Liberia: Cllr. Nwabudike’s Last-minute Appointments and Promotions Creates Feud at the LACC

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MONROVIA – Cllr. A. Ndubuisi Nwabudike is poised to leave the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission in 11 days, but FrontPageAfrica investigation has found that he is not leaving in peace – his last-minute decisions have been stirring feud between him and his principal deputy, Kanio Bai Gbala.

FPA gathered that the outgoing chairman, the controversial Cllr. Nwabudike, recently embarked on a series of new hiring, promotions and the renewal of the contract of the executive director, Mr. Mohammed Fahnbulleh, who had been serving in that capacity since the former chairman James Verdier’s era.

The feud was heightened by the recent renewal of the contract of Mr. Mohammed Fahnbulleh, the executive director, who has served that position since the era of the Cllr. James Verdier, the former chairman of the Commission.

Mr. Fahnbulleh, in his assessment report by the Board, reportedly deemed him incompetent – something which Cllr. Gbala flagged in an email opposing the renewal of his contract.

Cllr. Gbala also expressed that the general staff have also assessed Fahnbulleh as being inefficient on the job.

Both Atty. Fahnbulleh and Cllr. Gbala could not be reached for comments.

However, in a reaction to Vice Chairman’s reservation on the renewal of his contract also wrote a memorandum to the program manager of investigation and enforcement, Mr. Baba Borkai, listing a litany of corrupt acts Cllr. Gbala has allegedly been involved with since taking over as Vice Chairman of the LACC.

The Allegations against Kanio

Mr. Fahnbulleh alleged that upon Cllr. Gbala’s appointment to the LACC by President George Weah in October 2019, informed the Board at the time that he had quit his job at the UNDP and had tendered in his resignation letter. He was immediately given an official vehicle intended for the deputy chairperson and was also included in the payroll for the month of October.

According to Fahnbulleh, he, however, received information that Cllr. Gbala was still in the employ of the UNDP and was receiving salary for October, November, December and January while also on the LACC’s payroll.

Fahnbulleh cited Article 90(b) of the Constitution which states “No person holding public office shall demand or receive any other pre-requites, emoluments or benefits, directly or indirectly on account of any duty required by government”.

He intimidated that the such act on Cllr. Gbala’s part does not exhibit good character and therefore, makes him unfit to serve as vice chairman of the LACC as inscribed in Part 6, Section 6.3 of the LACC’s Act of 2008.

“The vice chairperson demonstrated lack of integrity, lack of honesty and moral standing to continue to work as lead committed practitioner of anti-corruption fight serving under challenging moments to help the government’s Pro-poor Agenda,” Fahnbulleh stated in the memo.

He further accused Cllr. Gbala of receiving daily sustenance allowance (DSA) of L$50,000 and fuel valued at US$1,474.75, and scratch cards also valued at US$300 to travel to Grand Gedeh but never made the trip. According to him, Cllr. Gbala refused to return the money, the fuel and the scratch cards. This was in August 2020.

In the same August 2020, a cash advance of US$500 was given to Cllr. Gbala, according to Fahnbulleh’s memo for MICAT press briefing and he is yet to account for it, despite several requests from the finance unit.

Fahnbulleh: “Mr. Program Manager, the time has come for you and your team to demonstrate courage, consistency, independence and impartiality to the Liberian people, our partners and help change the perception of corruption in Liberia. We should not protect our own and investigate others!”

Meanwhile, Atty. Fahnbulleh having equipped the program manager with his pieces of evidence and list of contacts on the allegations for verification, has instructed him (program manager) to submit his findings to the executive chairperson, Cllr. Nwabudike, on Friday, February 19 for onward submission to President Weah “to exercise his power in keeping with Section 6.8 titled “Removal” which states, A Commissioner shall hold office during good behavior. A Commissioner shall be removed from office by the President for gross breach of duty, misconduct in office or any proven act of corruption.”

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