The Analyst (Monrovia)

18 April 2008

Liberia: LWHR Writes Justice Ministe

Monrovia — The Liberia Watch for Human Rights (LWHR) has written the Minister of Justice, demanding investigation into claims that officials of Grand Bassa County are on the payroll of the Liberian Agricultural Company (LAC).

In the letter dated April 2, 2008 under the signature of Executive Director, Thompson Ade-Baryor, the group says "The letter serves to raise unflinching concern about denials by Dr. Samuel Barnett, General Manager of the Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC), relative to allegations that Grand Bassa County government officials are on the payroll of the Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC)."

According to the group, the denial has prompted it to request Justice Minister, Cllr. Philip Banks to launch an immediate independent investigation into the allegation.

That besides, LWHR observes that that has caused the media and public to speculate that there is more to unearth about the alleged "Revised Adjusted Government Relation" document dated May 1, 2008 and signed by the former General Manager George Quaateng Mensah.

"Whether these allegations are true or not, democracy has to be put to the test in order to appease public opinion and the UP-led government's stance on zero tolerance for corruption," LWHR noted. The group also averred that Justice is increasingly accepted as the core principle of good governance.

Not only that, it continues, "It becomes more and more clear that the most effective way of implementing the principles of transparency and rule of law, as such, we herein appeal to your kind offices to ensure that independent and impartial investigations are carried out."

The letter said it is not enough for Dr. Bennett to simply shrug, down-play or treat with scum such a matter, given the negative potential the allegations may have regarding the integrity of the nation, especially at a time when the Criminal Justice system still has a lot to deliver relative to impartial jurisprudence in the courts.

"We envisage that a public reaction to such allegation could only be laid to rest through credible independent probe", the release said. LWHR statement says the probe should be "a means of not only bringing out the facts, but to serve as deterrent to would -be corrupt company and government officials in other resource-rich communities, and also to reveal what drastic actions await perpetrators of thievery, dishonesty and abuse of public office," LWHR said.

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