14 January 2013

Liberian Ambassador Accused of Brutality

The Liberians Association in France has threatened lawsuit against Liberia's Ambassador to Paris Dudley McKinley Thomas for allegedly brutalizing one of his employees at the Mission.

Isaac Yeah, one of the press officers at the Mission in France, who was here, could not denied nor confirmed the incident, saying he was not aware of what had happened.

Earlier, Assistant Foreign Minister for Public Affairs, Horatio Bobby Willie, who was contacted on the issue, referred this paper to Isaac Yeah, who works at the Liberian Embassy in Paris.

However, medical report available to this paper indicates that Parjiloh was allegedly beaten, sustaining injuries and is said to be using artificial (false) teeth as a result of the incident.

The Association's Secretary General, Randy Jones disclosed that McKinley allegedly flogged his butler, Richard Parjloh and broke two of his teeth after accusing him of stealing his (Thomas') money, which was later discovered to have been left in Belgium by the Ambassador himself.

Jones told this paper Friday in Monrovia, their resolution to sue Thomas is to demand damages and payments for medication for the victim, which comes after all efforts to report the incident to government, fell on deaf ears.

"We are taking this seriously. We have been patient for a long period of time. In 2009, in April to be precise, Thomas beat his butler and took out the man's two teeth. We wanted to report it to the French Government, but other Liberians asked us to wait," he narrated.

He said the Association has formally communicated through written documents and telephone calls to some officials of the Liberian Ministries of State and Foreign Affairs in Monrovia, including Foreign Minister Augustine Ngafuan. According to him, they have also informed President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf through a position statement on November 7, 2012, but to no avail.

"We have tried all our best, even a communication, a telephone call went to one Wesseh McClain (former official of the Foreign Ministry) to make sure that the President be aware of this situation; up to this present time nothing. Everything is in that document that we gave to the President, so we don't know whether they allow her to read them or not," he explained.

Jones said they are taking the issues seriously, as the ambassadors' alleged action is against the Labor law. "When we get back, we will sue the ambassador because it's against labor law. You don't beat your worker, especially at the level of brutality he minted against the poor man."

Asked what response they anticipated from government, Mr. Jones said he wanted the President and the Liberian people know about the incident and their course of action, as they can no longer hold back to see this man suffer.

"Well, we are not in the position to ask the President to recall him, but what we are saying, we want the President and the Liberian people to know that the Ambassador in France has caused problem and continues to do so against the country's image," Jones noted.

He continued: "And the worst part is to beat this young man and don't care about his health. So as Liberians in France, we cannot sit to see this young man crying everyday on our feet; so the only thing we can do, if I get back, we will be calling a mass meeting and to formally complain the ambassador's brutality to the French Foreign Ministry and give copy (of the complaint) to the French police and meet our lawyer".

In their position statement to President Sirleaf, the Liberian community in France complained that the Ambassador was treating his fellow compatriots with disrespect and cruelty, adding that as the result of the situation they are gripped with fears to visit the embassy.

"We are appealing to you to please take serious action against the Ambassador to serves as a warning to other public officials from treating their subjects with wickedness" the statement read.

The statement which is in the possession of this paper also cited various instances, evidencing the lukewarm relations that existed between the Liberian community and the Ambassador and his staff.

The statement, signed by residents of various French cities including Dijon, Evreus, Rennes, Lille, Nancy, Lyon, Bordeaus, Toulen, Cean and Nice, expressed lack of confidence in the leadership of Ambassador Thomas.

They also complained that Liberians in France are not given the opportunity to employment at the embassy as even lower ranking jobs including driving, doorman, cleaner, receptionist, secretary, are being occupied by non-Liberians.

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