Liberia: House Debunks Cllr. Jerome Verdier’s US$15K Bribery Claims at US Congressional Hearing

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Monrovia – Members of the House of Representatives have expressed dismay over recent statements made by the former Chairman of the erstwhile Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Cllr. Jerome Verdier that they received a hefty bribe to quash the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court for Liberia.

In his testimony before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing on establishing a War Crimes & Economic Crimes Court for Liberia on Monday, Cllr. Verdier said the ‘controversial’ US$15,000 (about US$1.5 million combined) each lawmaker received recently was a form of bribery by the Executive to dissuade them from establishing the court.

Back in Liberia, his statement did not augur well for some lawmakers on Capitol Hill as several members of the House of Representatives were visibly angry with some suggesting that he be summoned to Liberia to substantiate his claims.

Some lawmakers including Representatives Samuel Kogar (District #5, Nimba County), Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis (District, #4, Montserrado County), and Acarous Moses Gray (District #8, Montserrado) called for the House to take a tough stance.

Rep. Kogar, who introduce the discussion on the floor, said the allegation made by Cllr. Verdier was not only diminishing, but has the proclivity to damage their hard-earned character.

“This allegation is not only diminishing this august body, but it also has the propensity to derail our hard-earned reputation that each of us earned from our electorate that elected us. I believe such a platform without the House making a correction, or without making any statement against it will not signal well for us. Silence means consent. At no point in time this august body has received any money from the Executive to hold down any war crimes issues in Liberia,” he debunked.

He said the money received by them was legally given because it was budgeted.

Rep. Dennis said the allegation was denigrating and a complete act of stupidity.

Rep. Gray described it as maximum insanity, and advised the House to not give credence to the former TRC Chairman as he was seeking relevance at the expense of the House.

Unlike majority of his colleagues, Rep. Larry Younquoi, who appeared calm advised his colleagues that the best way to respond to Cllr. Verdier is to establish the court. He said Cllr. Verdier’s outburst was done in frustration and there was no need to respond to him other than initiating the process of establishing the war and economic crimes court for Liberia.

Following sustain deliberations, the Plenary mandated its Joint committee on Judiciary and Information to review the complaint and report on Thursday of this week with a set of recommendation(s).

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