Home Governance US$4.6 billion Stolen From Liberia …Ex-SG Tells Weah But…

US$4.6 billion Stolen From Liberia …Ex-SG Tells Weah But…

by News Manager

MONROVIA: Resigned Solicitor General of Liberia, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus, has informed President George Weah that with the support of international institutions, i.e. Grant Thornton LLP, UK, and Adeste Limited, UK, he filed a civil action with the Civil Law Court, Temple of Justice, against “The Albatross Limited” (TAL) on September 15, 2020, and strenuously prayed the Court to adjudge liable, and the court subsequently did adjudge liable, “The Albatross Limited” for the sum of 6.4m British Pounds (US$8m), representing proceeds of financial crimes.

He revealed to the Liberian leader that the proceeds of financial crimes ranged from non-payments of statutory annual registration fees, including but not limited to corporate taxes and other royalties due the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) vis-à-vis the Government of Liberia, which was frozen by the National Crimes Agency (NCA) in Great Britain.

In his recent letter of resignation, Cllr. Cephus asserted that this action was filed against The Albatross Limited (TAL) because its articles of incorporation having been duly “revoked and dissolved in 2009, all powers conferred upon it by law obviously became inoperative, save only those powers specifically provided for by law to effect an orderly winding up of the business affairs, among others, and I proffered the argument that the proper winding up should have included a declaration of all assets and liabilities in the name of the Company to the authorities of the Republic of Liberia but that was never done, hence, the Republic of Liberia became the legitimate power and authority to take seize of, and was accordingly awarded the £6.4m British Pounds (US$8m) detained and subsequently confiscated by the National Crimes Agency (NCA) in the United Kingdom which is owned by The Albatross Limited.

Cephus: “Moreover, I had argued for, and on behalf of the Republic of Liberia, as I still do today, that the only legally competent authority clothed with the statutory and constitutional responsibility to waive maritime liabilities and other royalties due the government of Liberia by any institution, as in the case of The Albatross Limited (TAL) is the Minister of Finance and being that there was no records to prove that the Minister had waived such liabilities during succeeding administrations spanning over a period of 38 years, the money in question (US$8m) is a proceeds of crimes committed against the Republic of Liberia, and therefore, I demanded the return of the said money to the Republic of Liberia as in keeping with the ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING ACT, 2012, 4LCLR, Title 26, section 2.2(b); and the peace and dignity of the Republic of Liberia and that the court should declare and did declare as “bona vacantia” money, the £6.4 million confiscated by the NCA as property of The Albatross Limited(TAL).

Cephus: “Excellency, I am deeply heartened to inform you through this medium that the 6.4 British Pounds (US$8m) confiscated by the NCA and which was awarded to the Government of Liberia by the Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice as proceeds of crimes committed by The Albatross Limited (TAL) in an ex parte proceeding executed due to The Albatross Limited’s failure to interpose any objection despite the countless precepts of court served and returned served throughout publications, is now ready and is now on the verge of being repatriated through the kind instrumentally of Grant Thornton LLP, UK to the coffers of the government and people of Liberia for development purposes.

Cephus: “I urge Your Excellency’s government to contact Mr. Amaechi Nsofor of Grant Thornton LLP, UK, and Mr. Fidelis Omozuapo of Adeste Limited, UK, on how to go about securing and repatriating these stolen funds. I do have their contract details and I am ready to provide them at any time,” the former SG narrated to the President.

“Excellency, I have worked so hard locally and internationally to give your government a positive image of fighting corruption. I recall that after a rough calculation of the US$4.6 billion believed to have been total amount of money stolen from the Republic of Liberia between 1950 and 2012, as projected by those who have interest in Liberia’s recovery and PRO-POOR DEVELOPMENT AGENDA under Your Excellency’s leadership, I headed a 3-man delegation mission to the US and held fruitful consultations with a New York based firm, Duane Morris LLP and other financial litigators, who, after a careful review of the sources and locations of these stolen funds, had offered to be given the franchise to go after these stolen funds, and in return, would have offered the Republic of Liberia the staggering sum of United States One Billion upfront for the entire US$4.6 billion dollars.

