Bribing Lawmakers to Unseat Speaker Koffa -Rep. Kolubah Points Accusing Finger At Pres. Boakai

MONROVIA: Like Ellen Johnson Sirleaf like Joseph Nyumah Boakai? Is Speaker Edwin Melvin Snowe to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Speaker Fonati Koffa to President Joseph Nyuma Boakai? The ruling Unity Party appears to still be in its playbook. Before President Sirleaf was six-month old in office, the first political casualty was the Speaker of the House. Snowe was torpedoed from office even before inks got dry on the then President’s first inaugural speech. If Montserrado County Representative Yeke Kolubah’s alarm is anything to go by, then the UP is repeating its history. President Boakai, even before ink gets dry on his inaugural speech, his opting for the “head” of the sitting Speaker of House, Representative Koffa. As The Analyst reports, lawmaker Kolubah, a staunched supporter of the President, is making quite a disturbing revelation which the ruling party is not taking lying down.

Representative Yekeh Kolubah of District 10, Montserrado County, has once again petrified social media users with one his vocal onslaughts on the ruling establishment. This time he is alleging that President Boakai through the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs is sending lawmakers on shopping spree, a bride to them to dethrone the Speaker of the House, Grand Kru Representative Fonati Koffa from office.

In a publicized press conference held in his office on Friday, March 22, 2024, Representative Kolubah alleged that he received a coupon from JMart, a local furniture and household store in Monrovia, in the tone of USD4,500 to be paid for by the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs. He said the coupon is a bribe to participate in removing Speaker Koffa from office.

“Well, the people are bribing us and so you can take this as evidence,” he brandished something he described a coupon for purchasing personal effects.

“I received a bribe from President Joseph Nyuma Boakai through the Ministry of State to keep our bloc that supported Richard Koon together to remove Speaker Fonati Koffa. I will give it to Fonati Koffa as evidence to remove him.”

He continued: “The Lebanese man confirmed to me that the coupon is from Jmart and that the Ministry of State will pay for it,” Representative Kolubah said, insinuating that the election of Speaker Koffa did not go down well with President Boakai despite several attempts to stop him in favor of Representative Koon who was the candidate of the Unity Party.

“Since the end of the process, the President has been devising means to effectuate Koffa’s removal at all cost,” he alleged.

Rep. Kolubah further said he alerted the Speaker of the gameplan being hatched against him (the Speaker) “because our block still wants to win at all cost” but he does not know how well the Speaker has received the information and what seriousness he is attaching to the plot against him.

The District #10 Representative also divulged that he actually rooted for the victory of Koffa at the time but as someone who supported the Unity Party Alliance in the just concluded 2023 general elections, he was compelled to vote for Koon though he was not part of those who were camped in a hotel where Koon kept his supporters.

Rep. Kolubah said besides the US$4,500 bribe, there was another US$7,000.00 the government through the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs was planning to disburse to Koon’s loyalists as a way to further motivate them to stay together and perfect their plans to remove Speaker Koffa but he did not want to wait for the deal to mature as it might have been used to blackmail him.

He asserted: “This is stolen money and the Lebanese man has confirmed the money from the Ministry of State and I could go back to him and say, ‘look, let us discuss this money; just give me US$3,500 and he will do it.

“I wanted to have waited for the additional $7,000 they were talking about that was coming in two weeks and put everything together and called a press conference but if I have waited for the other one, and the information on this one leaks to the public, people will be saying ‘but why did you not expose the first one?’”

The Montserrado lawmaker said in as much as the coupon received was a “gift” and a product of corruption, he was disclosing the information in line with the code of conduct that “says any public official who receives a gift of US$200 and above should disclose it in 7 days”.

“Today, I received a gift from Joseph Nyuma Boakai of US$4,500 coupon which is above the US$200 the code of conduct talked about, so I am disclosing it on the first day and the code of conduct says it should be done in 7 days.

“That was why I challenged the President to disclose the source of the L$10m he gave to the victims of the Totota Tanker explosion because when we say we want to serve the people, we must not hide anything.”

In one of the trending videos about the transaction, Representative Kolubah could be seen interacting with the Lebanese manager of JMart who confirmed that the signature on the coupon was his signature and that it was true that the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs was to offset the US$4,500.00 on the coupon.

When asked whether the coupon would have been a kind gesture from the Presidency, he discounted the suggestion as such, claiming “it was a clear bribery to remove the Speaker and I will not sit down here to allow it”.

“I received a call from Richard Koon this morning that I should go to JMart for the coupon and that it was intended to keep all of us that supported him together as a motivation to remove Speaker Koffa later,” he added. “It is not a small amount of money, I would have used it but my supporters who are always supporting me will not be happy with me. I would have even gone to the Lebanese man to say just give me $3,500.00 and have the rest and he would have accepted it but I refused. Imagine I have a family in Ghana that I am supporting there and I would have used the money that way but I didn’t.”

The revelation made by Representative Kolubah has sparked up controversy and disquiet among other lawmakers who for obvious reasons have opined that the wealth of the nation should not be selectively distributed among a few persons for no cause.

Representative Bernard Benson aka as DJ Blue of District #17, Montserrado County strongly took exception to the alleged distribution of the US$4,500 each among supporters of Richard Koon.

“While some of us are using our own resources to support our Districts in good faith that the government needs to help, the Executive is doing pick and choose to favor certain lawmakers through the Ministry of State,” he said. “This is Corruption!! This is WRONG!”

“The budget is before us. Give us our full District development allocation. No Negotiation. Our Roads need Pavement in District 17; our District needs a Referral Hospital. Our Schools need support and Qualify Teachers. PERIOD.”

Though there has not been any response from the Presidency about the allegation, several reactions have come from a number of citizens and institutions, supposedly supporters of UP who have expressed dismay and dissatisfaction over the allegation and other similar instances that have negatively impacted governance and the image of the government in recent times.

“The Representative must stop such childish behavior. He needs to grow. He continues to make himself a nuisance amongst his colleagues,” said a source claiming to be an official of the ruling party but pleaded not to be named because he was not authorized to speak for the party at this point.

“We are coming with an official position on what allegation including other verbosities coming from this so-called lawmaker,” he continued. “We will put him to his place very soon, intellectually and professionally. He is out of order. We cannot bribe anyone, let alone Yeke. This is clean government we are running.”

Other Liberians have been commenting on the allegations from the representative against the president.

Issiah K. Dwannah said: “It is early in the day for these kinds of allegations to fly around here and there especially for this government that people unanimously elected with the promise of doing things differently and positively too.”

He added: “It is high time that the government puts its acts together because the public discontent about corruption reports is growing by the day; we do not wish for a boomerang of any sort.”

While others await a response from the government as per the allegation, some others are of the opinion that there was nothing to be expected from the government given its antecedents in recent time about enticing politicians to do the bidding of the presidency.

“The government knows that the facts are there so there was no need to respond,” Shop owner Timothy Jay told the Analyst in an interview.

“Remember the allegation of the money received from each lawmaker at the residence of President Boakai during the speakership election; the presidency did not confirm and also did not deny it by the individual lawmakers who obviously will not admit any guilt.

“Then there was the amount of USD365k for the celebration of the President’s inauguration which was distributed among the partisans of UP whose source still remains a mystery. We challenged the Presidency to come clean on what Representative Boakai has said because it has a very negative impact on the office of President.”

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    Just the beginning of high corruption because Liberian need to learned better. How can you trust this old man who was dismissed twice from government office and come to lie to you people and you voted him to power? This is the starting of your hardship.

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