Monrovia — The George Weah-led administration has taken a stance to brand individuals perceived to have been associated with the brutal National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), a rebel faction led by jailed ex-president Charles Taylor as anti-peaceful, yet several key members of the administration were close allies of Taylor.
Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) Mr. Lenn Eugene Nagbe told the state broadcaster on Monday that Mr. Jonathan Paye-Layleh, BBC's correspondent in Liberia, was closely involved with the activities of the NPFL and worked with a pro-Taylor newspaper, therefore, justifying President Weah's comment that Paye-Layleh has always opposed his works, especially when he served as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
"You can quote me as the Minister of Information of Liberia. I am saying that Mr. Paye-Layleh was a part of the NPFL machinery that was advocating for the position of the NPFL at the time, and Mr. Weah was urging disarmament. Isn't that being against something somebody was pushing? Wasn't him one of the first editors of the Patriot newspaper and of the NPFL's Ministry of Information? I was there. I also served as an editor of the Patriot newspaper," Nagbe disclosed.
But Paye-Layleh, who fled the country recently after he was openly accused by President Weah of being against his initiatives, sees Min. Nagbe's allegation is intended to take him out of focus.
In a response to the allegation, he wrote: "Minister Nagbe, you of ALL persons, are branding me as someone who worked for the NPFL, then it is clear why MAYBE, and I repeat MAYBE, the government of President Weah is NOT dealing with people who once participated in or associated with the activities of the NFPL including those who went on to serve as ministers under Taylor. Liberians are not fools."
Nagbe Linked to Bockarie Death
Nagbe himself is not free of the activities of the NPFL. In fact, his name surfaced during the war crimes hearing of former President Taylor at The Hague for atrocities committed in neighboring Sierra Leone. It was disclosed during the hearing back in 2008 that it was Nagbe who carried the lifeless and brutally murdered body of Sam Bockarie, alias General Mosquito, a fierce RUF General and that of his family to the Samuel Stryker Funeral Home in Sinkor, Monrovia after he was pitilessly murdered on orders of former President Taylor, by one of this top commanders.
Nagbe served as chief of staff of former Vice President Moses Blah at the time.
An affidavit from the Samuel Stryker Funeral Home produced during the hearing stated, "I the undersigned, Jusu Momoh, being duly sworn, depose and state as follows, to wit, one, that during the early part of the year 2003 I was in charge of the Samuel A. Stryker Funeral Services located on Tubman Blvd., Sinkor, Monrovia, Liberia, because the proprietor, Executive Officer Mr. Samuel A. Stryker II, had travelled out of the country. That during the period referred to above, one Mr. Eugene Nagbe, then Chief of Office Staff for then Vice President Moses Blah, at about 4:30 p.m., brought three dead bodies in a pickup truck belonging to Vice President Moses Blah, and deposited the same at Samuel A. Stryker Funeral Services."
George Weah and Charles Taylor
During Liberia's 2017 Presidential and Representatives election, Dr. Alan White, the former chief of investigations for the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone, disclosed that than candidate George Weah and Mr. Taylor were talking and that he (Weah), if elected, wanted to bring Taylor back to Liberia.
"It is incredulous," White said that anyone would attempt "to bring back a convicted war criminal that would be a threat not only to Liberia, but also to the entire region," he told the Voice of America (VOA).
The union between Weah's Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and the Taylor's National Patriotic Party (NPP) came just before a phone call from the former President to a gathering of his supporters on his birthday in January 2017.
More NPFLs in Govt
And as if the bringing on of Taylor's close associates didn't matter, President Weah in March made a supreme appointment of Charles R. G. Bright, a former strong member of the NPFL and Prince Johnson Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL).
President Weah wrote: "I George Manneh Weah, Sr., President of the Republic of Liberia, by virtue of the power in me vested do hereby acknowledge that Hon. Charles R. G. Bright, my advisor for Economic Affairs, has the status of a Cabinet Minister, with full courtesies and benefits appertaining thereto and commission him as follows: To visit all Ministries and Autonomies Agencies, Government Commissions, Public Corporations and State-owned enterprises(wholly and or partially-owned) to obtain information and advise me on current policies, practices as it relates to the operations of the Entity in General, and its personnel in particular;
To be an Ex-Officio participant in all meetings at said Entities, Board or otherwise, regarding matters with an economic impact on revenue, expenditure, personnel and other assets;
To ensure, as practical as possible that personnel actions, employment salaries, other benefits, dismissals, retirement and work schedule are in keeping with approved government guidelines;
To Monitor, Generally, all activities of appointed officials and with written approval of the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, utilize the expertise of other Liberians as resource personnel."
Recently, FrontPageAfrica reported based on an investigation that there was a resurgence of several fighters of Mr. Taylor's NPFL in the security sector, including the Executive Protection Service (EPS) and the National Security Agency (NSA).
Prominent among them is Logan Davies, recently appointed Director of the Liberia Seaport Police at the National Port Authority. Davies was a prominent figure in the September 18, 1998 Camp Johnson Road Massacre of over 1,000 defenseless Krahns and other tribes seeking refuge in the St. Thomas Episcopal Church.
Davies recently completed a five-year prison sentence at the Monrovia Central Prison due to his role in the stabbing to death of the late Fred Zelee on Perry Street.
The fight between Roosevelt Johnson and Taylor's forces, resulted into the killing of Madison Wion in the U.S Embassy Compound, fired from Government forces.
Today, international war and crimes investigators are very concerned about the resurgence of several former NPFL figures in the Weah-led government, with General Bright, being the latest to be elevated to a senior Cabinet-level role. For years, General Bright was listed on the United Nations Travel and assets freeze ban as an Associate of former Liberian President Charles Taylor with ongoing ties to him.