10 August 2017

Liberia: Senator Sherman Returns With a Bang - Resurrecting Concerns Over Fate of Sable Mining Bribery Saga

Monrovia — What a difference a few months make. A little over a month after he fell off at the Capitol Building, Senator H. Varney G. Sherman (Unity Party, Cape Mount) is back in the thick of political things, ahead of the upcoming Presidential and legislative elections.

Prior to the fall, Sherman, highly touted as one of those on the list to be Vice President Joseph Boakai's running mate, was embroiled in a major corruption trial stemming from a report by the London-based watchdog group, Global Witness.

He was charged with "economic crimes," along with the former Speaker of the lower house of the national legislature, Alex Tyler, former junior mining minister Ernest C.B. Jones and the London-based Sable Mining.

Sherman was accused of orchestrating a vast political patronage network based on bribery on behalf of Sable, a charge all of the accused have vehemently denied.

Then came the fall in May when Senator Sherman, dropped unconscious during a petitioning program of Boakai for President by some members of the National Legislature.

Sherman was helped out of the program by bystanders and aides and rushed to the John F. Kennedy Medical Hospital.

While detail of Senator Sherman's fall was scarce at the time, speculations surfaced over the following weeks that he was flown out of Liberia for a brain tumor surgery.

Three months later, this week, Cllr. Sherman has been making public appearances showcasing his remarkable recovery from brain surgery, first on social media Facebook, with a photo of him dancing at a political rally in his hometown of Grand Cape Mount for Boakai and later at a thanksgiving ceremony at the Paynesville City Hall to celebrate his successful removal of the tumor after months of treatment in the U.S.

Thanking his supporters for his life, Senator Sherman charged: "God told me I have not yet called your name--you have something to do in Liberia--go back where you came from.

My fellow Liberians, I am very pleased today to be among you and to be speaking to you with the same vigor and with the same alertness that I had before May 11.

On May 11 as most of you know, I fainted. For several days I was in coma, I did not know where I was or what was happening to me."

"I think that I went to the gates of death, perhaps I sat on the chair and God told me I am not ready for you," he said.

In his show of gratitude for miraculous recovery, Senator Sherman has not lost sight of those who helped bring him through, paying homage to the JFK Medical Hospital for the high level of professionalism in providing him first aid assistance, despite all of the complaints from the public against the institution.

"I'll tell you, the days that I was in coma, with all of the complaints that I have heard about the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, I want to thank them very much.

The doctors and nurses gave me very good care. And also to those people who were at the Capitol Building that rushed to my rescue, I say thanks to all of you."

He did not stop there.

In a visit to the hospital that kept him alive, the Senator launched a project to purchase a CT (computed tomography) scan machine, making an initial contribution of US$5,000 on behalf of his family and another US$5,000 from his law firm.

"I was at 'death's door' when God through the doctors and nurses at the hospital saved my life."

Sherman says he is alive today because of medical advice from the JFK that I should go to the Jackson F. Doe Hospital in Tappita, Nimba County for a CT scan, which I did," Sherman said, adding, that it cost over US$2,000 for a chartered flight to get to Tappita, but if that machine was found in Monrovia, he would not have gone to Tappita.

Now back on his feet, the Senator is vowing to do everything in his might to make Vice President Joseph Boakai the next President, declaring that he believes that the shape of the country will change and the circumstances of the Liberian people will improve.

Political observers are not only surprise at Sherman's recovery from a major surgery but the speed at which he as rejuvenated his political mode.

His return also coincides with the recent attempt to impeach three members of the Supreme Court bench.

One lawmaker suggested to FrontPageAfrica this week that Sherman was the mastermind of the proceeding, but working behind the scene, an allegation Sherman has out-rightly denied, telling legislative reporters this week that the report linking him to the impeachment proceedings is unfair to him.

"I am not a well man. I came back to the country, based on doctor's advice."

"I can talk and speak intelligently, I have not lost my eyesight; this is why I came back to contribute and perform my duty as a Senator," adding, "Why will people think that I am behind the impeachment exercise?"

Added Senator Sherman: "I don't have the time and energy to be involved with the impeachment proceedings and certainly to be behind what is happening; that is not true.

You can remember that on May 1 of his year I fell off and was rushed to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Center where I was in coma for several days before being flown to US, where I recovered.

This story that I am so powerful and influential to manipulate the other senators to petition for the impeachment of the justice is far from the truth."

Amid the Supreme Court drama, concerns are also being raised about the state of the Sable Mining case.

FrontPageAfrica has learned that the Supreme Court should have heard Sherman's appeal at the end of August but the three of the justices who have been pushing for the appeal to be put on the docket -Kabineh Ja' Neh, Jamesetta Howard-Wollokollie and his Honor Philips A.Z. Banks - are among those being targeted for impeachment, putting the fate of the case in limbo.

A government prosecutor told FrontPageAfrica Thursday that the impeachment proceeding might delay the case going forward.

"We wanted to start retrial in September. But impeachment may halt that. We strongly believe that this is one of Cllr. Sherman's motives," an official in the justice ministry confided to FrontPageAfrica Thursday.

Cllr. Sherman said he was able to walk the very next day following his brain surgery in the United States, to the astonishment of the doctors there.

And when he went to thank the doctors for their excellent care, he said, "they told me, it was because of the doctors who first took care of me," meaning the JFK doctors, "that my surgery was successful."

"It is because of that," Sherman continued, "I am here to launch a project to purchase the CT scan for the JFK. I am going to lobby with my business associates and colleagues to bring the machine here, because it concerned me since I returned to the country," Sherman assured the administration.

"I am going through the recovery process, but the surgery was successful and that I am not incapacitated, I can walk, talk like what I used to do before, and can remember everything that come my way," Sherman remarked.

While he declined to state the cost of the machine, he also assured the hospital authorities that the funding for the promised equipment will include adequate training of hospital staff to use the machine.

He hoped, however, that by the first anniversary of his falling ill, the machine would be dedicated in Monrovia.

Also, Cllr. Moses Paegar, the managing partner of the Sherman and Sherman Law Firm, promised to support the CT scan project. He lauded the hospital for saving the life of Cllr. Sherman.

Dr. Wvannie-Mae Scott-McDonald, JFK chief administrator, who received the donations, lauded Sen. Sherman for the contribution towards the CT scan machine.

"This donation will go a long way for all of us here, and that I thank the Senator for the confidence he has reposed in us," Dr. McDonald said. She said the only thing her administration wants is for those the hospital has treated to return and thank them for the services rendered, "for our people."

"And to be recognized in this manner means a lot for us, because while you people are peacefully sleeping, we are on duty making sacrifices and saving the lives of our people, because we just want for you to say 'thank you for the quality care you are providing at JFK,'" Dr. McDonald said.


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