Liberia: President Weah's Prosecution of Minister Samukai and Deputies

opinion

An attack and indirect prosecution of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf? (Part One)

Background

Since incumbency, President Weah and surrogates have been on the backs of former President Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf and her former officials. President George Weah wants to portray former President Sirleaf as a failure but from every indication, that is difficult for him to say publicly. President Weah during his inaugural address claimed that the nation was broke contrary to President Sirleaf's assertion that money was left in the government's coffer. At one point when President Weah returned from a state visit in France, his former Press Secretary, Sam Manneh announced on Truth FM96.1 during an interview that President Weah told him that upon taking office, only $23 (whether United States or Liberian dollars he did not say) were left in the Ministry States's account. Such reckless and irresponsible assertion against an international icon like President Sirleaf is disturbing to say the least. From our professional analysis, it seems to us that President Weah and his government have concocted malicious plans to go after President Sirleaf. President Weah deliberate, willful and intentional refusal to intervene in the case involving Minister Samukai and deputies after committing to repaying the money in question speaks to the fact that President Weah and lieutenants have something malicious under their sleeves against the former President, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Emphatically, on Minister Samukai and deputies' issue, President Weah has not been truthful to President Sirleaf based on their turnover discussions. He has and continues to play double and destructive political games to indirectly taint the impeccable character of President Sirleaf. We urge President Sirleaf not to trust this George Weah and his government until he can come clean.

Discussions

We observe that since President Weah and surrogates are finding it difficult to get directly at President Sirleaf, one of the ways they have allegedly invented is to get at her former officials. The ruling by criminal Court Judge, Gbeisay convicting former Defense Minister Brownie Samukai and two of his deputies is one of the questionable rulings the human race has ever seen. The ruling in question, in our opinion is a political witch hunt intertwined with a conspiracy to taint President Sirleaf and her former officials. We concede that men and women including this author who worked in Sirleaf's administration were people of impeccable characters. Some of these Liberians whose names have been deliberately tarnished under the false notion of seeking justice, over the years served Liberia with distinction. The conviction ruling undermined and did a disservice to the meaning and power of the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia. The Judge erroneously expected Minister Samukai and deputies to oppose the instruction and command of the Commander-In-Chief. Such conception and mindset of the Honorable Judge is laughable and clearly demonstrated that the Judge erred. The ruling equally made us to think and believe that two things were at play: the Judge may not have fully understood the meaning and power of the Commander-In-Chief or the Judge may have understood but was under political duress to manipulate the outcome of the verdict. In many instances where manipulations are concerned, usually bribery and coercion are at play. In this case, the highest bidder is the winner. Could it be that transactions either monetary or political promise occurred at night that changed the outcome of the court's decision? The character of the Liberian judicial system is at stake. The alleged plot to get at President Sirleaf is not only restricted to former Defense Minister and deputies but the former President's families and closed allies. Few months ago, Liberians were bombarded by the news that President Sirleaf's son, Charles Sirleaf was arrested by the order of President Weah for his alleged involvement in the Central Bank of Liberia's debacle. After few months of interrogation and detention, Charles Sirleaf was cleared of all charges and subsequently, set free. Former Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Amara Konneh has over and again falsely been accused of embezzling 4 Billion United States dollars. Such an outlandish allegation demonstrates the level of naivety and unsophistication of President Weah and his government. Minister Konneh lives and works in Washington D.C. yet has not been questioned and detained if truly such an amount was misdirected or stolen from the Liberian government. Here again, in our opinion, this is another calculated efforts to get at President Sirleaf.

Solicitor General must be fired

The saddest thing in President Weah and his government's alleged conspiracy is the partiality of the Solicitor General. With the perceived partiality and selective justice, a Solicitor General, an individual charged with responsibilities to fight fraud merrymaking and intermingling with a fraudster like Ndubusi Nwabudike is disturbing. The Liberian Solicitor General's assertion that he played trick on client like Ellen Corkrum to make her come to Liberia to face justice is disturbing to say the least. We believe such an action is unprofessional and equally taints the judicial branch and the prosecutorial arm of the government. The current legal seesaw between Milton Weeks on the one hand and the Solicitor General on the other speaks to the mockery of the system. It is alleged that the Solicitor General boasted to teach Milton Weeks a lesson. Is he trying to teach a lesson or to really administer justice? Considering the definitions of LESSON and TRICK, we strongly believe the Solicitor General has outlived his usefulness in the CDC's government and must here and now be fired. At one point, with so many convoluted statements, Judge Gbeisay appeared disappointed and warned the Prosecutorial Team from embarrassing the Court. Sadly, it is this very Solicitor General leading the fight against Minister Samukai and two deputies. With so many ups and downs by the Solicitor General, looking for cases where there are none and ignoring real cases, we wonder whether former Minister Brownie Samukai and two deputies would get a fair trial at the Supreme Court of Liberia.

