Liberia: Kemayah's Accuser Calls for Lie Detector Test

Amb. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, the outgoing head of Liberia's permanent mission to the United Nations, was accused of sexual harassment days after he was named Foreign Minister-designate by President George Manneh Weah

Even though the government and other stakeholders are yet to establish any fact linking Ambassador Dee Maxwell Kemayah to the sexual harassment allegation levied against him recently by Whynee Cummings Wilson, an employee of the Liberian Permanent Mission to the United Nation, the lady herself has challenged the Ambassador to a lie-detector test.

A lie-detector test, also known as a polygraph test, records the body's involuntary responses to an examiner's questions in order to ascertain deceptive behavior. The test measures physiological data from three or more systems of the human body-generally the respiratory, cardiovascular, and sweat gland systems-but not the voice. There are other tests that test the voice for deception.

The American Polygraph Association, which sets standards for testing, says that polygraphs are "highly accurate", citing an accuracy rate above 90 percent when done properly. Critics, however, say the tests are correct only 70 percent of the time, according to an article by American Public Media.

No doubt, polygraph testing has generated considerable scientific and public controversy.

According to the American Psychological Association, courts, including the United States Supreme Court, have repeatedly rejected the use of polygraph evidence because of its inherent unreliability. Nevertheless, polygraph testing continues to be used in non-judicial settings, often to screen personnel, but sometimes to try to assess the veracity of suspects and witnesses, and to monitor criminal offenders on probation.

It is not clear whether Liberian law enforcement or the Judiciary have ever administered polygraph tests and, if the Government of Liberia were to order a polygraph test for the accused, such a test may have to be administered abroad.

The polygraph test, as requested by Madam Wilson, may be her only hope to prove her case against Amb. Kemayah, given the fact that since the alleged incident took place in January, she is only now speaking out.

Madam Wilson said the reason she waited until now to report her encounter with Kemayah is because she felt that his appointment by President Weah to the Foreign Minister post means a "predator has been awarded."

A [sexual] predator is defined as a person seen as obtaining or trying to obtain sexual contact with another person in a metaphorically greedy or abusive manner.

While investigation is ongoing to substantiate the truism surrounding her claims, the timing of the public disclosure of the incident has left many people in the public space with skepticism as to how true this allegation is as it is just coming in the wake of Ambassador Kemayah's appointment as Foreign Minister.

As it was with U.S. President Donald Trump's nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, where the President questioned why parents of the accuser could not take the case to law enforcers, so it is becoming the case of Whynee Cummings Wilson who concealed the allegation for months without any record that such an incident ever took place.

Speaking to reporters in a virtual interview, Madam Wilson said "I want to make it clear that I am not lying; it is not political and nobody anywhere is behind my action! This is my decision not to be silent, suffer in silence that no other woman or young girls would have to endure the shame, humiliation, hurt, emotional damage to me at the hands of Amb. Kemayah.

"I stand ready to take a lie detector test and ask that he does the same in the United States to prove me a liar and prove his innocence," she said.

She said "Amb. Kemayah's action affected me emotionally over the months. I was thinking how to speak out but, with the increase of rape in Liberia, with the way I have heard the cry of so many Liberian women who are unable to speak, so I decided to be their voice."

Ambassador Kemayah's lawyers have also rubbished Wilson's allegation and described it as a trick to demoralize his reputation for her "devilish" goal. In a communication sent to the Daily Observer regarding the allegation, the legal team of Kemayah questioned the credibility of Wilson's allegation and wondered how a person expressing emotional regrets over such a grave act can wait after several months to come out at a time people are talking about rape. "Didn't she know that from the beginning?" The legal team wondered.

Amb. Kemayah's legal team has also catalogued his achievements that came with moral conduct in the public space, where it said he had led several organizations including the famous Liberian Business Association (LIBA) and several sport clubs that he was not named in any ethical misconduct.

The report of Ambassador Kemayah's involvement in sexual harassment comes at the time when President Weah has declared rape as a national emergency and launched a roadmap to address the issue of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). With this declaration, women groups in the country have called for the withdrawal of Kemayah's nomination.

For instance, the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FeJAL) after the allegation against Amb. Kemayah, called on President Weah to withdraw his nomination until he is investigated and proven innocent.

Ambassador Kemayah, in a five-page document response through his New York-based legal team, the Tilem & Associates, said "We are aware that long before his nomination as Liberia's Foreign Minister, a handful of detractor's unleashed an avalanche of failed attacks to hunt him down into disfavor with the President."

Mrs. Una K. Thompson, the head of the joint women rights groups, Women Rights Campaign for Justice and Women of Liberia Peace Network, said they are raising the issue at a higher level to ensure that justice is done to both Kemayah and Wilson.

Mrs. Thompson, who herself is a former employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the Sirleaf administration, said the women's network is making sure that the case is non-political because they strongly believe that women's issues should not be politicized.

She called on the Senate to stop the confirmation of Ambassador Kemayah until the complaint against him by Madam Wilson is addressed through a speedy investigation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Author

Hannah N. Geterminah

Hannah N. Geterminah is a 2016 graduate of the Peter Quaqua School of Journalism with diploma and series of certificates in journalism from other institutions. She has lots of knowledge/ experience in human interest, political, Health, women and children stories. Hannah has worked with the Daily Observers Newspaper and the Liberian media for the past years and has broken many stories. 

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