Liberia: National CSO Council Wants Solicitor General Respond to Allegation of Ritualistic Killing, Conflict of Interest

Monrovia — The National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) has called on Solicitor General, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephas to respond to allegations linking him to ritualistic killings and to explain his relationship with Ellen Corkrum.

About a fortnight ago, a damaging audio capturing a conversation between Cllr. Cephus and Madam Corkrum went viral on the internet and several radio stations in Liberia.

The Solicitor General of Liberia was heard having a conversation with Ms. Corkrum in which she asked him if she could transfer US$4,000 to him on the request of Ofori Diah to perform a ritualistic sacrifice in her favor.

Ms. Conkrum also mentioned that Cllr. Cephus, who earlier reportedly instigated the dropping of a corruption case against her, is aware of the ritualistic sacrifice and has been involved in such a practice.

The NCSCL said it believes the integrity, legal independence and judicial judgment of the Solicitor General of Liberia is crucial; and "strongly hold that the silence of the Solicitor General is a matter of concern. It added that his continuous role in administering justice in Liberia amidst myriad of allegations against him further injures the public image of the judiciary and fuel negative public perception about the Government's passivity in the fight against corruption.

"The Council urgently requests Cllr. Cephus to address allegations involving him, particularly concerning the ritualistic appeal and to explain his relationship with Ms. Ellen Corkrum in light of reported allegation that he instigated the dropping of a corruption case against Ms. Corkrum," the NCSCL said in a statement issued by its Chairperson, Loretta Alethea Pope-Kai.

"Cllr. Cephus, for the integrity of Liberia's justice system, please urgently address allegations against you!"

The Council also requests President George Weah to instruct and empower the security forces of Liberia to enforce the law to the letter and bring under control the increasing situation of ritualistic killings.

In the statement, the Council said: "This alarming situation scopes two grave concerns: ritualistic appeal and corruption, both of which seriously claim the attention of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia. In view of this, the Council requests Cllr. Saymah Serina Cyphus to immediately respond to allegation about his involvement in ritualistic killings and also explain his relationship with Ms. Ellen Corkrum in light of allegation that he reportedly instigated the dropping of a corruption case against Ms. Corkrum."

The Council noted that the Solicitor General post is not a marginal position and the continuous silence of Cllr. Cephus amidst these grave allegations against him is very conspicuous; adding that the news about Cllr. Cephus alleged involvement in ritualistic killings has evoked negative sensation in the public, cast an ugly stereotype on the judicial system and threatens to undermine the confidence of Liberians in the Government's ability to guarantee the peace and security of citizens and residents in the country.

The group further noted that consequentially, the news of Cllr. Cephus' alleged involvement in ritualistic appeal is fanning in Liberia at a time disturbing patterns of ritualistic killings in the country are reportedly taking place; noting that even though ritualistic appeal is not easily proven in a Court of law in Liberia, it is evident that such a feared practice exists and undermines the country's peace and security.

In addition, to the Council said there is" the need for the Solicitor General to explain the nature of his relationship with Ms. Ellen Corkrum in light of the earlier mentioned corruption case. Left unaddressed, the impression is that the Solicitor General is conflicted and compromised, the Council said.

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