Monrovia — Following months of restituting monies "criminally" received from the Government of Liberia (GOL), the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) has finally cleared Montserrado County district 15 Representative Abu Bana Kamara.
of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) is to prevent, investigate, and prosecute cases of corruption among public officials. As of September it had 41 active cases and had forwarded six to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution.
It can be recalled that in May 2019, the LACC launched an investigation into a report that Representative Kamara was criminally and clandestinely receiving double salaries and benefits while serving as Deputy Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) and from his previous job as Deputy Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications.
In the agency's leaked report which went viral on the social media at the time, Representative Kamara was accused of receiving the amounts of US$$8,164.70 and LD 271,114.74 as salaries for the portfolio of Assistant Minister for the Ministry of Post, including a 14% interest which amounts to US$1,002.68 and L$33, 294.90.
The LACC's report pointed out that on May 28, 2019, the CDC lawmaker "acknowledged receipt of salaries from the Government of Liberia under the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications at the time he (Abu) no longer worked there".
In another statement dated May 29, 2019 and addressed to LACC, the report added that, Representative Kamara "admitted" to defrauding the government and committed himself to a monthly payment of US$500" commencing from the 25th of June 2019" at the time.
The LACC, in its conclusion warned that Representative Kamara should be charged in keeping with "Sub chapter D. Theft and Related Offenses. 15.50 Consolidation of theft offenses. 1. Construction of sections, Conduct denominated theft in Sections 15.51, 15.52 and 15.53 constitutes a single offense designed to include the separate offenses heretofore known as larceny, defrauding and cheating. Obtaining money under false pretense, embezzlement, extortion, blackmailing, receiving stolen goods, and the like" if he fails to restitute the stolen monies in keeping with the payment plan agreed upon.
Despite the LACC's action, President George Manneh Weah and other executives and supporters of the governing CDC vigorously canvassed for lawmaker Kamara to ensure his election to the House of Representatives of the 54th National Legislature in a by-election held in July 2019.
The by-election was triggered as a result of the death of former lawmaker Adolph Lawrence who died in a tragic motor accident on the Buchanan-Monrovia highway.
In a "TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN" clearance dated February 21, 2021, a copy which is in the possession of FrontPage Africa, the LACC pointed out that it has concluded investigation into the allegations of acts of corruption including double emolument and fraud involving Mr. Abu Bana Kamara, the former Assistant Minister for Administration of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications.
The clearance was signed by Baba V. Boakai, Program Manager of the Enforcement Division at the commission.
The LACC pointed out that it has cleared Representative Kamara because, he has finally completed the payment of the funds fraudulently taken from the Liberian government.
"In view of the above and as per agreed upon restitution plan, Hon. Kamara has fulfilled all payments in the amount specified above and is therefore cleared of all financial obligations to the Government of Liberia in line with the restitution plan. In view of the foregoing, and given that the said investigation has been concluded, we are pleased to inform you that the investigation found no criminal liability on the part of Hon. Abu Bana Kamara in relations to the allegation levied".
The decision taken to call on Representative Kamara to restitute monies he defrauded the government and subsequent clear him appears to be a new phenomenon in Liberia.
Though the commission argued that it was in line with its restitution program, there has been no record of the LACC requesting former or current officials accused of stealing public monies to restitute in government's coffers when found guilty by its investigation.
After receiving barrage of criticism from the public for requesting Representative Kamara to restitute the monies he defrauded government, the commission sometimes ago clarified that it began its restitution program dating as far back as 2014-2015 when several Institutions and individuals were made to paid millions of Liberian dollars into government's coffer as a result of LACC's investigation.
Though the commission claimed that several former officials, current and private citizens investigated by the LACC are making restitution to the Government in a special account opened at the Liberia Revenue Authority, the names and amounts being allegedly restituted remain scanty.