Thursday, August 03, 2006

Open letter to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Few months ago, we listened to your campaign promises whilst we sat in front of TVs and all other means of communications in the Diaspora. One of the promises that even my illiterate grandmother still remembers was the promise to crack down or weed out one of Liberia’s most popular political words “CORRUPTION”. July sixteen marks six months since the official seating of your Unity Party led government. I’ve been following events and activities of your leadership. From my own observation and analysis, there seems no really crack down or weed out of corruption as emphasized in your campaign. What I’ve really observed in the past six months is nothing than recycling of the same old crooks and rouges. Some have been fired and gone free whilst others are transferred from one place to another.

Couple of weeks ago, I went on expressing my anger and frustration in several online newspapers about the newly commission (Truth and reconciliation commission/ TRC). In that expression, I urged your government to reactivate the extradition treaty between the United States and the Government of Liberia in order to discourage criminals, corrupt individuals and human rights violators from committing crimes and escaping to the United States but I’ve come to realized that even those corrupt individuals/ officials and other human right violators that are overtly parading the streets of Monrovia are yet to take delivery of justice.
I understand that we took fourteen years or more to physically destroy Liberia and that the reconstruction of Liberia is not going to be an even but rather a process but that should not be used as an excuse to allow corrupt individuals or officials to go with impunity. The main objective for political governance in post-war Liberia “in my opinion” should be to secure democracy by installing checks and balances which have been absent throughout Liberia’s long history, in our political system in such a way so that no specific group or class of people will no longer usurp so much power and wield such extraordinary influence over the fate of the majority. In the “recently published” ECOWAS investigative reports on corrupt individuals and officials, several big names or titles surfaced but there seems to be nothing happening to punish those individuals and officials. instead, some of them are in the process of being nominated to higher positions. Those corrupt officials/ individuals, human right violators who looted our economy and took away our parental and childhood immunity are being referred to as: senators, representatives, speakers, former NTGL officials and many other big titles. This is sending the wrong signals to our feature leaders in Liberia. As the old saying goes: The title of a goat, should not stop the owner from selling it.
During your campaign, you also promise economic reform. The objective of reform in the economic sector should be to ensure accountability, reinforce support for the political system, promote transparency, combat corruption and protect the interest of Liberians. The first and foremost in this regard will be to rigidly crack down on corrupt officials. Send them to court, investigate them and let them serve their terms if convicted. Development will never come to Liberia if we continue to allow corrupt officials to go with impunity. Corruption is very easy to investigate in Liberia. We don’t even need to invite forensic auditors in some cases. ie; like the case of Edwin Snow, how did Snowe own a multi million dollars bank account in Lebanon, own many flashy cars and build so many expensive houses on a mega Liberian salary?
In the case of Samuel Wlue, he overtly told reporters that he was paid USD $49.00 (fourty-nine dollars) working as commerce minister in Liberia. How did he build a USD $300.000.00 home in Newcastle county in Delaware State, build and ran a night club in Monrovia and send USD $4000.00 to his wife in Delaware “USA” for 25 months?
In the case of Guyde Bryant, he overtly admitted withdrawing public money for his personal use. What more evidence do you want before you can start placing these public criminals in queue to take delivery of justice? Your recent statement that “enough documentary evidence should be provided before prosecution of alleged corrupt officials begins” has brought severe headache to me over the past days.
In the court of law, the accused defends his/her self by providing documentary or human proofs/witnesses and that process is usually determined by the court and not the president.
If your Unity Party-led government wants to attract investors, these public criminals must be prosecuted and script of those stolen properties. There is no need to waste time trying to defend them. Liberia may never be able to retrieve Edwine Snowe’s voodoo wealth from Lebanon simply because a lot of time has been wasted on dragging him to court. I sat in front of my TV last night and witnessed Snowe’s trust/Bank going into flames to the wicked dust of Israeli bombings in Beirut.
Please president Sirleaf, do not start to defend these public criminals. Send them over to the court and let the court decide weather the allegations against them needs more documentary evidence. Please keep out of the judicial procedures.

Sam K Zinnah
Liberian Student
Delaware State, USA

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