15 February 2018

Liberia: Scout Leaders Linked to Corruption

Several aggrieved members of the Liberia Scout Association (LSA) are calling on the Ministry of Youth & Sports to withhold all support to the association.

The aggrieved LSA members include former and current County and Regional Commissioners, Scout Masters, Troop Representatives as well as ordinary members across Liberia.

They said the current leadership has failed to provide comprehensive financial and narrative reports for the past three years.

It can be recalled that on January 3, 2017, the Acting Assistant Minister for Youth Development at the Ministry of Youth & Sports Mama Kiazel S. Sicarr, wrote the Acting Chief Commissioner of the LSA Windell M. Weah, requesting him to submit himself to a comprehensive audit at the ministry for money he received as allotment for the period 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 respectively.

Also on March 27, 2017, the President of the LSA Aloysius Y. Smith, requested the amount of US$17,000.00 from the 2016/2017 fiscal subsidy which would have been used to pay rent and convene the 7th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association.

Facts gathered from an intensive investigation coupled with documents in the possession of this paper, indicate that the two leaders of the LSA have not submitted any report in this regard and didn't even conduct the AGM nor pay for rent as the money was requested by them.

In fact, the Administrative Manager of the property being rented by the LSA, Mrs. Patricia R. Ananaba, wrote Aloysius and Windell on October 22, 2015 and August 26, 2016 respectively. informing them of their indebtedness and that failure on their part to pay money owed would warrant an eviction by the court.

A Notice of Assignment issued on February 6th by the Stipendiary Magistrate at the Monrovia City Court, J. Kennedy Peabody indicates that the two leaders of the Scout Association have refused to honor the terms and conditions of the lease agreement which constrained Mrs. Ananaba to file a law suit against the LSA to recover possession of her property.

Magistrate Peabody has meanwhile cited the parties to appear before him for trial on Friday, February 16, 2018.

In a mobile phone interview, Maryland County Commissioner H. Sunday Harris, Sr., told The NEWS that the current President of the LSA Aloysius Y. Smith and Prince Sherriff assumed the leadership as President and Chief Commissioner through what he referred to as fraudulent election in Maryland County in 2014, which they allegedly manipulated and won on white ballot.

Having heard about this undemocratic process which contravenes the values of democratic governance and the rule of law of the Scout Movement, Commissioner Harris informed this paper that the World Scout Bureau in Geneva, Switzerland, through its Africa Bureau in Nairobi, Kenya, nullified that election because it was "stage managed", by some unscrupulous members of the LSA to the detriment of the general membership interest.

Further, Commissioner Harris disclosed that when Prince Sheriff left Liberia for the United States of America, Aloysius Smith appointed Windell M. Weah to serve as Interim Chief Commissioner of the LSA from February-December 2015, evident by a copy of said appointment letter which is in the possession of this paper.

"Since then, these two individuals have been running the affairs of the LSA illegally with no programs and accountability but only fighting and hooliganism an act which has put the reputation of the Association into public disrepute," Commissioner Harris said in a rather frustrated mood.

For their part, Montserrado County Commissioner John K. Dolo and Commissioner Melvin Jones said the inability of Windell and Aloysius to convene the AGM for the conduct of an election to usher in a new corps of officers as mandated by the Africa Bureau is a clear manifestation that they lack leadership capacity and ability.

Commissioners Dolo and Jones in an exclusive interview with this paper yesterday in Monrovia, pointed out that Africa's Regional Director Federic T. Kama-kama at the head of a high level delegation from the Africa Bureau came to Liberia in June 2017 to conduct a special training on the Global Support Assessment Tool (GSAT) which took place at the Monrovia Vocational Training Center.

During that training, they said, Director Kama-Kama reiterated the World Bureau's position about the existence of an illegal and illegitimate leadership of LSA, saying that his office will not remit any money to the current leadership of Aloysius and Windell because of their inefficiency and lack of accountability.

When contacted, the current leadership was indisposed for comments.

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