25 February 2013

Liberia: Test of Loyalty - Former Deputy Police Boss Against Former Boss

Loyalty is relative, many will argue, depending on its application to whatever situation, but when it comes to the interest of the state and individual, then its true definition sufficed. A facsimile of the comparison is the situation with Asatu Bah Kanneh, who is testifying against her former boss in favor of the state. As Judicial Correspondent George J. Borteh reports, this is seen as complete test of her loyalty whether she holds it to the state or to her former boss.

The trial of former police director and four others in the US$199,800.00 theft case y continued last Friday with the fifth witness testifying that she does not have idea pertaining to the purchase of uniforms for officers of the Emergence Response Unit (ERU) of the Liberia National Police (LNP).

Witness Asatu Bah Kanneh who served the Liberia National Police as Deputy Director for Administration told the court and jurors in her testimony that during her tenure, she was never contacted by her boss (Atty. Brown) in connection to the purchase of uniforms for ERU officers.

Though the former Deputy Police boss informed the court and the jurors during her testimony that she was responsible for procurement and logistics, she said the United States Government built the building that is currently hosting the ERU and even provided cars to the force (ERU).

Madam Kanneh who is currently serving the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as Deputy Director for Administration, said she served the LNP for 25 years and denied of serving on any committee for the procurement of uniforms for the ERU.

"Most of the supplies for the LNP during my tenure as Deputy Director for Administration came from donors and we never had any procurement power," she said.

Experts say she finds herself between the sticks as she as to contend with the interest of the state and that of her former boss. Others term it a test of loyalty for her which, if she demonstrates in its truest sense, will serve as good precedence.

The Liberian Government through the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) is trying Madam Brown on allegation of misappropriation of funds entrusted in her care for the operations of the LNP.

The sixth witness for the prosecution is expected to take witness stand today.

Earlier, the first witness produced by lawyers representing the Liberia Anti-corruption Commission (LACC) in the ongoing US$199,800.00 theft case involving former Director of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Beatrice Munah Sieh Brown and four others testified that there were no records to show that uniforms were purchased for officers of Emergence Response Unit (ERU), by the former police Director administration.

Taking the witness stand at Criminal Court-C at the Temple of Justice, witness Morris B. Ware who is also an investigator of the Liberia Anti-corruption Commission said during investigation conducted by LACC investigators, the Ultimate Investment and Holding Company owned by defendant Prince O. A. Akinremi never imported any uniforms for ERU officers as claimed by former police boss Brown.

Former police boss Brown, Prince O. A. Akinremi CEO of Ultimate Investment and Holding Company, Harris Manneh Dunn former Deputy Commissioner for administration of the LNP, Kaymah N. Zeon and Nebo Garlo, Physical Auditors of the Ministry of Finance are on trial at Criminal Court-C for allegedly stealing US$199,800.00 from the Government of Liberia.

The defendants have been charged with Economic Sabotage, Theft of Property, Criminal Facilitation and Criminal Conspiracy for allegedly importing ERU Uniforms which according to the LACC investigator that were not delivered.

Witness Ware told the court and jurors that during investigation, the Ministries of Finance and Commerce including BIVAC were written as to whether the Ultimate Investment and Holding Company had documents in connection to the importation of ERU Uniforms.

According to witness Ware, each of institution replied and informed the Liberia Anti-corruption Commission investigators that they (Finance, Commerce and BIVAC), had no documents indicating that the Ultimate Investment and Holding Company imported uniforms for the Emergence Response Unit(ERU).

"In 2010, LACC wrote BIVAC, wrote the Ministry of Commerce on March 29, 2010, wrote the Ministry of Finance March 16, 2010 for registration, July 12, 2010 wrote the Ministry of Commerce for importation verification on the uniforms allegedly brought in by Ultimate Investment and Holding Company, but all replied and said they have no documents in connection to the importation of uniforms for ERU officers by Ultimate Investment and Holding Company," witness Ware told the court.

During his testimony, the prosecution witness informed the court and the jurors that former Justice Minister Philip Z. A. Banks signed the US$199,800.00 voucher that led to the dubious transaction between former police Director Brown and the Ultimate Investment and Holding Company.

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