The New Dawn (Monrovia)

7 January 2013

Liberia: U.S.$62,000 Forest Money Vanish in Sinoe

This paper has gathered that US$62,000 royalty intended for the people of Tartweh-Drapoh District, in Sinoe County has allegedly been squandered by some officials of the county.

The money, which is a forest resource, was provided by the Universal Secure Company (USC), a logging company managed by a retired General of the Armed Forces of Liberia, Edward Slangar, according to the Ministry of National Security.

The amount was made available early last year to the Chairman of the Traditional Council of the district Chief Emmanuel Wesseh, but the people of Tartweh-Drapoh rejected the money on grounds they were already in negotiation with another logging company Atlantic Resources.

However, instead of returning the money to Universal Secure Company, Chief Wesseh allegedly went ahead and shared with some of his kinsmen, including Mr. Brown Wesseh, and Mark Nacklen.

News of the US$62,000 is said to have spread in the district like a wide fire with some officials of the county, including Superintendent J. Milton Teahjay, who reportedly demanded a giant share, describing himself the landlord of Sinoe County.

Supt. Teahjay reportedly requested Chief Wesseh to give him US$30,000 of the money, but the chief and his two kinsmen settled with Teahjay for US$15,000 and they subsequently forwarded US$5,000 to Representative Jefferson Karmoh in Monrovia, who is the direct representative of Tartweh-Drapoh.

Representative Karmoh rejected the offer and reported the money to the Liberia National Police on grounds that since his people have refused the amount, he could not muster the conscience to accept such money.

He later ordered the police to arrest Chief Emmanuel Wesseh, who has been accordingly charged for bribery and turned over to the Ministry of National Security for further investigation. But the envelope in which Supt. Teahjay was placed has the inscription "for development purposes".

Chief Wesseh was later released through the intervention of the National Traditional Council of Liberia, while both Brown Wesseh and Mark Nacklen were rounded up and are being investigated by the Ministry National Security for 'economic sabotage and bribery'.

When Superintendent Teahjay was contacted on the issue, he denied ever coming in contact with those allegedly involved, but noted Senator Mobutu Valh Nyepan and Jefferson Karmoh should be quarried because the two lawmakers had been in meetings with the district during his absence.

Teahjay called for the probe of those, who detained Chief Wesseh, adding that such action is unmerited for chiefs in the country, and that he (Teahjay) will make sure those behind the chief's arrest are exposed.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of National Security for Operations, George Hansford, who was contacted via mobile phone, could not deny nor confirm the information, but stressed that the ministry does not run its activities in the press.

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