, one of the ways we can succeed is for the public to supports us. LACC and the Police want to arrest and citizens come in their way—this is terrible. Citizens should be happy when government officials who are involved in alleged corruption are summoned. You should be happy when the law is taking its course, stop interfering with the legal process.”