The office of the President is in receipt of the Special Investigative Report into allegations of corruption involving Cllr. Kanio Bai-Gbala, the Acting Chair of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, the Ministry of Information has said.
A MICAT release disclosed yesterday that the Independent Internal Investigation, which was spearheaded by the LACC’s Program Manager for Enforcement and Investigations, Baba M Boakai which cleared Cllr. Gbala, was commissioned under the leadership of the entity’s former head, Cllr. Ndubisi Nwabudike.
The allegations against Cllr. Gbala, by the former Executive Director (ED), Mohammed Fahnbulleh, were three-prone: double dipping, inability to account for Daily Sustenance Allowance (DSA) and Cllr. Gbala’s alleged failure to properly account for money intended to cover a press conference.
Regarding the allegation of double dipping, the investigators found that “without proper due diligence on the part of the administration and advice of Cllr. Gbala as to his status of employment, and without the expressed authorization from Gbala, the administration paid into Cllr. Gbala’s account salary for two (2) months amounting to U.S.$5,645.25 and L$267, 154.20”
But the investigators also uncovered that following “joint observation and reflection made by the Human Resource Officer and Cllr. Gbala in January 2020 on the employment status, he (Cllr. Gbala ) immediately instructed the HR Officer to correct the error by taking all necessary corrective actions in returning the amount paid into his account to the LACC”.
Regarding the DSA allegation, the MICAT release said the investigators found that “all fuel supplied for Cllr. Gbala’s trip to Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, were accounted for by the Transport Officer and turned over to the administration of the LACC”.
According to the release, the investigators further said, “though the five days DSA (50,000.00 Liberian Dollars) given to Cllr. Gbala was not immediately turned over to the administration, said DSA was compensated and accounted for by his presence at the last two Regional Consultations in Gbarnga, Bong County (3 days) and Buchanan, Grand Bassa County (2 days).
On the issue of the Money for a Press Conference at MICAT, the investigators found that the US$500 was “not paid to Cllr. Gbala as alleged.
The release indicated that rather, the check was raised in the name of Mr. Garley Youlo for onward payment to MICAT for the purpose of distributing the same to journalists who cover the program”.
The report concludes by emphasizing that the investigation established no criminal intent or wrong doing on the part of Cllr. Kanio Bai Gbala in the discharge of his duties as Vice Chairman of the LACC as had been alleged in the three-count complaint of the former ED, the release concluded
Meanwhile, a letter by the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Nathaniel McGill and addressed to the Minister of Information, Culture & Tourism has acknowledged receipt of the investigative report clearing Gbala from further allegation of wrong.
Dated May 4, 2021, the State Minister and Chief of Staff of the President’s Office presented his compliment and informed the Information Minister that he received on March 20, 2021 formal communications from the head of Department of Investigations of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission clearing Cllr. Kanio Gbala from the charges.
“I received formal communications from the Department of Investigations of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) to the effect that a formal independent investigation of allegations of corruption was made against Cllr. Kanio Bai Gbala, Vice Chairperson of the LACC has been concluded and that Gbala has been found to be clear of all charges,” the State & Presidential Affairs Minister informed his Information Ministry counterpart.
Minister McGill said the charges had been brought against Cllr. Gbala by Atty. Mohammed Fehnbulleh on February 10, 2021, and the Department of Investigation was mandated by the then LACC Executive Chairperson, Cllr. Ndubusi Nwabudike to undertake an independent investigation.
“In view of this communication, you are hereby advised to make this information as well as the contents of the report attached public through your various platforms”, he added.