Ex-Fugitive Corkrum Returns to Liberia as Weah Govt Drops Charges against Her
Unification Town, Margibi County – Ms. Ellen Yabba Kwame Corkrum, former Managing Director of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA) returned to the country Thursday, January 30, very elated and full of praises for President George Manneh Weah.
Ms. Corkrum, an ex-fugitive, who fled Liberia nearly seven years ago as a result of an Economic Sabotage charge hanging over her head, returned after President Weah-led Government of Liberia has dropped all criminal charges filed against her with the court.
The LAA MD was charged along with her fiancé Melvin Johnson for flagrantly disregarding Liberia’s Public Financial Management (PFM) and Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) laws within three months of her tenure.
Corkrum, a US-based Liberian female pilot, tasked with the responsibility of revamping the Roberts International Airport, reportedly attempted to defraud the Liberian government of nearly a quarter million United States dollars leading to her dismissal by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
In the indictment, the former LAA head was accused of masterminding a scheme to set up a fake company called Diaspora Consulting Engineering, which was heralded as being listed on the New York Stock Exchange with the intention of securing a bid to revamp the Roberts International Airport (RIA).
The value of the deal was set in the tone of US$250,000, almost five times more than the fee the previous company hired to perform refurbishing work at the airport.
Corkrum came to Liberia backed with a solid aviation credential and a U.S. military clearance in hopes of giving back to her homeland, a post-war nation emerging from war and was recruited at US$13,000 a month salary with free housing, full relocation cost and monthly round trip business class ticket to the US.
For seven years, Ms. Corkrum didn’t face the court in Liberia as she had fled the country and in the days that follow after she left the country, she released several audio clips of secret, damaging conversations she had with some former government officials, including former Defense Minister Brownie Samukai.
However, Ms. Corkrum returned Thursday, a free woman with no charge(s) of whatsoever hanging over her head.
Her homecoming was well noted as several Liberians, including residents of Smell No Taste (Unification Town), former and present workers of the LAA gathered at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) to welcome her back.
In Unification Town, she told journalists that she was always hopeful and that she knew that one day “this day would come.”
She added: “There were times when it just seemed dreadful and I didn’t know when that would have been. But everything was in God’s time.”
Ms. Corkrum expressed how grateful she is for the present Liberian leadership in Pres. Weah because he comes from a place that represents most of them and majority of people who are in Liberia.
She added, “We thank our President George Weah; he’s such a representation of all our people here. We need to make sure that as a people, as a community that we support his leadership, him and ourselves because it takes more than just one person for a nation to be successful.”
Responding to how she handled the last several years when she was indicted by former Pres. Sirleaf’s regime, she stated, “I will be very candid, there was some days and nights that it felt very hopeless. I am a human being, right? I have blood running through me just like each and every person here, my mother is here in the crowd, too. The strain wasn’t just on me, it was also on my family; and also on people who care about me. When you are in a situation where any sort of injustice is administered out, it doesn’t just hurt one person, it ends up hurting a major group of people.”
Ms. Corkrum further stated that before the broad smiles she had on face all through her welcome ceremony, there were many days and nights she didn’t know what to feel or how to maintain hope. “It was resilience that kept me going even though a particular day may have felt dark that there was still hope ahead,” she added.
As it relates to her being employed by the President, she stated that she doesn’t only have to work in government but there were many areas outside government that she can share her “little expertise that God has given me.”
“So, what if I am not appointed to do something? God has appointed me to come into our communities and talk to our people seeing how together we can build little by little even if it is a small entrepreneurship program.”