“Excellency, pursuant to these fruitful discussions, Duane Morris LLP of New York, sent a special delegation to Monrovia headed by one of its astute and venerated counsels, Mr. Mauro M. Wolfe, who would have acted under the agreement as Global Lead Counsel (GLC), with a contract ready to be signed between the Government of Liberia and his firm but Frank Musa Dean undermined every effort made with the help of his supporters and succeeded in thwarting this arrangement. I am to inform Your Excellency that Duane Morris LLP is still eager to work with the Government of Liberia, provided the requisite discussions are held for the mutual beneficial objectives of both parties,” he added.

“That said, my departure evokes feelings of joy and emotions for three basic reasons. First, I will be remembered as the Solicitor-General since 1847 to have worked closely with our international partners to seek the unconditional repatriation of 6.4m British Pounds stolen from the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) by The Albatross Limited (TAL).

Second, I am glad that during the days of AIRRET, I privileged to have found a Liberian citizen in person of Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson, who was willing and ready to render selfless services to his country and to serve as Special Global Independent Counsel (SGIC), hired on the strength of his professional competence and legal perspicacity, although he resigned and AIRRET was subsequently dissolved because of the devious actions of Musa Dean and company. However, AIRRET was only able to recover the amount of US$485,000.00 (Four Hundred Eighty Five Thousand United States Dollars) which was placed in government’s coffers at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL). And thirdly, with emotions, because my departure is elicited by Frank Musa Dean, who does not want the money (US$8m) frozen and confiscated in the UK to be repatriated because it will overshadow his parochial agenda of running a ‘parallel government’ adversative to Your Excellency’s authority.

Excellency, you are not a stranger to the fact that we, especially those of us who were born and raised in the slums of Liberia, are victims of corruption in public places and the abuse of power which have dominated Liberian politics for the last 200 years. This egregious form of state robbery and institutional graft was interrupted by the 1980 military coup d’état which everybody thought was meant to right the wrongs of the past but which soon became a recriminatory campaign embarked upon by some Liberians in falsely labeling their fellow compatriots of being “rampantly corrupt”, thus leading to the execution of 13 public officials without due process.

Sadly, Your Excellency, I am a victim of recrimination and have been falsely listed and publicly designated in the eyes of my fellow compatriots as “corrupt”, and thereby rendered lifeless under a condition reminiscent of the atmosphere that attended the 1980 coup—-I am now a living cadaver, with nowhere to turn, no one to talk to, no friend, no company —I have been forcibly driven on the edge with a bleak future while Dean and cronies celebrate. Lest I forget, history is repeating itself—the same pattern, same strategy, same campaign of blackmail, and lies of the 1980s, during which Liberian citizens openly celebrated the execution of 13 public officials for “rampant corruption” are rearing their heads, and of course, Musa Dean is at the forefront of this nefarious campaign which is why he unable to provide any legal opinion on the way forward. Excellency, my resignation today closes a rather distressing and painful barrage of experiences that I have endured under Frank Musa Dean while serving as Solicitor-General and Chief Prosecutor of the Republic, but I hold no ill-will, and absolutely no grudge against him or his cabal for what has happened even though I am quite aware that he is undertaking a rather salacious and sustained campaign to through his cronies to have me ejected from other professional institutions under a controversial process with no precedence. But, as I Christian, my battle is God’s and for this reason I am impelled to take solace to a stanza in our national anthem says “…With God above, our rights to prove, we’ll over all prevail.” I can assure Your Excellency that I shall prevail because I am totally innocent as these allegations are totally groundless. I will not wear a crestfallen face because God Almighty is on my side. Therefore, as I endure the shame and wrong public designation as a “corrupt” official instigated by Frank Musa Dean and coterie in the eyes of my own people who are helpless to provide any assistance, others celebrating and calling for my arbitrary arrest, detention and public execution without due process, let firmness and courage be our credo, because this too, except there is no God, will surely come to past and Frank Musa Dean and cronies will fail,” he told President Weah.

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