Liberia: ‘Lies and False Sexual Harassment Allegations’ – Foreign Minister-Designate Debunks Allegations
New York – Barely 24 hours after President George Manneh Weah nominated Amb. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., Liberia’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, and Permanent Representative to the United Nations as his next Minister of Foreign Affairs, Madam Wynee Cummings Wilson, a member of his staff at the UN Mission in New York claimed in a letter that she had been sexually harassed by Kemayah.
In a letter submitted to Ambassador Kemayah, Madam Wilson expressed anguish and distress over what she says was a sexual advance or sexual harassment toward me.
Madam Wilson said the incident took placed approximately nine months ago on the evening of January 8, 2020.
You, Ambassador Kemayah called me to your office and locked the door, where I was sexually harassed by you.
You, Ambassador Kemayah, asked several times to have me kiss you, stating “you know you want to do it, just give me a kiss, we are all adults here”. After refusing your repeated sexual advances, I advised you that I look at you as a father figure and that I was not interested. At which time I left your office and went home.
The shock and emotional trauma from the incident caused me to have a grand mal seizure which left me unconscious for three (3) days.
The incident kept me away from work for almost a month due to physical, emotional and psychological trauma. The staff can attest to the absent from work during the period mentioned.
This kind of behavior is unacceptable, and I am sure that the Ministry Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia does not condone such an offense.
I have done a lot of soul searching and contemplated on this as it has taunted me, leading me to the current resolution,
I have copied the Acting Minister, Deputy Minister of Administration of the Ministry Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia and Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Liberia to the United Nations to the on this letter as well.
My legal team will be filing a formal complaint with the United States Mission to the United Nations.
Madam Cummings CC’d Acting Minister Henry B. Fahnbulleh, Mawine Diggs, Deputy Minister (Administration) of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Israel Choko Davies, Deputy Permanent Representative on the letter.
Ambassador Kemayah has vehemently denied the allegations and on Monday, Mr. Robert M. Schechter, Esq, of the Tilem & Associates, PC in White Plains New York, issued the following response to the allegations against the nominee.
The letter reads:
This is an official response from the Tilem & Associates, PC, 188 East Post Road, White Plains, New York 10601, United States of America, ([email protected]), a Law Firm representing Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr. with respect to the false, baseless and unfounded allegations being spread on the social media; especially the Liberian related Community in Liberia; in relation to Ms. Whynee Cummings Wilson.
Since September 3, 2020, when Ms. Whynee Cummings Wilson wrote an email to our client accusing him of sexual harassment, specifically alleging he asked her to kiss him nine months ago, we immediately developed interest in investigating the veracity of her claim of sexual harassment. It is clear these false allegations, made within two hours of the news that the Ambassador was being nominated as Liberia’s Foreign Minister, were designed to impugn his character. We reached out to Ms. Whynee Cummings advising her to cease this smear campaign and she has not responded to us, but has instead continued to spread these lies to anyone that will listen without vetting her. We initiated an investigation based on our principle of avoiding prolonged and wasteful litigation.
We do not want to have to pursue costly litigation against her or the news media publishing knowingly false statements. Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr. has advised us that he wants to continue the great work he has been doing and will not let this clearly false allegation stop him.
What we have discovered is clear, Ms. Wilson, and other state actors, are attempting to harm Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr. He is a great family man who expressly loves his beautiful wife.
“It is unfortunate for the people of Liberia that certain individuals are for political reasons trying to ruin the character of a great man. Ambassador Kemayah is known as an astute and dedicated Liberian statesman who is committed to the development and growth of the Liberian society. He has an inherited value from his upbringing as a brother to three sisters. The Ambassador practically protected these women from all forms of abuse during his early childhood. This experience has profoundly shifted his perspective on women’s rights and gender equality.”– Mr. Robert M. Schechter, Esq, Lawyer for Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Kemayah, Sr., Representing the Tilem & Associates, PC in White Plains New York
He has been married to her for over 21 years. This attack on the Ambassador is not just an him, but also is an attack on his beautiful loving wife, Rev. Mrs. Dialokai Golanyon- Kemayah. Ambassador Kemayah has built, over many decades, a strong reputation of integrity, both domestically and abroad. It is clear that the Ambassador has a strong reputation, and has integrity especially as a diplomat, and this is why he was nominated by Mr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, for Minister of Foreign Affairs. This should have been a great for Liberia, but as soon as the announcement was made a smear campaign began
We are aware that long before his nomination as Liberia’s Foreign Minister designate, when it was rumored that President Weah was considering our client for the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs, a handful of detractors unleashed avalanche of failed attacks to hunt him down into disfavor with the President. President Weah saw through these baseless attacks before, and the people of Liberia will see once again the great work that Ambassador Kemayah has produced. Liberia is quite familiar with the work of Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., and as the new Foreign Minister he will continue to represent Liberia throughout the world.
Ms. Wilson, alleged that approximately nine months ago on the evening of January 8, 2020, she was sexually harassed. We are sure rational and well-meaning people are wondering why she kept quiet until the very day when our client was nominated as Foreign Minister designate before emailing him on her purported sexual harassment. This lie of hers is so outlandish. This is not in the Ambassadors nature. Throughout his more than 28 years of experience in the private, public, and international arena, this is the only allegation ever. Anyone that knows Ambassador Kemayah, knows he would never do this – it is not his in his nature, it is not in his character.
