GovernanceNews

From Poverty to Overnight Riches: Liberia’s Telecom Chief in Alleged Corruption

Washington, DC – Liberian-Americans and Liberians living in the United States are enraged with the international community and several western nations, especially the U.S. government and the Obama administration that have supported a notably corrupt regime in Liberia under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Since assuming office as President of Liberia, several agonized Liberians in the U.S. say President Sirleaf has transformed the country into a quagmire of haves and have-not’s society, where she has enriched her family, and a select few within her circle and the circle of her son, Robert Sirleaf, who many referred to as the nation’s de facto chief executive officer.

One of such officials in the Liberian administration is the current managing director of the Liberia Telecommunication Corporation (LIBTELCO), Sabastian Muah.

Muah, who once lived and worked in Minnesota and is believed to have had difficulties in even paying his mortgage in the US at the time, is today investing millions of dollars in several African nations and around the world, using Liberian tax payers’ money from his portfolios in government.

Sebastian Muah, who studied Informational Technology was appointed the Deputy Minister for Economic Policy and Analysis for Liberia by President Sirleaf.   What a huge-skills mismatched.

He pursued a Master of Science in Information Technology degree from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College. Muah studied at Heinz College as part of the MSIT program’s distance learning track.

Liberian President Sirleaf, “the Nobel Prize Winner”

Per credible sources and information gathered by one of Liberia’s foremost media institutions, FrontPage Africa, Mr. Sebastian Muah, a U.S. citizen who currently works as Managing Director of the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (LIBTELCO) and was once a former Deputy Minister of Finance for Budget, is part owner of a mega casino in the Central African Republic where he invested over US$ 2 million dollars.

Per sources connected to the casino transaction, the casino is in a Five Star luxury hotel, the Ledger Plaza in Bangui, the Central African Republic where war between Christians and Muslims rages.

Muah is not the only Liberian with massive investments (obtained from stolen wealth) outside of Liberia. In fact, reputable private security and investigation firms in New York, Washington, D.C., and the UK are said to be tracking billions of dollars smuggled out by officials, friends, and family members of past and current Liberian leaders to Europe and places Asia, and most parts of the Middle East, especially Lebanon under fake entities and through proxies.

Like Muah, several past and current officials who served in the Sirleaf’s administration have purchased luxury homes in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  Others have also used public funds to open private businesses in the country and around the world, including a medical facility in South African which is said to belong to a Liberian official.

A U.S. source based in California has learned that the country’s Ministry of Finance has been used as a “casino jackpot” to elevate the financial and economic status of Robert Sirleaf’s friends and alleged ‘partners’ since 2006, while millions of Liberians remain unemployed and communities throughout the country have no access to basic healthcare and food security.

One source on Staten Island, New York indicated that a major local media business in Liberia, Capital FM, and Capital Media, were established as a private entity with resources from the Liberian Ministry of Finance.  The media institution is alleged to belong to former senior officials in the Sirleaf administration.

Many of the officials who have reaped off the country with the implied approval of the Liberian president are said to be U.S. citizens and folks educated in the United States, many of whom have inflicted degrees and resumes.

Matthew Konowa, a Liberian living in Portland, Oregon say, “While President Sirleaf is begrudging a few perceived political enemies like Grand Cape Mount County Senator Varney Sherman and former House Speaker Alex Tyler for corruption, she failed to investigate the vast amount of resources that were stolen from the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), the Ministry of Public Works, the Ministry of Finance, the Japanese funds at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the funds from renewed Maritime contract, and more.”

Marie Tamba, another Liberia living in Jacksonville, Florida said, “Several of the corruption anchor Liberian officials have not pay federal and state income taxes in the US despite earning millions of dollars in stolen wealth.”

She and others plan to urge the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to go after Liberians with U.S. citizenship and who have stolen millions from the country for tax evasion and tax fraud. She stated further that she has contacted her senator from Texas, Ted Cruz regarding the issue.

Asked if she had names of those involved? She replied, “Yes.’   “We will give their names and the IRS will check their records,” she said. “The IRS is a huge and sophisticated agency, if they want to know anything they can,” said Marie.

According U.S. laws, all American citizens employed or doing business are subject to file federal and state income tax irrespective of where they work.

Amid the widespread public theft and open-door corruption in Liberia, the Obama administration consistently supported ‘development’ efforts in Liberia, using American tax payers’ money.

Paul Saydee, a Liberian in Sweden said, “The open-ended foreign aid gives Liberian officials the greenlight to funnel more stolen wealth out of their country while children died from malnutrition, women died from childbirth, and youth unemployment skyrocket.”

A Liberian-American employed at McDonald’s in New Jersey, said: “The US government should not support African governments that have corrupt leaders and officials.”

The Liberian who prefers to be called by her first name, Beatrice, maintained that “President Sirleaf used her manipulative tactics, smooth-talking and tricks to deceive Western leaders into believing that she is a serious and good leader.”

James, another Liberian in Columbus, Ohio agreed with Sarah said, he believes the Democrats lose the 2017 Presidential election because God has heard the cries of Liberians.

In Liberian communities around the world and in country, several believe former US secretary of state and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s closed relationship with the Liberian leader has shielded President Sirleaf from US rebuke despite falling short of good governance practices, sound human rights standards, and committing outrageous attacks against the Liberian media and individuals.

Most Liberians seem to share the notion of James because President Sirleaf has repeatedly boasted of her international connections to powerful people in the West and around the world, including the Clintons.

