The recent revelation contained in Global Witness’ “Deceiver 1” linking top officials of government to receiving bribes from Sable Mining Africa Limited and the subsequent setting up of a committee headed by former Liberty Party Chairman, Cllr. Fonati Koffa, have drawn fire from a group of political parties calling for dissolution of the committee in order to avoid heavy presidential influence considering the fact that all those appointed to investigate the matter are confidants of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
The political parties including the National Patriotic Party (NPP), All Liberian Party and the Liberia People Democratic Party in a press statement said they consider as “grave the Global Witness report released May 11 in which several top officials including Unity Party Chairman, Cllr. Varney Sherman, allegedly received a whooping US$958,668.00 to bribe these influential officials to change the Public Procurement and Concession (PPCC) act”. The parties indicated that they believe these allegations require full, impartial and transparent investigation which should be carried out by “independent Liberians with no ties to government.” According to the political parties, the appointment of the Minister of State Without Portfolio, Cllr. Fonati Koffa to head the committee along with other confidantes, is a sham that is considered unacceptable. Consequently, they are requesting the National Legislature to appoint a Board of independent Liberians outside of government with subpoena powers to investigate the Global Witness report. Within twenty-four hours after the release of “Deceiver 1”, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in consultation with the Ministry of Justice, appointed a Taskforce to investigate the report and prosecute as the evidence may require. The Liberian leader announced the decision following a review of the report, which was submitted to the Government of Liberia by Global Witness alleging corruption and bribery on the part of several former and current officials of government. The task force is to be headed by Minister of State Without Portfolio, Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa, who is named a Special Prosecutor along with a team of lawyers from the Ministry of Justice including the Solicitor General, Cllr. Betty Lamin Blamo. The Task Force is also charged with investigating and resolving all allegations contained in current and past GAC reports.