The Senator of Grand Gedeh County, G. Alphonso Gaye has considered as “wrong”, report in the media naming former and /or current officials of government that are either indicted or to be indicted by the Ministry of Justice based on GAC reports they may have in their procession.
In a letter of June 20, 2019 to President Pro Tempore Albert T. Chie, Senator Gaye indicated that such attempt is wrong and it should be halted immediately.
Amidst massive public criticisms on why the George Weah Government refused to audit previous government, the Ministry of Justice yesterday released 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.
In an 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.
In his letter to the Senate reacting to the reports, the grand Gedeh County lawmaker said, “While I do applaud the Ministry of Justice to carryout it duties and responsibilities in keeping with statute, this should be done in the framework of the law and established procedures. The Ministry of justice should not be in the business of looking for cases to prosecute rather it should wait for cases forwarded to it for prosecution.
“Just to refresh our minds, the General Auditing Commission (GAC) by law reports to the National Legislature. After GAC completes an audit, the report is submitted to the National Legislature who in return mandates the Public Accounts, Audit and Expenditure Committee for scrutiny through a public hearing conducted by the Joint Public Accounts Committee (PAC). It is upon the scrutiny and validation by the Committee, the validated report is submitted to the Plenary of both Houses for endorsement,” Senator Gaye explained.
He clarified that it is the endorsed report from the National Legislature that is then submitted to the President who has the authority to forward same to the Ministry of Justice for action based on the findings and conclusion contained in the validated report.
Against this background, GAC report that is not validated by the Legislature cannot be used as an instrument for the indictment of anybody; be it former or current Government officials, he warned.
Already two of the ex-officials who names are mentioned in the list of PERSONS OF INTEREST, former Information Minister Lewis Brown wants his name removed from the list on ground that he is not aware of the audit alluded to and former Deputy Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Dr. James F. Kollie, Jr. who challenged the mentioning of his name amongst names of alleged corrupt former officials of past regime.
Former Deputy Minister of Finance & Development Planning said he seeks, through a communication dated June 19, 2019, answers from Solicitor (Designate), Cllr. Cephus regarding the publication of his name on a list of persons believed to link to malfeasance”.