Since the publication of the list of “persons of interest” by the Government of Liberia in furthers of its anti-corruption drive to investigate fiscal excesses of the past and retrieve the country’s stolen wealth, many persons whose names appeared on the list have since come to the fore in denial, requesting the Ministry of Justice to delete their names from the list. The latest person is National Housing Authority’ former Deputy Managing Director for Technical Services Gyude W. Allison. On his behalf, the law firm, Johnson, Allison & Associates Inc. Attorneys & Counsellors-At-Law, has tendered a communication requesting for the removal of its client’s name from the “persons of interest” list. The Analyst reports.
A local law firm has protested the inclusion of the name of its client, Mr. Gyude W. Allison, former Deputy Managing Director for technical Services (2012-2017) at the National Housing Authority on the list of Government’s “person of interest” expected to face inquest over their role in the mismanagement and siphoning public money during their days in public service.
The Johnson, Allison & Associates Inc. Attorneys & Counsellors-At-Law wrote Solicitor General Sayma Cyrenius Cephus, stating that “Our client has requested us to ascertain from you the basis for the inclusion of his name on the list of the so-called ‘persons of interest’ publication in the June 19, 2019 edition of the Analyst News Paper.
According to the law firm, its client’s “inquiry comes against the backdrop that the entire time he was in Liberia serving as Deputy Managing Director for Technical Services, he was never invited or cited by any anti-graft institution i.e. The General Auditing Commission (GAC) nor the Liberian Anti- Corruption Commission (LACC) in connection with any allegations of financial improprieties leveled against him.
The firm further wrote: “Hence, we believe that the inclusion of our client’s name on the “persons of interest’’ was unwarranted and unfair and has damaged and injured his good character and reputation in the society and the world at large since the publication was shared on social media.”
“As necessary and as urgent as the fight against corruption is in our country; the war on corruption must not be fought on the basis of mere speculation and a desire to witch hunt people,” the group said, concluding, “We, therefore, request that you delete our client’s name from the aforementioned list.
Since the ascendency of the George Weah Government, it has attracted widespread criticisms for refusing to audit previous government. This might have prompted the Ministry of Justice on June 19, 2019 to release what it considered “a partial official List of individuals and institutions investigated and Audited by the LACC and the GAC who were found liable” and are hereby mandated by the office of the State Prosecutor to unconditionally restitute stated funds to the Government of Liberia to avert possible prosecution.
The government took the criticism in good faith and set up a special independent team to investigate and recover stolen national wealth by former officials of government.
In a recent interview with Sayma Syrenius Cephus, Pursuant to the Letter Patent granted Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson as State Prosecutor of the Republic of Liberia to practice and prosecute cases on behalf of the Government and people of Liberia, he has, with the consent and approval of the office of the Minister of Justice & Attorney-General of the Republic of Liberia, constituted a team of professional Criminal Investigators and Prosecuting Attorneys called the “ASSETS RECOVERY TEAM” (ART) headed by Cllr. Johnson.
The team has begun a holistic review of all of the final investigative and audit reports and has declared the within named individuals and institutions as “Persons or institutions of Interest,” and are therefore inviting them as of the publication of this notice to provide further clarifications regarding the unaccountability of monies contained in the audit and investigative reports.
Further, the office of the State Prosecutor mandated the ASSETS RECOVERY TEAM (ART) as part of the new dispensation, to pursue the course of restitution as a way of recovering unconditionally all of the monies unaccounted for, and possible criminal prosecution will be pursued only in the event where a negotiated settlement is not made.
In that event, the senior state prosecutor said the drawing up of an indictment and the petitioning of Court to Freeze or Seize asserts would become inevitably imperative as the last resort.
Cllr. Cephus said finally “the State Prosecutor’s office reserves all rights under the law to order or cause to order the immediate and unconditional arrest and detention of any would-be “person of interest” without any further notice, if and only if it becomes clear that the would-be “Person(s) of Interest” has/have engaged or is/are attempting to engage in any conduct incompatible with the behavior of a law abiding and responsible citizen or is, as the office may consider, trying to undermine or impede the work of the Assets Recovery Team (ART).”