Liberia: Govt Rejects 'Gangster Paradise' Claim

President George Weah delivering a speech in Paris
13 September 2019

The Liberian government has rejected former Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Chairman Cllr. Jerome Verdier's description of President George MannehWeah's rule as a "gangster's paradise," accusing Verdier of criticizing the regime because his suggestion was opposed during the formation of Weah's Congress for Democratic Change (CDC).

"Cllr. Verdier is an unpatriotic citizen with a selfish motive, and he has no moral ground to stand on and refer to Weah's rule as a gangster's paradise," the Minister of Information, Mr. Eugene Nagbe told a regular press briefing Thursday, 12 September in Monrovia.

President Weah's CDC is one of the three political parties that make up the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).The other two parties in the coalition include Vice President Jewel Howard - Taylor's National Patriotic Party (NPP) and former House Speaker J. Alex Tyler's Liberian People Democratic Party (LPDP).

Minister Nagbe's reaction comes after International Justice Group (IJG) Executive Director Cllr. Verdier issued a statement here saying the culture of impunity has emboldened criminals in government and in the corridors of power to new heights of violence and crime, fully aware that they will not face justice anytime soon under the Weah regime.In the statement, Cllr. Verdier accuses "the perverse President of Liberia" of championing impunity, supporting injustice and will not bring his henchmen to justice.

But Information Minister Nagbe believes that Cllr. Verdier's attack on the government is due to a grudge that the latter has kept since 2005 during the formulation of the Congress for Democratic Change.Minister Nagbe narrates that in 2005, Cllr. Verdier registered the CDC as the party's lawyer.

He claims that Cllr. Verdier proposed that Atty. Samuel Kofi Woods should head the party ticket as standard bearer while Mr. George Weah served as his vice standard bearer.But Minister Nagbe recalls that such proposal by Cllr. Verdier was denied by Madam Williamettea Peso Saydee - Tarr, who is now President Weah's Gender Minister.

He says other hierarchies of the CDC agreed with Madam Saydee - Tarr on the decision rejecting the Cllr. Verdier's proposal, including party chairman MulbahMorlu and Rep. Moses Accrous Gray.

Minister Nagbe argues this is something that has prompted the former TRC Boss Cllr. Verdier to brand the government as a gangster's paradise.

"If you want to criticize, and be a neutral person and you must declare your history, I challenge anyone to go to the National Elections Commission or NEC and ask for the registration document of the CDC, Cllr. Verdier's name is on it as the incorporator of the CDC," Nagbe explains.

Commenting further, Minister Nagbe says people have the right to say whatever they want, but cautions that if you refer to your own country as gangster's paradise and think it is the president, it is unfortunate because it affects the country's image.Mr. Nagbe furthers that there is a need for Cllr. Verdier to be sued, encouraging Madam Tarr to sue the former TRC boss.

Additionally, Mr. Nagbe attacks the opposition here of joining the bandwagon of allegedly spreading lies about President Weah's government.

Meanwhile, Minister Nagbe has denied reports that President Weah took 67 people along with him to Japan, saying it was an eleven - man delegation, instead.By Lewis S. Teh-Edited by Winston W. Parley

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