12 November 2013

Liberia: Ellen Corkrum Fires Back At Government

The former Managing Director of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), Madam Ellen Corkrum, who the Government of Liberia (GOL) indicted along with Musa Bility, Chairman of the Board of the LAA and others, has responded to the alleged LAA corruption saga.

The LAA is a regulatory authority of the James Spriggs Payne Airport and the Roberts International Airport (RIA).

It could be recalled that sometimes ago, the Liberian government through the Special Grand Jurors for the County of Montserrado, Republic of Liberia indicted Madam Corkrum, Mr. Bility and others with the crimes Economic Sabotage, Theft of Property, Criminal Conspiracy and Misapplication of Entrusted Property.

According to count one of the indictment, the Co-defendants Corkrum and Bility, as signatories to the LAA, Private Prosecutrix's account # 005 USD 21235003306, maintained with the Liberian Bank for Development & Investment (LBDI) did "criminally conspire" with Co-defendants Diaspora Consulting LCC represented by Momar Dieng, and the LBDI and defrauded the said Private Prosecutrix by making unauthorized transfer of funds aggregating USD 269,000.00(United States Dollars Two Hundred Sixty Nine Thousand) from the accounts of the LAA, Private Prosecutrix through the LBDI on diverse occasions to the accounts of C0-defendant Diaspora Consulting, LLC at Bank of America for services which were never rendered by the said Co-defendant Diaspora Consulting Engineering.

Principally, Madam Corkrum is charged with illegally wiring US$269, 000 to Disapora, without authorization for services not rendered. Specially, it is alleged that US$125,000 was accordingly transferred on 12/10/12 and again on 12/13/12, while another US$19,000 was transferred on 12/18/12(for total of US$269,000).

But Madam Corkrum, currently resident in the United States of America, claimed that she acted on authorization per Executive Order from the President of Liberia on November 12, 2012.

In a leaked document, which contains her responses against the indictment, the former LAA boss asserted that Disapora did render the services, and US$125,000 was never transferred on the 12/10/12 as the same was returned unsuccessful.

She averred in the leaked document, a copy of which is in possession of this paper, that consequently only US$125,000 was transferred on 12/13/12 and US$19,000 on 12/18/12(for an actual total of US$144,000). The leaked document also contains an email from her (Corkrum) to Bility dated Monday, Monday December 10, 2012 at 9:23 Am.

In said email, the former LAA boss praised the Diaspora Consultant engineers for rendering services beyond their scope of work, contrary to the indictment. She said these included: "support to both RIA technical departments (internal coordination, reporting and management/ assessment, writing, writing of NOTAMs, etc) and to SSF (emergency advisory services to correct the badly bungled repair attempt resulting from poor planning and lack of proper technical assessment of runway characteristics prior to the engineers arrival on the ground Friday, December 7th, as evidence by the weekend reports."

"To this and given that this is their 2nd visit to Liberia in the past few weeks to work on our runway testing and correct asphalt application, in keeping with the payment schedule of all hired to conduct this work timely, we will process all respective payments related to the runway emergency pavement work today," she stated.

"Per our discussion, I will send you the memo for the President, for your review on our runway update and to state that the emergency work is now in progress," she among other things added.

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