The struggle by those named in the recently released Global Witness report to disentangle themselves from the imbroglio remains unabated with House Speaker Alex Tyler becoming the second in the response queue denying ever receiving US$75,000 from Sable Mining or any of the company’s agents for any reason.
He is also calling for the disclosure of the identities of “Bigboy 1 and Bigboy 2” as mentioned in the report of receiving US$250,000 each. “We call on “Big Boy 1” and Big Boy 2 to submit themselves to probe as well.” In a statement issued Monday, May 16, 2016 in Monrovia, Speaker Tyler said “this is untrue; I, at no time received any money from anybody, neither did I hold any discussions with anybody regarding Sable Mining. Despite his denial, the Speaker of 53rd National Legislature pointed out that considering the gravity of the allegations and their potential to undermine Liberia’s governance structure, he is publicly expressing his willingness to submit and fully cooperate with an independent investigation of the allegations raised by the Global Witness report. Notwithstanding, Speaker Tyler stressed that in order not to prejudice any potential investigation, he will not make any further comment on the matter but registered his disapproval and objection to the setting up of a committee by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to probe the report. The committee is headed by former Liberty Party Chairman, Cllr. Fonati Koffa who now serves as Minister of State Without Portfolio. “My rejection of the Koffa-led Special Prosecution team is based on the following reasons: That the team lacks the authority to investigate the President and other elected officials; and that a Special prosecutor who is a presidential appointee and functioning under the supervision of the President cannot be trusted to carry out an impartial investigation of these allegations; in order to lend credibility to the process, I wish to propose that an independent panel outside of government, with representation of the Press Union of Liberia, Civil Society, Inter-Religious Council, Liberia National Bar Association and others be constituted, to launch an immediate inquest into the alleged bribery scandal, to ascertain the veracity of the claims in the Global Witness Report,” he said, concluding, that he would avail himself to any such body to safeguard the integrity of his office and that of the entire Legislative Branch of Government.