A number of civil society organizations under the aegis of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia and the Liberia CSOs Anti-Corruption Coalition have reiterated their earlier stand for the immediate removal of Senator Harry Varney Gboto-Nambi Sherman as Chairman of the Liberian Senate Judiciary Committee, so as to avoid bringing the Liberian Senate to public disrepute against the backdrop of recently being designated by the US Department of Treasury as a foreign person who is a current or former government official responsible for or complicit in, or directly or indirectly engaged in, corruption, including the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources or bribery.
Addressing the press yesterday through their spokesperson Madam Loretta A. Pope Kai said that the Civil Society groups believe that the US Department of Treasury’s Sanction on the Liberian Senator has a strong moral and integrity implications and as such, the presence of Senator Sherman as Chairman of the Liberian Senate Judiciary Committee does not only undermine the credibility and integrity of the Senate Judiciary Committee but also has the greatest propensity to bring the entire Liberian Senate to public disrepute.
Laying the basis of their case against Senator Sherman with reliance on the US Department of Treasury, with respect to the infamous Sable Mining Saga, said in 2010, Harry Varney Gboto-Nambi Sherman a prominent lawyer, Liberian Senator, and Chair of the Liberian Senate Judiciary Committee, was hired by a British mining company in an effort to obtain one of Liberia’s last remaining mining assets, the Wologizi iron ore concession and advised the company that, in order to obtain the contract, they first had to get Liberia’s concessions law changed by bribing senior officials.
The CSOs said In an effort to promote transparency and accountability, in 2016, Senator Sherman was indicted by the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf led government, along with several other government officials, for their involvement in the USD 950,000 bribery scheme but regrettably, in 2019, the presiding judge acquitted all individuals accused of being involved in the bribery scheme. The groups further said that Senator Sherman offered bribes to multiple judges associated with his trial and had an undisclosed conflict of interest with the judge who ultimately returned a not guilty verdict in July 2019.
Madam Kai said that it was in view of the of the widely publicized corrupt practices of Senator Sherman that, the Liberia CSOs Anti-Corruption Coalition and National Civil Society Council of Liberia called on the Plenary of the Liberian Senate through a written communication dated February 3, 2021 to remove Senator Harry Varney Gboto-Nambi Sherman as Chairman of the Liberian Senate Judiciary Committee, so as to avoid bringing the Liberian Senate to public disrepute.
“The Liberian Senate inaction to distance its administration and leadership role assigned to Sen. Sherman will further interpret it encouragement of corruption and or disregard to adhere to the US strategic policy direction to defeat corruption, hereby engendering bilateral partnership and technical cooperation enjoy by the Liberia’s Legislature, the Government of Liberia to the People and Government of the United States of America. It shall also affect other strategic institutions and nations align with the US Foreign Policy. We call for conscious action”, she said.
The CSOs said it followed with amazement the recent debate held at the Chamber of the Liberian Senate on this issue and want to clearly state that Senators arguing that the matter is personal and should not be an issue of the Liberian Senate is not just only weak and lazy, but a calculated attempt to undermine the entire legislature and the country at large.
“We are calling on the Plenary of the Liberian Senate to take appropriate and timely action that promotes good governance to save the Liberian Senate by voting for the removal of Grand Cape Mount County Senator, Varney Sherman as Chairman of the Liberian Senate Judiciary Committee as soon as possible” Madam added.
The CSOs reminded the Senate that the strategic relationship share with US Congress and broader bilateral and multi-lateral institutions supported by the US Government – serving as prime partners to Liberia sustainable reconstruction endeavor is highly value over an accused and sanctioned Senator and that they are prepared to implore what they called the People’s power approaches as guaranteed by Article 1 and Article 17 of the Liberian Constitution in ensuring that Senator Sherman is removed as Chairman of the Liberian Senate Judiciary Committee.
Senator Sherman has come under heavy criticism from the public since the United States government issued the designation note on him for corrupt practices and have called on him to resign from his senatorial seat to allow him the time to exonerate himself from the charges levied against him. The Senator has since refused to do so but will make sure he completes his tenure despite with the damning indictment against him.