Liberia: How Did Eric Wowoh Get Cleared of Sexual Harassment Allegations by the Liberia National Police?
MONROVIA – On Jan 4 and 5, 2022, multiple news outlets reported that the Liberia National Police had “cleared Eric Wowoh of all RAPE allegations at schools in Bong and Montserrado counties”. A few months later, additional reporting by these outlets, including our own, again detailed that “CAN U.S. Board exonerates Eric Wowoh of all allegations on two of its campuses”. But an additional investigation by FPA has left more questions than answers surrounding the two investigations mentioned by these media sites and the methods of the investigations allegedly carried out. And because FPA carried these stories also, we decided to conduct additional investigations when social media reports surfaced challenging the impartiality of at least one of these investigations. Our history with something similar involving the “More Than Me” Foundation and its powerful connections in Liberia over many years compelled us to dig deeper into this issue. This is Part I of a Three part series of investigations.
In the Jan. 4 and 5, 2022 story, it was revealed that Eric Wowoh, the CEO of Change Agent Network (CAN) had reported allegations against him to the police and that after investigating these allegations, Mr. Wowoh was issued “their Confirmation clearance” of the allegations and that the police even recommended that charges be filed against one of the donors of CAN for being behind false charges against Mr. Wowoh. However, our investigation has uncovered more questions than answers in this matter. For example, who at the Women’s and Children’s Victim Unit at the Liberia National Police conducted the investigations? Was Eric Wowoh ever cited at the Liberia National police headquarters, with or without his lawyers, and questioned about the allegations? Were charges forwarded to the prosecution arm at the Ministry of Justice in this matter that cleared Mr. Wowoh if others were found to have trumped up false charges and filed them at the Liberia National Police? Were the news organs directly represented by the Liberia National Police during the investigation or were they fed the results of these investigations by a third party or even one involved in the case? How were the whistleblowers treated? Were they treated as important parts of the system needed to weed out these kinds of acts or were they treated as suspects and why or why not? Did the news sites or contributing writers who submitted these stories to the public through their publications even contact the whistleblowers and alleged victims to get their sides of the stories or did they just run with a one-sided version?
So far, FPA’s investigation with the Liberia National Police is undergoing and results will be reported soon, but information so far reveals that a lot of the top brass at the Liberia National Police were not aware that an investigation of this nature even took place and are also very surprised that the police would see the need to give a “Confirmation of Clearance” to someone who reported alleged lies against him. What then was the police “Clearing” Mr. Wowoh if he was never investigated as a suspect and no charges were formally recommended against him by the Women and Children’s Section?
Then on April 29, 2022, many of the same publications that carried the earlier story of the Liberia National Police clearing Mr. Wowoh reported that the Board of Change Agent Network (CAN) in the U.S. had also cleared Mr. Wowoh of all charges on its two campuses. After the first reading of this, it appears that just like the police should have, the Board had conducted a full investigation and cleared Mr. Wowoh. But a much closer review again leaves more questions than answers. Who conducted the investigation for the Board of Change Agent Network? Was it impartial? Is the result credible? As FPA investigation in this matter continues, here’s our findings so far.
The Board of CAN itself investigated the CEO, Eric Wowoh. The investigation itself lasted about one week and was conducted by the President of the Board, Dr. Stefania Forte, as reported in the April 29, 2022 story. And this has raised a lot of eyebrows from the general public as many have wondered how can the President of the Board personally investigate the CEO of the same organization and come out with a credible report? Why wasn’t an “Independent” group or individual commissioned to conduct the investigation in this matter? Can a colleague investigate her own colleague and come out with a truly impartial result? Also, at different points before making the results of the investigation public, the President of the Board is alleged to have said that she was conducting a “Fact finding mission” and then there would be an Independent Investigation. FPA is in the process of contacting the President of the Board to verify this and address the total merits of the full investigative reports.
FPA has also been alerted to the involvement of other groups involved with this story from the very beginning, including some that were very active leaders in the successful fight to hold Kaylee Mayer and her “More Than Me” foundation accountable for very similar allegations against them some years ago. That was a very challenging battle also as “More Than Me” was very politically connected with the previous regime and the present government, including at the highest levels of both governments. However, that fight led to the eventual shuttering of the More Than Me Foundation in Liberia and these advocates are once again determined to make sure that issues of the Sexual Abuse or Sexual Exploitation of Liberian Girls are not swept under the rug or glossed over by others, especially women. Part 2 will detail the results of FPA’s findings from the Women’s and Children’s Victims unit at the Liberia National Police, the victims, and the Whistleblowers. Part 3 will detail the findings from the President of the Board of Change Agent Network and other organizations that have been involved in this matter from the beginning.