Series of confusions to the latest submissions made by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) that several officials of government either declared false assets or did not cooperate with the Asset Verification Team, has left many to wonder the veracity of the findings.
Almost all of those named by the LACC including T. Nelson Williams of the LPRC, Blamo Nelson, former Internal Affairs Minister, Stephen Yekerson, former official at the Public Works Ministry have come out strong against the entity, rubbishing its submissions as far-fetched.
Blamo Nelson's rebuttal
Mr. Nelson left government few months ago for reasons known to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who sacked him, but his name has come in the limelight not for the good reasons, rather his alleged misleading asset declaration to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).
He is furious over the report and vowed to fight back for the protection of his character until the issue is brought to what he called a logical conclusion. The LACC invited him to submit all documents in his possession at the time, but he went late.
He told a news conference yesterday in Monrovia that he has written the LACC board requesting a re-examination of his assetdeclaration.
The former Internal Affairs boss accused Mr. J. Bernard Nagbe, an LACC Assets Verification Team leader and his team of consciously and professionally not analyzing the documentary facts, responses and clarifications made available to them during the exercise.
Nelson called for re-examination of the information and the facts relating to his declaration in order to set the record straight. But Nelson also did not say that he did not meet the deadline and did not say if he submitted all the documents requested by the commission.
He termed the LACC report as faulty and harmful to his reputation and the emotional wellbeing of his family, and added "without just cause, the LACC has exposed ne and my family to public ridicule."
"What the team has concluded and recommended about me will not stand. I will pursue the matter to its logical conclusion."
In his latest report, the LACC said Mr. Nelson assets raised two queries on omission of property listing in his asset declaration, which was published in February 2012 and how he earned lump-sum cash deposits made to some of his accounts.
Mr. Nelson said he acquired the properties long before February 2012 and that, in no way said properties in question could be cited as evidence of wealth accumulated while he served as Minister of Internal Affairs.
Commenting on the lump-sum cash deposited the LACC reportedly "Uncovered," he pointed out that the bank statements were given to said institution by him and that from the same statement they have noticed the deposits.
He said the choice of word "uncovered" used by the LACC is a deliberate attempt to give the impression that he tried to conceal information which they uncovered through diligent investigation. He said the information is far from truth and added that the LACC team is consciously trying to manipulate public perception about his integrity.
T. Nelson Williams' rebuttal
On behalf of its boss, the LPRC rejected the LACC's claim that "Mr. Williams is among those who have deliberately refused to cooperate with the commission on the issue of asset declaration."
The entity termed as untrue the claims, and said the managing director was one of the first to declare his assets in early 2012.
According to the entity, Mr. Williams on April 9, 2012 submitted a letter referenced MD-LPRC/056/12 to the LACC Executive Chairperson, Cllr. Frances Johnson Allison where he enclosed a copy of his declaration of income, Assets and Liabilities for the LACC review and file.
"On the same day, a letter referenced MD-LPRC/055/12 was copied to the President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf also enclosed with a copy of his declaration of income, Assets and Liabilities," a statement quoted the entity as indicating.
"On April 11, 2012 a letter was sent from Gertrude B. Nyema-Freeman, Program Assistant for Education, Prevention and Receiving Officer for All Declarant, LACC to the Managing Director stating that the Declaration information submitted by the MD was incomplete and included a full copy of the Declaration of Income, Assets and Liabilities form for completion."
Not stopping there, LPRC said on April 17, 2012 a fully completed Declaration of Income, Assets and Liability Form was submitted to the LACC by Mr. T. Nelson Williams, II., and that an Acknowledgement slip was received, reviewed and stamped by G. K. Nagbe, LACC Receiving Officer.
"This completed document was notarized by M. Howe, Notary Public and Justice of the Peace, Montserrado County, Republic of Liberia.
Since April 17, 2012, the commission has not written the LPRC Managing Director, T. Nelson Williams, II in the form of an observation, complaint or response relative to the Asset declaration submitted last year," it continued.
"This, from all indications suggests that the commission has since consented to the notarized and stamped documents submitted by the LPRC boss and with almost 18 months since the asset declaration letter was sent to the LACC, it is highly astonishing and unfortunate for the LACC to come with such report."
On the basis of the information provided, the LPRC called on the LACC to go further in explaining what it means by "Mr. Williams is among those who deliberately refused to cooperate with it" as the letter submitted by Mr. Williams certainly indicates that he is no way in the wrong as erroneously being reported by the LACC.
"There is, indeed, a serious need for the LACC to counter check its files to avoid such an unnecessary embarrassment," it said.
According to the LPRC, the LACC must live to the meaning is of its motto "Building Integrity for Development," noting "As the LACC continues to fight corruption and build the integrity of our institution, we also hope that they themselves operate fairly with the highest form of integrity, professionalism and ethical standards."
Stephen Yekeson's Rebuff
Another person who is not willing to let sleeping dogs lie as far as the LACC's report is concerned is Stephen Yekeson.
Mr. Yekeson said the LACC report was flawed because it was outside of the reporting period.
It is not the first time officials of government have taken on the LACC in the asset declaration process.
Almost everybody the LACC listed in the first report released took to the airwaves to deny and vilify the commission of engaging in witch-hunt.
The preponderance of denials and rebuttals to the LACC findings, coupled with the public backing of accused, has placed the commission on the edge, with many saying the commission is not telling truth as it relates to its work.