Supreme Court certainly can right the wrong

In the Liberian context, the Supreme Court of Liberia is the reservoir of judicial wisdom. As far as we are concerned, the Supreme Court with its diverse composition, we believe can dispense justice based on the law. Justice Yussif Kaba, the newest on the Bench we assumed is a practicing Muslim who believes in fair play. Islam like other world religion prays for their members in strategic places to make sound decision based on facts and not manipulation and bribery. In this sense, we are convinced that Justice Kaba as a member of the Islamic faith will make a decision based on the law and not manipulation. Justice Joseph Nagbe, I concede was instrumental in my confirmation as a deputy minister of education few years ago during his tenure in the Liberian Senate. We know that Justice Nagbe and President Weah are both members of the Kru ethnic group and by default from the Southeast. Both men served in the Liberian Senate as senators prior to George Weah becoming president and his subsequent appointment of Justice Nagbe. We know that Justice Nagbe is a professional person but if in making judicial decision that should be based on the law, he will ignore facts and go across the road for second opinion and summersault his character, integrity and independence, we shall see. Justices Jamessetta Wolokollie and Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh, do not bend the law. The law is their path and whatever the law says is where they take their decision. Those records are there. They do not allow themselves to be coached by outsiders or do not entertain any outside influence. In a nutshell for the two female justices, there are no manipulations but the law supported by their independence, character and integrity.These two women, we concede are fine and practicing Christians and render judicial decisions with the fear of God in line with the law. Chief Justice Francis Korkpor was educated by the lateArchbishop Michael Kpakala Francis. The Chief Justice has a unique background. He is a human rights lawyer and a practicing catholic. His sense of religious upbringing and belief are so strong and entrenched with no comparison to any of those young men at the time educated by Archbishop Francis. I am told by a Catholic Bishop that in doing what is right and just, he is certainly an embodiment of Bishop Francis. Korkpor is humble and God fearing. As is the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope in Rome daily prays for all Roman Catholics in all positions to reverend God and do right both in public and private.Certainly with such orientation and intercession by the Pope, we have no reason to doubt the Supreme Court under the leadership of God fearing Korkpor in dispensing true justice.

Conclusion

President Sirleaf did her best for President Weah. In one form or another, she helped his election as the President of Liberia. Since incumbency, as it is an open secret, the government of President Weah has been struggling to attract foreign investors as a direct result of the lack of international connections. President Weah, we are told routinely and Nicodemusly maneuvers to pay visit to former President Sirleaf begging for mercy and blessings to talk on his behalf to the international community. Surprisingly, it is this very George Weah who is playing destructive politics and prosecuting President Sirleaf and her former officials. The present ongoing legal case involving Minister Samukai and two deputies engineered, politicized and supported by President Weah even tough, he clearly promised President Sirleaf and committed to the government of Liberia paying the money in question shows that President Weah cannot be trusted. As a former member of President Sirleaf's cabinet, we respectfully urge her not to do any business with President Weah and government until he can come clean and live up to his part of the bargain. We made this independent claim and assertion because closely analyzing President Weah and his government's clandestine approach to President Sirleaf and former officials, especially the prosecution of Minister Samukai and two deputies, Milton Weeks, Charles Sirleaf and those on the their list who sooner or later will be charged, we strongly believe is an attack and prosecution of President Sirleaf.

About the author:

Kadiker Rex Dahn holds a PhD in Historical, Philosophical and Social Foundations of Education from the University of Oklahoma. He served as a Deputy Minister of Education and Deputy Director General, National Commission on Higher Education respectively. He is an author of the Book, "Learning from the Lives of Exiled Liberians: An Oral History from 1979-2006. He is a member of the North America Scholar Consortium, membership with the Highest Honor. Contact: [email protected]

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