Wednesday, 27 April 2011

‘National Disgrace’

Liberty Party Terms LIBINCO Gift to Ellen 

David B. Kolleh,, (231 631 0032)

The Chairman of Opposition Liberty Party, Israel Akinsanya, says he believes that the action by the Managing Director of the Equatorial Palm Oil, Peter Bayliss, by presenting an envelope containing an undisclosed sum of money to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in public constitutes an affront to the Presidency and amounts to what he calls a “national disgrace.”
At a news conference on Tuesday convened at the Party’s headquarters, Akinsanya alleged that the gift was an attestation of rampant corruption that has engulfed the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led government, practically disabling it from the source including the office of the President, which claims it is battling the old age menace that remains a threat to Liberia’s survival.
According to Akinsanya, the content of the envelope is evidence of an attempt to commit crime, which is bribery or at least an illegal gratuity.
“The President is said to have rejected the money, but who currently has it? Has it been deposited into government’s treasury or returned to LIBINCO? Because if an agent of the President is in possession that envelope, then it means the President did not reject the money; it rather means the President constructively received the check. Has the Manager of LIBINCO been arrested for attempting to bribe the President or for offering illegal gratuity to the head of the government?” Akinsaya further asked.     
The Liberty Party Chairman said the failure by the president to openly refuse the check puts into disrepute the office of the President to corruption and what he calls the influence of the highest bidder.
Akinsaya argues that even if others are saying that the President did not receive the money  but turned it over to the Superintendent of Grand Bassa County to be used for the construction of market buildings does not in any way vindicates the Presidency from taking bribe in public.  
Said Akinsaya: “This act of the President comes against the background of the 2011 Human rights report of the U.S. State Department on  Liberia, which states in Part, ‘the Liberian Law does not provide criminal penalties for corruption, which remained systematic throughout the government officials, corruption and the sense of a culture of impunity were exacerbated during 2010.”     
 It can be recalled that the President 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 District four Grand Bassa County.
The envelope, according to our staff on the tour 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. 
According to Mr. Peter Bayliss, Managing Director of Equatorial Palm Oil PLC, 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.”
 Though it seemed that the President refused to accept the donation, she gave PLC a project which they are under obligation to complete. Said 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.
 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 LIBINCO 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?