Liberia: Gov’t Launches Investigation into Rufus Neufville’s Allegation of Paying Bribes to Council of Patriots
Monrovia – The Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), said it has launched a “speedy investigation” into allegation that it engaged in acts of bribery in order to quell what it described as “agitation by leaders of the Council of Patriots (COP).”
In a Monday, December 30, press release signed by the Minister of Information, Mr. Lenn Eugene Nagbe, the government said it takes very seriously the allegation, which was made by Mr. Rufus Neufville, who is the chairman of the Independent Council of Patriots (ICOP).
The ICOP is a breakaway faction of the COP, which had staged the June 7 #SavetheState protest on Capitol Hill.
“The government views this claim which was made by Rufus Neufville, the chairman of the Independent Council of Patriots group, as grave and troubling. The government has there ordered a speedy investigation in the allegation,” the release said.
According to the government, its engagements with leaders of the COP have been transparent and in good faith and was done with the full participation of the international community and the Council of Churches.
While the release doesn’t state the amount allegedly given as bribe money to the leadership of the COP, few wild unsubstantiated allegations have been floating on the internet in Liberia.
Some of Costa’s haters have said that he and his colleagues had requested bribe in the tune of US$400,000 and other amenities so that they could call off the protest, which should have been staged today but was postponed to January 6, 2020. Other figures that floated on social media were a US$200,000 and a US$25,000, all as alleged bribe monies that Costa and his colleagues, including Senator Abraham Darius Dillon, Representative Yekeh Kolubah, Mo Ali and other received. None of this has ever been proven yet to be true.
“The government views this claim which was made by Rufus Neufville, the chairman of the Independent Council of Patriots group, as grave and troubling. The government has there ordered a speedy investigation in the allegation.”– Press Statement, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism
However, Mr. Neufville, who once served as the Chief of Protocol of the Republic of Liberia, accusing the government said, “Last night (Sunday) or this morning between 2 and 3 a.m., five guys were contacted: Wilmot Paye, Mo Ali, Henry Costa, Darius Dillon and Yekeh Kolubah. Wilmot Paye refused but the other four guys, I just named, received US$200,000 cash.”
According to him, because the fellows took the bribe money, they decided to use the international community as a scapegoat to call off the protest, in his word — “de-escalate.”
Neufville, who also once served as a Representative in Liberia’s legislature, told FrontPageAfrica Monday evening that this is the second time that bribery is again hanging over the COP leadership.
“The Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFFL) left the COP because of the same reason; my own organization left, too, because of the same reason,” he said.
Neufville praised Paye, who is the Chairman of the former ruling Unity Party, as being a “patriot” because he allegedly refused to take some of the US$200,000 bribe money.
The COP leadership themselves have denied receiving money from Government even though they have said that the government has attempted trying to bribe them to call off the protest.
Further in the Information Ministry’s release, it states that the administration of President George M. Weah has repeatedly made known its zero tolerance for corruption and there doesn’t condone unsubstantiated pronouncements, which impugn the image of the government or any of its officials.
“However, if these statements bear any iota of truth, the public can be assured that the culprits will face the full weight of the law in an expeditious manner,” Min. Nagbe said.
He then reassure the public of the Liberian Government’s full adherence to all the tenets of democracy, while also being cognizant of an even greater responsibility to maintain the peace and public order.