LACC Threatens Lawsuit Against Aminata & Sons Again
Monrovia – What seems to be a legal tussle is currently ongoing days after Criminal Court “C” acquitted the CEO of Aminata and Sons of corruption indictment.
Report by Bettie K. Johnson-Mbayo/ [email protected]
Siaka Toure was indicted in connection with the Japanese oil grant.
The government of Japan, during the period of 2011-2012, donated a consignment of oil valued up to US$13 million to the government of Liberia as part of its bilateral assistance to Liberia to assist the country in its reconstruction strive.
But the state said the oil products were reported to have been mismanaged by the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), leaving government at a loss of over US$5 million under the management of T. Nelson Williams.
Williams, former Managing Director of LPRC, former Deputy LPRC Managing Director for Operations, Aaron Wheagar, former Commerce Minister Miatta Beysolow, and Ministry of Commerce Director for Price Analysis, Steve Flahn Paye and the Managing Director of the Aminata Gas Company Toure were indicted in connection to the mismanagement of the grant.
In a recent press conference Mr. Toure accused the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) of falsifying evidence against him.
He said that the anti-graft body had no case against him on grounds that the two reports presented to the court during the trial were modified.
“The first report said we should pay US$16,000 which we did and the other report said we should be held for economic sabotage, which was unfair to a Liberian struggling company,” Toure said.
He averred that though it’s good to have such institution that will fight corruption on ground that it will help the country.
Aminata CEO added that those heading such institutions should be committed and not corrupt because the power given to them sometimes is counterproductive to their action performed.
During his press conference Mr. Toure said though he couldn’t provide evidence but alleged that the anti-graft body is involved in corrupt act that needs serious attention.
But the acting chairperson of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission Tuesday said that Commission was taking aback by the accusation raised by the Aminata’s CEO.
“The LACC considers such allegation as grave and therefore demands proof of this terrible accusation within 48 hours. Failure for Mr. Toure to substantiate his allegation will necessitate the Commission to take absolute advantage of remedies provided by the laws of the Republic of Liberia,” Cllr. Augustine Toe.
He revealed that the reports prepared by the Commission were not presented to the President or the Legislature.
“We didn’t indict him on any US$16,000, though it was mentioned in our report but the amount was stated because he didn’t do the audit as was required by the agreement. Aminata and sons were jointly indicted along with others,” said Cllr. Toe.
He continued: “How can we falsify our own report? We presented our evidence; there is a pleading in law whereas if new evidence is discovered, we can amend the evidence and provide an amended evidence which we did in the case of the report.”
The Acting LACC chairperson said that Mr. Toure was misleading the public on grounds that the he (Mr. Toure) went to court and was proven not guilty, so he should “go and sin no more instead of accusing the Commission”.
“To accuse us of being corrupt, or to say we solicited money is a grave allegation, we will not be here and allow people repeal our character and reputation. So we are throwing this challenge so that he can come up. He’s a business man and an honest man so we are awaiting his proof so that we can wipe out the bad apple from our entity,” Cllr. Toe said.
When questioned why the two reports had the same date, Mr. Toe said that he was not sure that the two dates were correct and wondered where Mr. Toure took the two reports from.
On the lessons learned, the LACC Acting chairperson said that the Commission produced evidence overwhelmingly adding that the evidence corroborated with the audit GAC.
“So if this is the kind of country we want to build that people will steal from the Liberian people and go free, although we are disappointed by the judgment of the court but we respect the decision of the court, so if Liberians want the country to be like this then so it be.”
“We are not deterred by what has been said by the court, we have a mandate and we will live up to it. If in the wisdom of the judge that the defendants should be free of the charges then we have nothing to do but to accept”, he asserted.
Cllr. Toe said that though the court didn’t find Mr. Toure guilty but the Commission is still holding that he (Mr. Toure) did wrong and deprived Liberian of their just benefit.
“I disagree with the court but as a lawyer, the system is challenged. In the wake of all this, if the court can say no wrong then let’s challenge for them; so despite the ruling, we will go to the same court but if the court say not guilty we will still pursued our cases,” LACC acting chairperson.