Monday, 25 April 2011

Bribe Or Donation?

Liberian Presidency And White Envelopes, Has Ellen Too Fallen Prey To Gratuity From Concessioners?
Wade C.L. Williams

The President of Liberia Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was baited on Thursday April with  a white envelope containing an undisclosed amount of money at  the LIBINCO OIL MILL located in Newcess No. 4 District in Grand Bassa County.
The envelope containing what the Managing Director of the company called ‘a small donation’, comes at a time when the government is still battling with a report from the United States of America’s Department of State alleging that the regime is beset with unabated claims of corruption especially within the judicial system of the country due to envelope exchange containing money. 
Mr. Peter Bayliss, Managing Director of Equatorial Palm Oil PLC said the envelope contained a small donation on behalf of the board of PLC to her and to her market women foundation.
Says Bayliss: “We would like to make a small donation on behalf of the board of Equatorial Palm Oil to you and to your market women’s foundation and we hope that you will put the money to good use and that it will help to build some of the extra parts of the development puzzle that you are putting together.”
According to Opposition Politicians the action by the company’s Managing Director demonstrates the kind of sinister transaction that takes place behind the curtains in the absence of the public and the press. 
Mr. Jacob Smith an executive of the Liberty Party (LP) in an interview with FrontPage Africa said his party is expected to come up with an official statement on the matter, adding “this is form of cover up and is intended to blindfold the public. This is an abuse of the public trust and more to that an affront to the Presidency. “
As soon as Bayliss concluded his statement the President stood up in response by posing a challenge to the company, by asking them to work along with the Superintendent of the county Julia Duncan Cassell in completing an unfinished market building for the women of the county with what is contained in the envelope and also suggested that a second market building be added to the project.
Though it seemed that the President refused to accept the donation, she gave PLC a project which they are under obligation to complete. Says Pres. Sirleaf “The women of Grand Bassa County will be pleased today, because I went by a market, an unfinished market in Buchanan and I spoke to the market women and they said to me ‘this market place was started long ago and it’s not finished. We would like for you to help us finish it I’m going to ask you to keep this donation and finish that market building.”
With the supervision of the Superintendent PLC is under obligation to complete two market buildings by directive of the president.
The Liberty Party Executive further said the latest action could serve as confirmation that even the office of the President is yet to be trusted even though she claims to be fighting corruption.
“We do know that the President accepted that money. The Party is going to be coming up with an official position statement on that, our country cannot be traded like that and for anything.” Smith further said.  
Continued President Sirleaf: “The Superintendent is going to work with you on it to supervise it, it can be called a donation from the Sirleaf market women fund because we build markets all over, but this particular one from the LIBIN will be for the women of Buchanan Grand Bassa County.”
Amidst thunderous applause from the audience the President said: “I don’t know what’s in it, but you know what’s in it, if it can finish that building and build another small market somewhere else, that’s what I’m asking you to do with this donation. Thank you on behalf of the women of Buchanan.”
Though the president admitted that she is not to receive envelops or checks it is yet to be seen what other branches of government would make of the president’s apparent refusal of gift from a concessioner. But the mystery remains to be unraveled, but the question remains did the president really refuse the donation?