By: H. Richard Fallah
MONROVIA: Montserrado County’s tough-talking Senator, Abraham Darius Dillon, has criticized the standard bearer of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), Alexander Benedict Cummings, alias ‘ABC’ for his recent defense of Liberty Party (LP’s) embattled Chairman, Musa Hassan Bility, who has been embroiled (involved) in the much-publicized National Road Fund saga.
Speaking late Monday evening on the “Class Reloaded,” a famous social media platform, June 12, 2023, Senator Dillon noted that Mr. Cummings is being disingenuous to the public in his assertion, in defense of Mr. Bility.
According to Senator Dillon, Mr. Cummings is a “direct opposite” of what he brings to the table.
Dillon: “Why is Mr. Cummings not concerned about asking Mr. Bility as to why he (Bility’s) name is always around a crime scene?”
The Montserrado County Senator described as sad, the decision of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) to defend an action which is directly opposite the country’s best interests.
Senator Dillon: “Cummings has given me more reasons to doubt him; his action to defend Musa Bility shows that, if he is elected President of Liberia; he will collude with people who will be hurting the economy of the country.”
“Cummings is being disingenuous here and I am very wrong on the truth,” Dillon asserted.
“ADD” as Senator Dillon is affectionately called by his supporters noted that Mr. Bility was investigated by the FIFA ethics committee and found guilty to have stolen funds intended for Ebola recovery program.”
“Not being satisfied with the decision of the ethics committee, Bility himself proceeded to appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), which is an independent tribunal of disputes arising from sporting activities,” Dillon added.
Commenting on the road fund saga, Senator Dillon opined that “one would grant that the road fund is technically a revenue, so, refusing to remit government`s account is a form of impropriety, which among other things; amounts to criminal conduct.”
On Wednesday, June 7, the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) standard bearer, Alexander Benedict Cummings through a social media interview; voiced out his support for Musa Bility, the chairman of the CPP, following the recent closure of his company, SRIMEX Oil and Gas by the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), which cited tax invasion and road fund issues.
Cummings also backed Bility’s claims that the opposition Unity Party was responsible for the shutdown, despite the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) carrying out the action, stating, that “in Liberia, everything is politics.”
Cummings emphasized that owing taxes is not a crime.
The CPP Leader expressed the belief that the leak of information from the LRA was unfair to Mr. Bility and his SRIMEX Oil and Gas Company.
Cummings cautioned against jumping to conclusions and emphasized that no crime had been proven; the allegations against Bility were merely accusations.
He praised Bility’s performance as the Chairman of CPP, stating, “Until something else is shown to the contrary, we stand with Musa. Maybe politics came into play; we cannot pretend that it’s not possible.”
Addressing Chairman Musa Bility’s indictment by FIFA for allegations of misappropriation of funds, Cummings criticized FIFA as an institution lacking integrity.
He stated, “FIFA is not the most credible organization. People should not regard FIFA as a prestigious institution.”
On Tuesday, June 6, 2023, the Liberia Revenue Authority shut down Bility’s SRIMEX Oil and Gas due to alleged delays in tax payments, amounting to over one million United States dollars.
The LRA’s Communication Manager, D. Kaihenneh Sengbe, however, clarified that the action was taken against the company for tax delays and not against an individual.
But, the businessman turned politician, Musa Hassan Bility himself confirmed on a Facebook broadcast on the same Tuesday, June 6, 2023, that he only owes US$165,000 in taxes.
The controversial businessman, in the late evening podcast admitted to being indebted to the Government of Liberia through the National Road Fund with an amount that he said, was initially around $4million.
Bility revealed that while it is true that he has some money from the road fund, his compliance to retire the debt brought down the amount significantly to about $460, 000.
Some political commentators averred that the name, Musa Bility has always been associated with controversies both in and outside of Liberia.
On May 2, 2023, the former Liberian Football Association President, Musa Hassan Bility, lost his appeal filed before a Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) against FIFA with respect to the decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee on 12 February 2019 against him.
Bility’s appeal was dismissed and the decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee on 12 February 2019 was confirmed.
This means that Bility’s 10-year ban for corruption remains in place.
Bility’s initial 10-year ban by the Federation of International Football (FIFA),the World’s football governing body, was triggered after the Liberian Football Association (LFA) was said to have misappropriated FIFA funds, offering and accepting gifts as well as other benefits and involvement in conflicts of interest.
According to a statement from FIFA, Bility, a former President of the Liberia Football Association (LFA), misappropriated funds from entities owned by him or linked to his family.
The Liberian businessman had petitioned the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) with the hopes of having the FIFA decision against him overturned.
But, with the CAS decision, dated May 2, 2023 upholding the FIFA ban, Bility’s 10-year suspension from global sport stands.