31 December 2012

Liberia: Minister Norkeh Refutes Corruption Allegation

Post and Telecommunications Minister, Dr. Frederick Norkeh has sharply reacted to a story in the Independent Newspaper last Friday describing him as the "corrupt Minister" for 2012.

But an Editor of The Independent Newspaper Alfred Seboe termed the publication as unfortunate and apologized to the Minister.

The Independent Newspaper in its December 28, 2012 edition accused the Minister of turning the Ministry into a "family and tribal base".

The paper also cited a report of the General Auditing Commission (GAC) which implicated the Minister for act incompatible with fiscal probity regarding the management of the National Postal Address System (NAPAS).

The paper, among other things, said the Minister has delayed in launching the fiber optic cable to make communication faster and that he has ignored his authority to investigate an alleged illegal service (4G) operated by Cellcom.

However, addressing a news conference last Friday, Minister Norkeh said the newspaper's allegation is characterized by misinformation, misgiving, distortion, fabrication and falsehood.

He stated the paper's intent is to "blackmail" him and injure his hard earned character.

Minister Norkeh said prior to the publication, the paper did not contact him to balance its story but chose to intentionally malign his reputation.

Commenting on the NAPAS' allegation, Minister Norkeh explained that he inherited the NAPAS project with the Project Coordinator already appointed by his predecessor, saying "How can I be crucified or blamed for the process that led to appointing the NAPAS' Coordinator?"

Minister Norkeh said since he took over the Ministry, he has ensured transparency noting that he has nothing to hide.

He called on the paper to retract the story or he would use available legal means to protect his character.

In response, Alfred Seboe, Editor of Independent Newspaper, who attended the press conference, apologized to Minister Norkeh for the damage done to him as the result of the publication.

Mr. Seboe said it was unfortunate for the paper to have published the story without getting the side of the Minister.

Mr. Seboe, who claims that he was not in Monrovia when the story was published, promised to ensure that the story is retracted.

Editor Seboe said he has known Minister Norkeh over the years and has not been associated with any dishonesty.

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