An American citizen, Pamela Jackson who works in Home Depot with a Liberian in Arkansas, said, “It is appalling that the US government will aid public theft and corruption with unnecessary international aid using tax payer’s money while several American citizens struggle to make ends meet while a guy like Muah from nowhere can throw US$2 million dollars in a casino investment in CAR while his fellow Liberians lack basic needs and jobs.”

Pamela plans to write her US senator from Arkansas, Senator Tom Cotton regarding the issue of the US sending tax payers’ money away to support corrupt governments around the world.

Pamela said, she always feels sorry for her Liberian co-worker at Home Depot who is struggling and morally compelled to remit hundreds of dollars to Liberia to support her parents and siblings because of hardship, the lack of jobs and access to basic needs in the country.

Globe Afrique Media reached out to a top official on President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition team for comments, and the officials said as far as they know, rogue regimes in Africa will be held to account and the days of jolly ride on US tax payer’s money will be over soon.

While more development unfolds regarding this alleged Muah’s public theft, below is the full investigation on the story from FrontPage Africa, authored by veteran and decorated Liberian journalist, Rodney Sieh.

https://youtu.be/mJJTULimWCM

FrontPage Africa’s Investigation

 FrontPage Africa has learnt that Mr. Sebastian Muah, Managing Director of the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (LIBTELCO) also a former Deputy Minister of Finance for Budget is part owner of the casino, per sources connected with the transaction, and that the casino is in a Five Star luxury hotel, the Ledger Plaza in Bangui, the Central African Republic while war between Christians and Muslims rages on.

FrontPage Africa first got wind of the deal just over two months ago that a local lawyer representing the interests of a Lebanese national identified as Aboudi (formal name Abdallah Kobeissi), was sent court documents from Bangui to file a lawsuit against Mr Muah and two other business associates who had reportedly cheated Mr Kobeissi out of his shares in a Casino located in Bangui, a city in the Central African Republic (CAR), a land locked Central African country embroiled in war for over a decade and accused of religious “cleansing” of its Muslim citizens since 2013.

The source, upon reading the “Declaration De Modification” (Declaration of Modification) shared its contents with FrontPage Africa after identifying the name of a Liberian government official, Sebastian Muah, listed as one of the shareholders and for whose benefit, as a new shareholder, the Declaration was registered on behalf of.

FrontPage Africa also gathered that Mr Kobeissi had sued Mr Muah’s associates in Bangui but lost the case. However, per sources, Mr. Kobeissi was reportedly advised by a court officer in CAR to sue his former associates in Liberia since all the parties to the alleged crime resided in Liberia.

It was then that Mr Kobeissi sought the assistance of legal representation in Liberia, sending all the relevant documentation in a bid to explore justice for his business grievances.

Mr Kobeissi, who claimed his wife and child were struggling in Liberia at the time, is said to be angry that his former associates, knowing his financial predicament, manipulated him, and grossly undervalued his shares to buy low but sold the same shares almost immediately to Mr Muah for a whooping USD$250,000.00 in cash.

After purchasing the shares, our sources claim that Mr. Muah began pumping large amounts of money (cash only transactions) into the business. The casino, per the manager FPA spoke with at the Ledger Hotel in CAR, is worth over US$2 Million and very well-funded “for a business with only a little customer.”

Shocked that a Liberian government official would make such a substantial investment in a war-torn country and not into his own country’s struggling economy, the source became suspicious of Mr Muah and the source of his funds, immediately contacting FPA and asking that the paper conduct an independent investigation. Per the opinion of the local Liberian lawyer when he called FPA, “it looks like the man could be hiding money”. FPA immediately began asking questions and in a series of email exchanges between FrontPage Africa and Mr Muah, the LIBTELCO boss at first vehemently denied knowledge of owning shares in or knowing anything about a casino in Bangui, Central African Republic (offering FPA a big media contract with LIBTELCO not to run the story). Mr. Muah even named the offer in his email as “Perhaps a better story for LIBTELCO”.

After being assured by friends and supporters that FPA had no supporting documentation to prove his connection to the casino in CAR, Mr. Muah began posturing. Boasting that he earns enough money to do with what he wants, going as far as calculating his salary during his years of government employment to justify the investment. Mr. Muah even highlighted that he didn’t eat his school fees and whatever he does passes his “smell test.

“Rodney: You off balance HUH? Get back in form chief cause I am not your normal politician O. Since I never are any school money I ever had I am as arrogant and convicted on whatever I do passes the smell rest.” – Sebastian Muah.

The posturing and bragging shifted to anger after learning FPA did in fact have supporting documentation and began claiming that FPA was fabricating the story to extort him. Mr. Muah stated that he had informed the President and LACC about his dealings and asked that an investigation be opened on him.

Despite all the denials, the alleged crooked behavior and theft of public has ben refuted by a more detailed research carried out by investigative journalism with proof of documents that are in the possession of credible sources as seen below.  In fact, a New York-based international private security has planned on providing pro bono services in tracing stolen wealth and exposing properties of rogue Liberian officials. More details to come despite the President and the Justice Ministry’s attempts to shield these kinds of ugly acts while millions of Liberians are suffering and dying in the midst of riches.

A very highly placed source say it is likely that the incoming Trump’s administration might sanction the leadership of the Liberian Justice Ministry if they continue to refuse to face reality by going after white-color criminals and instead select to threaten whistle-blowers and media professionals for rendering conscionable services to their nation by exposing the facts.

Casino Denial Debunked: Smoking Gun Nails Liberia’s Telecom Boss Sebastian Muah

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Michael Harrington

Michael Harrington is a researcher and senior contributing reporter with Globe Afrique Media.
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