Home Politics Assets Recovery Stalled? …As Confusion Spreads

Assets Recovery Stalled? …As Confusion Spreads

by newsmanager

MONROVIA: Two of Liberia’s integrity institutions including the Assets Recovery and Property Retrieval Taskforce (AREPT), and the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), have come under serious spotlight as their respective heads are embroiled in acts of confusion.

In an open communication, dated May 5, 2024, and addressed to the Chairman of the AREPT, a Specialized ad hoc Integrity Group, Cllr. Edwin Kla Martin, Good Governance Activist, and top member of AREPT, Martin K. N. Kollie, disclosed that out of AREPT’s budget of US$1.5 million, the Legislature only approved US$750,000 for AREPT operations, which is a 50% cut.

However, Mr. Kollie indicated in the communication, copies of which have been sent to President Joseph Nyuma Boakai; the Minister of Justice, Cllr. N. Oawald Tweh; Minister Samuel A. Stevquoh, Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs for Special Projects (MOSPA), Ms. Maima Robertson, Vice Chair, AREPT; and Mr. Alex Cuffy, Special Advisor, AREPT, that Chairman Martin recently sent him (Kollie), a text message, informing him about the signing of a US$311,200 lease agreement to rent an office space for one year for AREPT.

Mr. Kollie, in the communication, pointed out to the AREPT Chairman that said lease agreement was never discussed with other members of the AREPT. He told Chairman Martin that there was no consensus on said decision.

Kollie: “How come and on what basis, Mr. Chairman? Who authorized this this? Did you exhaust the PPCC mechanism/framework? The Committee did not authorize this expenditure and all other expenditures.”

According to Mr. Kollie, “the AREPT has been unable to achieve anything substantial because of the following:

Lack of communication and coordination; Lack of consensus and commonality; Lack of methodological framework to Operate, no SOP, No TOP, No Institutional/Legal Framework, No Strategy, simply put, nothing at all.”

Mr. Kollie also referenced what he described as the abrupt, arbitrary and subsequent seizure of “Grace Ride”.

The hasty and unauthorized expenditure of US$9,800 per month for “billboards”. The crafting of the AREPT’s budget.

“To date, some of us, AREPT members, haven’t seen that fiscal instrument as though it is a society bush,” Mr. Kollie added.

He described as “concerning,” the signing of the lease agreement that a US$300,200 deal was reached.

Mr. Kollie: “How can you spend/use US$311.2k out of 750k just to secure an office space for one year? You are spending 41.5 % of AREPT’s overall approved budget just for on office space rental and ‘other lines.’ Wow…Hub… 41.5$ just to rent an office for a job that we have not even started?”

He also characterized the decision as a “zero fiscal prudence, and logically unjustified.”

Saying to the AREPT Chairman: “Like I advised/warned against lavishly spending money to install billboards, I am calling for an immediate revocation of all financial agreements/transactions. Mr. Chairman, please undo/cancel all financial agreements that you have unilaterally entered into since March 8, 2024

“Any attempt to move forward/further with these transactions, I will be compelled to publicly alarm. AREPT stands the risk of being AUDITED. The failure to do what is right may compel me to call a reconstitution of this committee. This is critical to the President’s anti-corruption agenda,” Kollie stressed.

“The President did not appoint us to do ‘business as usual’. He appointed us to locate, recover, and retrieve financial and non-financial assets. The future of good governance and accountability in Liberia depends on this exercise. We cannot and must not undermine it. We have to get the Liberian people’s job done.

However, President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, or the Government of Liberia (GOL), is yet to react to Martin Kollie’s open communication concerning the operations and activities of the AREPT.
In another development, three Commissioners of the Independent National Human Rights Commission (INHRC), have jointly written President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, complaining the Chairman of the INCHR, Cllr. Dempster Brown.

The three INCHR Commissioners, according to media reports, include Atty. Mohammed El Dust Fahnbulleh, Dr./Cllr. Niveda Ricks Onuha, and Atty. Patmilla Doe Paivey.

“We present our sincere compliments and wish to respectfully bring to your attention for administrative action, the troubling conduct of Cllr. T. Dempster Browne, Chairperson of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights,” the joint communication said.

The aggrieved commissioners in their communication, informed President Boakai that the Commission is facing a huge challenge on delivery on its mandate, mission and vision due to alleged acts of arrogance, intolerance, inefficiency, practices of corruption, nepotism, and abuse of power by Chairman Browne.
They added that as a result of such situation, public trust and donor cooperation with, or support for the the INCHR is fast eroding.

They then crave President Boakai’s immediate intervention as they have no more confidence in Chairman Browne’s leadership of the Commission as the Chairman is not relating to them in the operation of the Commission.

But, the Chairman of the INCHR, Cllr. Dempster Browne, has yet to comment on the latest compliant filed against him to President Boakai and the quest for the Liberian leader’s intervention.

However, Cllr. Browne, recently rejected categorically similar accusations against him and said he has done no wrong at the Commission.
He added that the INCHR has been audited in the past and that such audit has cleared him of involvement in any act of corruption.

The President’s Office is yet to comment on the request of the three commissioners of the INCHR as the operations of the institution seem to be stalled.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment