Liberia: Senate Summons CARI Boss Over Leaked Audio About Selling of Entity’s Assets
Gbarnga – Bong County Senator Henrique Tokpa has written a communication inviting the acting Officer-in-Charge of the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI), Paulette Findley, and the Board Chair of the entity to appear before the joint committees on Autonomous Commissions, Agencies and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on Wednesday, July 22 at 11:00am in the Chambers of the Liberian Senate.
Senator Tokpa, Chairman of the House’s Committee on Autonomous Commissions and Agency, said the invitation is regarding a leaked audio revealing plans by Findley and a senior staff of CARI, David Tokpah, to loot assets belonging to agency.
The audience, according to Tokpa, will also focus on the disappearance of a 50 KVA generator from the premises of the institution two months ago. That incident prompted an investigation by the Bong County’s detachment of the Liberia National Police.
Senator Tokpa said the decision of the joint committees to invite Findley and the Board Chair of the entity is to authenticate the truthfulness of the leaked audio.
“CARI as an entity of state interest which needs proper administrative management, and in keeping with our statutory functions or Oversight Responsibility, we hereby cite the entire Management Team and the Chair of the Board of Directors of CARI for a conference on Wednesday, July 22 at 11:00am in the Chambers of the Liberian Senate,” Tokpa wrote in a communication addressed to Findley.
In a FrontPageAfrica interview this week, Findley described as “stupid and nonsensical” the audio recording allegedly featuring the voices of her and a senior staff of CARI conspiring to loot the entity’s assets.
“I haven’t listened to any leaked audio yet because it doesn’t worth my time. I won’t give anyone credence on this matter,” Findley told FrontPage Africa.
“CARI has no asset that values my time to conspire to sell. CARI has scraps that need to be sold especially when the institution is faced with challenges. This is why I wrote the General Service Agency (GSA) in Bong County to sell the scraps to raise money for the entity. My request was endorsed for me to sell the scraps to raise money.”
But Tokpah, head of the Natural Resource Department of CARI, has maintained that the conversation to loot the entity’s assets was between him and Findley. Findley has also come under criticism from some residents.
“Findley is good at cooking lies. Who doesn’t know her voice? If she denies that we did have such conversation, I will leak more damaging audios to show to everyone how corrupt she is,” Dennis Kpannah, president of the Concerned Youths of Suakoko District said.
Liberians have been expressing their outrage since the leaked audio went viral on social media and broadcast on different news outlets, with many calling on President George Weah to waste no time in dismissing Findley.
“The question at this point is not about Findley’s connections with the executive or not,” said Jerry Tarr, student leader in Panta District.
“it’s about her ploy as head of CARI attempting to steal from the entity. We can’t allow connections to the power that be continue to affect us in the fight against corruption.”
Liberians on social media have also been gripped by the revelations in the leaked audio, wondering why the president has not dismissed Findley yet.
On Facebook, Theresa Varney wrote: “I am beginning to lose confidence in this government. It has been two weeks since Findley was heard in a leaked audio conspiring to loot from the entity she is heading and the president who professes of fighting corruption does not want to dismiss Findley. This is wrong.”
Diana Wezzo used her Facebook page to mock the president for not showing any disdain for persons tainted with graft.
Another Facebook user, Nelson Bartapay, feared the president may not do anything to Findley because she is a member of the president’s party.
“This goes a long way to suggest that the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change and the president are not fighting corruption. They are romancing corruption,” Nelson wrote.