Liberian President Weah Contemplating Withdrawal of Controversial AG Nominee
Monrovia – FrontPageAfrica has been reliably informed that Liberian President George Manneh Weah is expected to withdraw the nomination of his attorney general Cllr. Charles Gibson following the reported revelation that the nominee had some ethical and behavioral issues at an international organization he previously worked for.
Report by Rodney D. Sieh, [email protected]
Multiple sources confirmed to FrontPageAfrica Saturday that the Liberian presidency has been bombarded with concerns from international stakeholders over the controversy surrounding Cllr. Gibson’s nomination as well as the quality of some of the appointments so far.
Cllr. Gibson, according to sources reportedly had ethical and behavioral issues when he worked as National Legal Advisor with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Liberia regarding and issue over the purchase of land.
Gibson was suspended last February by the Supreme Court of Liberia based on findings from the Grievance and Ethics Committee for misappropriating US$25,322.00 from a client. “Counsellor Charles H. Gibson be, and is hereby suspended from the practice of law directly and indirectly in Liberia for the period of two months,” the high court ruled.
The 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$286,200.00 (Two Hundred Eighty-Six Thousand, Two Hundred United States Dollars) against the Global Bank Liberia Ltd.
Last Thursday, the high court, following a hearing restored the nominee’s license to practice law in Liberia. When asked why he took so long to adhere to the court’s order and pay the client, Cllr. Gibson attributed the delay in payment to not having adequately funds, “I was constrained and was not working, and some friends had to help me get the money to pay back.”
Chief Justice Francis Korkpor then told him, “Know that you will be serving as the Dean of the Supreme Court if you are caught in this kind of situation what do you think will be the perception of the public about the Court?”
Gibson pleaded with the Court to tender justice with mercy, “I’m sorry for the situation and I beg the court to tender justice with mercy.”
Following the lifting of his suspension by the high court, Cllr. Gibson last Thursday appeared before the Senate Committee on Judiciary for his confirmation hearing during which he suggested that the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) had not been able to prosecute a single case since its establishment in 2008 and should therefore be abolished.
Cllr. Gibson, in his response to the Senate Committee on Judiciary’s claim that over US$20 million was given to LACC over the years for its operations but the agency has no accomplishment to show said, “Instead of spending that huge amount every time without results, the government can contract services of five leading local law firms and pay them US$ 50,000 annually to help speed the prosecution of those found culpable of corrupt deeds.”
The Justice Minister-designate fell short of naming a particular law firm he would like the government to hire should his opinion be accepted by President George Weah and the national Legislature.
The LACC’s chair Cllr. James Verdier fired back a day later, telling a news conference that the nominee’s assertions were faulty.
“When such faulty analyses and misinformation emanate from a person who the laws of this Republic rely on, in part, to ensure the mandates and functions of the LACC are carried out and achieved without hindrance and interference, it is unfair and not in the best interest of national development.”
At the writing of this report, it was unclear who the President might turn to replace Cllr. Gibson.
While it appears Cllr. Gibson was winning his bid for confirmation in the Senate, the matter of the reported unethical issue said to have been raised with President Weah by the UNSRG is said to be very grave and has the attention of the Liberian presidency which is giving the withdrawal some serious consideration.