Liberia: MICAT Takes Kickoff in Asset Recovery Probe

-As Gov't Commences Investigation; MOH & MOD Follow

The Solicitor General of the Republic of Liberia, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus has mandated the Asset Investigation, Restitution and Recovery Team (AIRRT) to commence a comprehension review and Investigation of cases involving the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs& Tourism, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of National Defense.

The Asset Investigation, Restitution and Recovery Team is charged with the responsibility of investigating, restituting and subsequently recovering funds that were embezzled, and misappropriated from the Liberian government as revealed by reports by the General Auditing Commission, (GAC) and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).

The Minister of Justice recently released a list of individuals classifying them in categories of indicted, persons of interest and others to aid with corruption investigation informed by a GAC and LACC audit report.

Those the report named consist of some current heads of Ministers, Agencies, and other Senior former Government officials that are linked to the alleged embezzlement and misappropriation of government funds.

Speaking in Monrovia at the Ministry of Information regular press briefing held at the ministry on Thursday, Cllr. Cephus stated that the AIRRT will be assisted by a team of international forensic financial experts and investigators and lawyers to aid in the fight against corruption.

He stressed that people of interest are quite different from being suspects, accused, defendants or convicts, citing that there are processes and stages involved in legal proceedings.

The Chief Prosecutor of Liberia disclosed that the international team is expected to arrive in Liberia over the weekend to immediately begin the review, investigation, restitution and recovery process of the Liberian people funds.

"Because of the gravity of the fight and the team that will be arriving in the country over the weekend, I have asked the team headed by Cllr. Arthur Johnson to determine the question of restitution and prosecution, he added.

The Solicitor General further indicated that former Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Lewis G. Brown has denied being audited by the Government of Liberia through the GAC.

According to Cllr Cepnus, the Lawyer for the persons of interest from the Health Ministry has written his office alluding to facts that indeed there were discrepancies and instances where his client could not account for numbers of government funds.

Cephus added that there was initial indictment for former Minister of Defense, Browne Samukai regarding the usage of the Armed Forces of Liberia Funds (AFL).

He called on the AIRRT to do a comprehensive review and investigation in all of the cases until an official indictment can proceed, stating "I refuse and ask for a more holistic and comprehensive review before any indictment can be levied against anybody."

Cephus assured the populace that the fight against corruption will be accelerated by the Weah led Government because of the government's commitment to provide a better livelihood for the citizenry across the country. (LINA)

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