Controversies surrounding the most-talked about recording reportedly released by suspended Montserrado County Superintendent, Grace T. Kpaan recently has taken another trend. The lawyer representing the legal interest of Supt. Kpaan, Pearl Brown-Bull has denied information that the tape was released by her client.
Supt. Kpaan is being suspended by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for what appears to be her apparent disrespect to the House of Representatives.
Cllr. Bull in clarifying the issue on a recent radio talk show said Supt. Kpaan did not release any recording relative to her discussion with Montserrado County District#16 Representative, Edward Forh. "I've advised my client not to speak on the issue because the matter is before the Supreme Court. Again, let me make it clear here that Grace Kpaan did not release any recording," said the tough talking female lawyer.
Forh has since admitted that indeed the voice on the recording is his, but said he definitely knew that there was nothing like such an amount in the County Dedicated Fund budget which the Superintendent was alluding to.
"If Supt. Kpaan did not release the recording according to Cllr. Bull, then who did that has been the inexplicable question on the minds of many Liberians.
The release of the recording to the public, which is now being denied by Supt. Kpaan and her lawyer, raised issues of financial impropriety on the part of county officials and insinuated that Rep. Forh was involved, either actively or passively, in the misapplication of said funds.
Legal pundits believe that the recording also raised a second issue of the criminality on the invasion of people's privacy which they said is troubling as the government operates separate and coordinated branches where good policies and pieces of advice come only through frank exchange of ideas.
They further noted that to breach such confidentiality in government does not augur well for the country's newly found democracy adding that even the President stands at risk of being recorded secretly.
During his recent press briefing upon his return to the country, Rep. Forh clarified that the county funds were used without the knowledge of the Caucus thereby reducing the Grace Kpaan figure of US$2.9 million to US$2.6 million. During the press briefing, Forh said the Supt. was just being mischievous to have asked for a "balance" which she is aware had been used by her and the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) of Montserrado County.
He said it is an impossibility that he would have even considered conniving with the Superintendent when he had earlier confronted her on the "balance" of US$261,620.00 that was taken from the County Dedicated Funds almost two years before the money was even declared to the county; and that as chairman of the County Council he was under binding duty to report during the County Council sitting of June 20, 2012.
In fact, knowing that the money had short-landed, he told the Superintendent that he would deal with only US$2.5million instead of US$2.9M which she and her people had allegedly tampered with in the tone of $US261,620.
Meanwhile, Rep. Forh is calling for a full-fledged audit of the County's fund so that culprits can be brought to justice instead of dwelling on a recording in order to divert attention from the main issue of corruption. He then pledged to submit to any and all investigations on the matter; Morrison O.G. Sayon writes.