MONROVIA: A local civil society organization, the Civil Society Network of Liberia (CSNL) said it is seriously been drawn to fake information being spewed out by Mr. Stanton Witherspoon and some panelists on his Spoon TV show that Public Works Minister, Madam Ruth Coker-Collins awarded over US$250,000 road contract to her husband in a bid to fund his representative campaign as well as accusing Minister Coker-Collins of corrupting the road fund with the intent of enriching her family, the allegations which the group called “blatant lie and dangerous campaign to undermine her laudable achievements and positive performance rating”
In a press statement issued, Wednesday, December 27, 2023, signed by Francis Collins and Sensee Kiadii, Secretary General and Executive Director respectively, the group said having followed both the life profile of Minister Ruth Coker-Collins prior to her ascendancy as Minister of Public Works, and her performance at the ministry, “the Civil Society Network of Liberia sees Mr. Witherspoon’s Spoon TV podcast against her as a blatant lie and dangerous campaign to undermine her laudable achievements and positive performance rating”.
Firstly, we like to state in emphatic terms that contrary to claims by criminal convict Stanton Witherspoon that Minister Coker-Collins and her husband were poor and had nothing, the couple were well established before she took on the Public Works job. Based on the quality education they acquired, Madam Coker-Collins and her husband have had great jobs with fabulous incomes far before her ascendancy as minister of Public Works. As CEO of a construction company called Tabitha Renaissance Engineering and Design Incorporated, Madam Ruth Coker-Collins undertook several contracts during the regime of former President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; including a US$500,000 contract to construct drainage systems in Clara Town and its surroundings; a contract awarded by the National Housing Authority for the construction of the housing units in Brewerville, and the renovation of the Minister’s floor at the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning under the Administration of former Minister Boima Kamara. What is noteworthy is that Madam Ruth Coker-Collins worked for several years in the UN System as an expatriate, with focus on engineering”, the statement said.
The statement said the investigation of the Civil Society Network of Liberia also revealed that the husband of Minister Ruth Coker-Collins, Mr. Luther Samby Collins worked with the Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA) as Food Aid Manager for WFP programs. “He also served as Logistics Officer for the UN mission in Liberia, and as expatriate with the UN Mission in Dafur, Sudan, with responsibility over $3millon for fleet management. The income acquired from these fabulous jobs enabled the Collins Family to engage into many businesses and other humanitarian ventures. Notable among their businesses is a 200 acres of rubber farm that is currently producing rubber for the world market”, the statement further said.
“The CSNL also wants to clarify that Mr. Luther Collins started making interventions towards the people of Gbarpolu County as far back as 2014 when his wife, Minister Ruth Coker-Collins was nowhere near a government job. This great son of Gbarpolu was the first in the history of the county to provide boats for water transportation, and over L$2 million as village savings loans to hundreds of women; and said loan is currently ongoing. During the 2014 Ebola outbreak, he sacrificed his life by being on the front lines to provide financial and material support towards the fight against the menace in Gbarpolu County. So, the criminal, Witherspoon’s assertion that Minister Ruth Coker-Collins awarded over US$250,000 road contract to her husband’s company as a means of financing his representative campaign is farfetched and misleading.
“The Civil Society Network of Liberia strongly believes that Mr. Stanton Witherspoon is using his media network as a surrogate for individuals who see Minister Ruth Coker-Collins as a threat to their quest of becoming the next Minister of Public Works. Her performance at the Ministry of Public Works has been so profound and remarkable that the Boakai-Koung Government would want to maintain her for continuity of the progress she had made in the country’s road and infrastructural sector. This is because, any well-intentioned government will not let go of an effective, resourceful and productive public servant like Minister Ruth Coker-Collins. Her achievements have endeared her to many Liberians to the extent that she is deemed as one of the best performing ministers of the outgoing Weah-led Government”, the statement further said.
The statement which was circulated to the media, copy of which is in possession of The Analysts said the group deemed it expedient to inform the Liberian people “that Mr. Stanton Witherspoon is a criminal, who is bent on incriminating everyone”, adding he “lacks the moral rectitude to question the character of Minister Ruth Coker-Collins and her husband”.
“For Mr. Witherspoon to even insinuate that he and his panelists will not sit there to see Minister Coker-Collins retain as Minister of Public Works amounts to pushing His Excellency Ambassador Joseph Nyumah Boakai to abandon his agenda of forming a government of inclusion. Mr. Boakai needs to be careful of people like Mr. Witherspoon, who wants to breed division and witch-hunt in his government. Listening to such divisive statements from Mr. Witherspoon and his likes has the propensity to further divide the already divided country, judging from the results of the November 14, 2023 runoff presidential elections that brought him to power”, the statement said.
“It is ridiculous that instead of using his media platform to preach peace and reconciliation, which can also be achieved through the involvement of all Liberians, Mr. Witherspoon is using the media airwaves to lie and blackmail hardworking public servants like Minister Ruth Coker-Collins. Mr. Witherspoon should understand that serving in the Weah-led Government doesn’t mean Minister Coker-Collins cannot be given the opportunity to serve in the Boakai led Government, especially given her enormous achievements at the Ministry of Public Works.
“The Civil Society Network wants to make it clear that while it is not force for Minister Ruth Coker-Collins to work in the Boakai Administration, spreading falsehood and malicious lies about her character and performance at the Ministry of Public Works is dangerous, worrisome and disingenuous. Minster Ruth Coker-Collins possesses the ability and legacy in exercising robust oversight responsibilities over the construction and rehabilitation of roads. The Boakai-led Government will succeed in its road agenda if Hon. Ruth Coker-Collins is maintained as Minister of Public Works”, the statement concluded.