Briefly, In fact whenever anyone has been asked if it was something that could have happened they laughed and said “absolutely not, Ambassador Kemayah would never do that – he loves his wife”. Many people have commended him that he encourages people to be more committed in their own relationships, and that when you are not married, and you are around the Ambassador you will want to get married because of how much and proudly the Ambassador always talks about his wife.
Ms. Wilson did not contact any authorities in Liberia or in the United States about this alleged incident. What she did do was leak this false story to the press. The Ambassador has been quite respectful and did not want to have to address these lies, but felt it was necessary that the people of Liberia hear the truth.
On January 8, 2020, Ms. Wilson was repeatedly advised by staff to stop drinking different mixtures of liquor due to her medical condition of seizures, but Ms. Wilson was adamant; and continued. Ms. Wilson could not be reached for few days after her birthday celebration. When she was finally accessible, she explained to one staff that whenever she has a lot of liquor to drink she usually has seizures; she further confided in one of the staff that she also suffers from memory loss. Every time Ms. Wilson tells her story it becomes more and more embellished. However, she has never mentioned that she has been disciplined by the Ambassador and staff at the Mission. Ms. Wilson repeatedly attempted to get closer to Ambassador and tried to act as his secretary. This was not her job. Ms. Wilson wanted to take control of managing the Ambassador’s activities, but she was stopped.
The Secretary of Ambassador Kemayah informed Ms. Wilson that she must cease this inappropriate behavior. Ms. Wilson and the Secretary even agreed to have every communication between them documented because according to the Secretary, Ms. Wilson always gives different versions of what her boss, the Secretary, tells her. Ms. Wilson has been told on numerous occasions by the Ambassador that her boss is the secretary, but Ms. Wilson has vehemently refused to acknowledge Mrs. Maggie Gibson-Glay, Ambassador’s Secretary, as her boss, Ms. Wilson kept on insisting that the Ambassador, is her boss. This bizarre attitude of her was noticed by several individuals and Mrs. Gibson-Glay can attest to this.
Ambassador Kemayah has been adamant and consistent from the moment he heard these allegations, that these false statements are baseless and it is a shame she is spreading lies.
As we stated in our September 4, 2020 email to Ms. Wilson “Our client denies these false allegations. All further communications shall be directed to this law firm so that the Ambassador can continue focusing on his important work”. It is clear the people of Liberia are best served when the Ambassador can focus on his important work and responding to baseless attacks is part of being a public figure, but these attacks should be dismissed quickly since it is clear they are false.
It is unfortunate for the people of Liberia that certain individuals are for political reasons trying to ruin the character of a great man. Ambassador Kemayah is known as an astute and dedicated Liberian statesman who is committed to the development and growth of the Liberian society. He has an inherited value from his upbringing as a brother to three sisters. The Ambassador practically protected these women from all forms of abuse during his early childhood. This experience has profoundly shifted his perspective on women’s rights and gender equality.
Many people admired and recognized his role as Ambassador in 2019 in the successful preparation, hosting, and participation of the Republic of Liberia’s Women Delegation to the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 63) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States of America.
We all know that at the United Nations Mission, Ambassador Kemayah ranks women related issues as a priority.
Our client’s commitment and integrity on women, girls and youth-related issues began as far back as 1992 when he was the youngest teacher in Zaweata Project School in Bong Mines, Liberia. In 1994 when he began working in the NGO/Civil Society sector as project officer of the sustainable Development Promoters (SDP) that provided Vocational Skills & Literacy/Numeracy Training Program for War Affected Youth; including girls in Bong County, and later moved to the Action for Greater Harvest (AGRHA) as Executive Director. AGRHA is a National Non-Governmental, non-profit, non-political and humanitarian organization that focuses on agriculture – economic development, microfinance, advocacy, leadership training, business development services (BDS) and skills training in Liberia. AGRHA has an undeletable print in providing life skill training for young Liberian women in pastry, tailoring, agriculture, soap making and cosmetology.
Ambassador Kemayah is the same man that was President of the Liberian Business Association (LIBA), he was very instrumental in the support of the Village Saving Loan Association (VSLA) that organized, trained and empowered thousands of Liberian women across the Country. LIBA has more than Twenty-six (+26) years of existence, and was established by an Act of the National Legislature. Throughout his years as President of LIBA from November 18 2011 to January 6, 2017, nothing like this false allegation was ever associated with or heard of in relation to Ambassador Kemayah. We all know that is not in his nature or character.
Most recently, many Liberians looked with pride and admiration when he represented Liberia as an integral part of and endorsed a joint statement intended to protect sexual and reproductive health and rights and promote gender-responsiveness in the COVID-19 Crisis, which was submitted to the United Nations Secretary-General on May 4, 2020. Ambassador Kemayah was emphatically endorsed by Women Voices Newspaper.
They understood his commitment to women and child rights advocacy. Ambassador Kemayah wishes to continue to serve all people of Liberia, but he has spent his life lifting women up, never putting them down. He will continue his great work. He knows the people of Liberia will not be tricked by baseless allegations.
We strongly advise those behind this malicious and political chicanery to desist and repent and join the thousands of well-meaning Liberians who continue to congratulate with unending overtures of endorsements for his nomination and have committed to support Ambassador Kemayah when confirmed as Foreign Minister. The Ambassador wants us all to come together, but if these baseless attacks on him and his family continue, he will be forced to pursue all legal remedies. Let us not focus on lies and baseless attacks against a great man. Let us all focus on what is important – continuing to grow Liberia and focus on the future of Liberia, Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr. is the person we want representing and moving Liberia forward.