18 February 2013

Liberia: In RIA/MD's Dismissal - Musa Bility Exposed

Photo: Liberia Government
President Sirleaf and members of her cabinet.

A reliable source at the Monrovia branch of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment, (LBDI) has confided to this press that the dismissed Managing Director (MD) of the Roberts International Airport (RIA) Madam Ellen Corkrum was fully trying to ensure financial accountability at the RIA through the bank when news of her dismissal surfaced.

The source states that this raises the question of whether the RIA Board has sufficient legal grounds to dismiss her from her functions. The source, who preferred not to be named, also indicated that another suspicious flaw in the dismissal is that while the RIA Board is alleging that Ellen Cokrum has stolen huge sums of money from the RIA coffers and fled the country to the United States along with her boy-friend.

According to our source, the fact is that Ellen has since not gone anywhere as she remains in the country to do all she could to contest the Board's claims through the media including Fabric Radio and 'Frontpage Africa' online.

The insider at the LBDI further highlighted that he can remember seeing Madam Corkrum at the bank to enquire the number of checks payment transactions at the bank involving the RIA, as there are four signatories to the RIA account at the bank including that of Mr. Musa Bility, the Chairman of the Board of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA) which has oversight responsibility over RIA.

He said Ellen had asked them to release information on checks drawn in favor of IA lately as she herself do not have complete control on signing the checks. "We referred her to our supervisor where she went and had long discussions before three checks were given to her," he said.

What transpired next was that the bank also informed her that some of the RIA management monetary transactions are handled by the Harbel branch of the LBDI where she allegedly went in search of information. "It was in the midst of her research when news of her dismissal as managing director of the RIA emerged," he said.

When the bank heard that she has been relieved of her functions, the LBDI sent a message to her to return the checks that she had been given, but she said she was too busy to come to the bank and what she did was to send them through her driver.

"A careful investigation into the alleged financial misappropriation for which Ellen had been dismissed will surely nail some or all the four signatories to the RIA account at the LBDI banks in Monrovia and Harbel," the source said.

In a statement released last Wednesday, the LAA Board Chairman Musa Bility explained that apart from financial improprieties, abuse of office and privileges, Ms Corkrum paid US125,000 twice in December 2012 to the Diaspora Consulting Engineering, a group that was recommended to conduct emergency rehabilitation of the Roberts International Airport.

Efforts to contact Ms Ellen Corkrum, authorities at the LBDI or Musa Bility to comment on the allegations proved futile as the LAA Board Chairman had left the country for a trip to the United States.

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