Liberia: FPA Discovers New Links Of Sen. Teahjay Influence On Employment
EDITOR’S NOTE: The cover photo of this story has been updated. The previous graphic contained the picture of Ms. Princess Nathasha Bono, an employee of the National Port Authority. She has no link to the story, neither was her name mentioned in the story. We inadvertently mistook her image for that of Ms. Mildred Sabline Toteh who is actually referenced in the story. We regret any inconvenience caused by the publication of Ms. Bono’s photograph on this story may have caused.
Monrovia – Four former staffers of Sinoe Senator Milton Teahjay have landed jobs at several autonomous agencies, FrontPageAfrica has learned.
The revelation comes one week after Senator Teahjay told FrontPageAfrica that the heads of various Senate committees often enter into agreements with presidential nominees to secure jobs in the ministries and agencies they were appointed to for legislative hires.
Teahjay said he has a tradition of informing presidential appointees that “we are the ones giving them the job,’’ and if their nomination is successful, they should hire one or two people he may recommend.
The senator’s statement is an example of “quid pro quo that is typical in bribery and extortion cases where someone grants a favor or advantage in exchange for something.
“I tell them the truth that we are the ones giving them the job,’’ he said. “If we do not, they will not get the job. So, by God’s grace, if we succeed in confirming them, they will have to help me with one or two names in their agency. That corruption pa, I get it. I cannot lie because that’s how young people working with me can survive. I do not run the country and ministries.’’
The four staffers who landed jobs at government ministries include: Goodrich Cheayan, at National Disaster Management Agency, NDMA), Mildred Sabline Toteh (where, position), Prince Teahjay (Water, Sanitation and hygiene at the Ministry of Public Works) and Melvin Sahr Liberia National Red Cross.
Teahjay made the statement in response to allegations that he received $20,000 from Cllr. A. Ndubuisi Nwabudike, to have him confirmed as chair of the National Elections Commission (NEC).
President George Manneh withdrew Nwabudike’s nomination after an outcry from some members of the Legislature, civil society organizations and the media.
Sen. Teahjay denied the allegation. “To say Milton Teahjay showed his hands and someone gave him five dollars, that’s not true, he said. “People always try to find way to destroy people’s character. If I wanted money, Nwabudike would have been confirmed.”
FrontPage Africa learned from reliable sources that Senator Teahjay was removed as chair of the Senate Committee on Autonomous Agencies. When contacted, Senate Pro-tempore Albert Chie denied that Teahjay wasn’t removed because of the allegation. He said changing committee chairperson is routinely done in the Senate.
Chie issued a memo on June 30, 2020, stating the change in the leadership of the Senate Committee on Autonomous Agencies.
Chie said the change was aimed at bringing vigor to the oversight responsibility of the senate.
“Please be informed that in accordance with the standing rules of the Liberian Senate, I have effected changes to the composition of some of the non-statutory committees of the Senate. These changes take effect as of July 1, 2020 and are intended to bring vigor to the oversight responsibility of the Senate,’’ the memo said.
The tenure for chair of Senate Committees is three years.
According to Rule 15 Section 2 of the Senate standing rule, the Senate Pro-Tempore has the power to appoint co-chairpersons and members of the leadership committees. “He/she shall also appoint the Chairpersons, Co-Chair-persons and members of all Standing, Conference and Ad Hoc Committees.”
In addition, Rule 43 Section 5 on removal of chair and members of the says, “The chairpersons, co-chairpersons and members of any Committee of the Liberian Senate may be removed for cause as determined by the Senate Leadership Committee.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Teahjay has filed a libel suit of US$4.7 million in damages against FrontPageAfrica for reporting that he allegedly received bribe from Cllr. Nwabudike.
The Sinoe County Senator in his complaint to the court stated “Plaintiff says that Defendants are liable to Plaintiff in damages unless they can prove the truthfulness of the libelous publication or otherwise prove that they were not in reckless disregard for the facts when they published or caused to be published the respective stories deliberately laced with misinformation and falsehood.”
In the 13 counts document filed before the Civil Law Court, Sen. Teahjay denied receiving bribe from Cllr. Nwabudike.
He alleged that FrontPageAfrica, its Editor-in-Chief, Rodney Sieh and Reporter Henry Karmo “interspersed their story with partial verbatim quotations and other inconsistent facts, truncated some paragraphs and deliberately inserted, instead, misinformation of their own to make their story look genuine.”
This, he alleged, was intended to maliciously malign, defame and expose him to potential injury to his person, and even death and to also injure his reputation and political career in Liberia and elsewhere around the globe.
He prayed the court to grant US$1 million for general damages to include emotional pains and sufferings, emotional distress, psychological pains and sufferings.