Defending Former Justice Minister Christiana Tah in Global Witness’ Report On Exxon

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The Editor,

I am writing to you from Toronto, Canada to add my voice in condemning the report issued by Global Witness’ Mr. Jonathan Gant attacking the integrity of the former Minister of Justice, Cllr. Christiana Tah.

I have provided volunteer legal assistance to the Ministry of Justice since 2007 and have worked extensively with Minister Tah during her tenure at the Justice Ministry. I am appalled that Global Witness so cavalierly defames a great Liberian and a woman of undoubted integrity.

To suggest that she was corrupted by EXXON in relation to its acquisition of rights to Block 13 is ludicrouus. And those who have been positively affected by her exemplary conduct as Justice Minister know this to be true. And I believe that you are one of those who have been so positively affected.

In 2013 former Agriculture Minister Chris Toe initiated libel proceedings against you resulting in an outrageous monetary damage award for which you were incarcerated for non-payment. It was Justice Minister Tah who exercised her discretionary power to order your release on compassionate grounds in October 2013. You will recall that she was cited by the Supreme Court for intervening on your behalf. She received no support from then President Sirleaf and stood alone in doing what she thought was both just and fair. Toe subsequently dropped his judgment claim against you – I believe as a direct result of the publicity surrounding your incarceration and compassionate release.

Now it is your turn to come to Minister Tah’s defence in relation to this scurrilous attack on her honour. I believe you may alrready have heard from others who are equally offended by the Global Witness attack on Cllr. Tah. You might start by questioning Global Witness on 

(1) what efforts did it make to secure a copy of the NOCAL Board resolution authorizing bonus payments to all NOCAL personnel, from drivers up to management for the benefits obtained through months of work on the EXXON contract; 

(2) what steps did it take to pursue enquiries of EXXON and its then management, or was it simply content to send an e-mail with questions and leave it at that when there was no response. 

(3)  why does Global Witness have such an animus against Liberia?  (EXXON seems to be a sequel to the Sable Mining story.) It seems that Global Witness would like to discourage those who have spent time and money supporting Liberia’s recovery to reconsider such support by making reckless allegations of corruption from the comfort of its London offices;

(4) why didn’t Global Witness print Cllr. Tah’s response to their enquiry – verbatim – along with its report? Afraid of all the facts?!

I welcome your acknowledgement of receipt of this e-mail and would be pleased to respond to any questions you may have.

 

Jim Dube 
[email protected]

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