Global Witness Bribery Report Met With Mixed Views in Liberia
Monrovia – The Global Witness report released this week is generating chatters on the streets of Monrovia. Global Witness, in a report alleged that it uncovered over US$950,000 in bribes and other suspicious payments by a UK mining firm, Sable Mining, through its Liberian lawyer, Cllr. Varney Sherman to past and current officials of government to have the company get hold of the concession for Mount Wologizi in Lofa County. FrontPageAfrica reporters took a sampling of views of some residents of the city.
“We are very much disappointed that our country’s reputation is ruined. It becomes very frustrating if you have a President who came on the record of transparency and in fact vowed to make corruption a public enemy #1, and you come to realize that this President has become a monument of corruption. And I think that is very much appalling.
Take for example, we have come to reveal to the Liberian people like we normally do, when you read the Global Witness Report about the huge excess of money, over nine hundred thousand (US$900,000) plus, it was being detailed and people names were mentioned, and one may ask why are we not talking about those that were mentioned, we think the President should demonstrate leadership.
The President should not say she will launch an investigation we think that comment is cosmetic. The issue is a grave situation, we cannot have a country with criminal empire, the President should dismiss those individuals involved.”
“For me I believe in prima farcie—evidence and facts. Where are the evidences Global Witness have on our lawmakers? I strongly believe Global Witness has been paid to tarnish the reputation of those good men and women at the level of the legislature who have continued to contribute to the growth and development of our country.
Those are guys who continue to legislate policies that will create empowerment for the young people. And I can tell you for free; these are propaganda from politicians who want to put the sentiments of the people against these good men and women of the legislature. The report is bogus, undemocratic; it is devilish and has no iota of truth in it.
And I challenge Global Witness to go beyond their report and to bring prima facie evidence that substantiates their claim against our lawmakers. And I can tell you for free that gone are the days where institutions of international standards that have been paid by politicians to tarnish the reputation of good men and women of our country. We will roll our sleeves to our muscles to defend our country and our government officials because they are great men and women who mean well for our country.”
I want to believe in the Global Witness Report. I don’t want us to politicize this particular report. Global Witness is not a political institution. So for anyone to say that they want to drag the name of speaker Tyler Sumo Kupee, Varney Sherman in the mud because Speaker Tyler will be contesting is unfair.
Just look at the amount that has been apportioned to Richard Tolbert, speaker Tyler Sumo Kupee, Varney Sherman. Those monies were given them at the level of the National Legislature to pass laws that will not be in our interest so that Sable Mining can take over the Wologisi Mountain.
The report also highlighted how Varney Sherman was angry with the election of Henry Fahnbulleh and how Sable Mining compensated Henry Fahnbulleh with US$25,000 for him to resign and he did. That’s how you saw Wilmot Paye coming as Secretary General. So for this report, any serious government around the world will look into it and investigate it.”
“It is very saddened for our government officials to continue to loot our national coffers on a daily basis. You know this the same Varney Sherman who some time ago issued Liberian diplomatic passport to a businessman and when that issue came up, it died and you no longer hear about it today — this same Varney Sherman.
This report is a critical national issue that people need to be discussing, but today if you monitor the media, the only thing you will be hearing about is George Weah child support. But these are critical issues that they need to be discussing; the issues of the abandoned ship in Grand Cape Mount County are all issues that need to be discussed, because these are the same guys that will come back in 2017 to seek votes from us.”
Albert T. Nenneh
“For me personally I don’t think it is fine for young man like Varney Sherman who supposed to be a dependable lawyer to get involved in such an act. A man who was seeking the presidency and wanted to take over our resources will do such thing to the Liberian people is worrisome. If a Senator as Varney Sherman who supposed to be making laws to protect our land will take bribe from people, it means that we are heading nowhere as a people.”
Eric S. Myers
“I think that the act by Cllr. Varney Sherman is highly corrupt; and I also think concession agreement should be made in the open, that is, a bid should be put out for companies to apply and the company with the best option be taken, not to carryout bogus agreements.
Our leaders are very much insincere. This is the company that expressed interest in investing in our country and a lawmaker telling that company to dish up money to change our laws and bribe officials to give the company an easy ride. Cllr. Sherman need to confess his sins to the Liberian people, and the people of Cape Mount should see to it he shouldn’t go back in that Senate to represent them.”
It highly unfortunate on the part of Cllr. Sherman and all those that allowed themselves to be used in that direction in order to give birth or right to corruption. Varney Sherman, as an individual and looking at his status in the Liberian politics, ranging from his attempt to take the Liberian presidency by contesting the 2005 election, and holding a respectable position in the ruling party, to be caught in an act that is against the developmental agenda of the state is tantamount to economy sabotage.
So, as a matter of fact, we think Cllr. Sherman is not in the interest of the Liberian people. Varney Sherman is from the belly of corruption by making that attempt, calling on a respectable institution like Sable Mining that came with option to offer bribe is also worrisome.
This is the reason over the past time all of the 68 concession agreements that were signed by the Legislature does not have a trickle-down- effect on the Liberian people. Varney Sherman brought in Sime Darby, but if you go to Cape Mount today, you will see that the company has made no impact on the lives of the people. We are calling all Liberians to join us in petitioning the Supreme Court to summon all those involved in this saga.
Edwin G. Genoway, Jr – [email protected]/ Julius Konton