Liberian Leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Under the Cover of Darkness as a Lame Duck President
UNITED KINGDOM–Report reaching Globe Afrique from the UK’s government says two Liberian diplomats have been expelled from the country for unspecified reasons, but Globe Afrique’s research and analysis is uncovering allegations of fraud, organized and systemic corruption, money laundering and other charges as being key factors for the expulsion.
Credible sources close to the UK’s intelligence say the British Police has a dossier of evidence that connects the two Liberian diplomats to serious allegation of perceived fraud, prostitution, and organized money laundering in conjunction with some Europeans.
To comply with the personae non-grata, the diplomats are given less than two months to leave Britain for their home country, Liberia, in what some African political analysts referred to as a “national disgrace” imposed on the country by the Sirleaf administration that they claimed, “appoints individuals into government’s position based on cronyism, nepotism and blind loyalty.”
Liberia, a very refined country with an acclaimed diplomatic Corps from the 1950s to the 1980s, has come under serious scrutiny for the most unimaginable graft-consumption and fraud mentality since 2006 when President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf assumed power as president.
Although details of the diplomats’ expulsion are still yet public unknown, Jay Napoleon Toquie, II and Chester Dweh Barh, Sr., the two diplomats in question have already been alerted regarding the “persona non-grata” status against them.
“I am writing to formally inform you that Her Majesty’s government, in accordance with Article 9(1) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961, has today, November 21, 2017, advised two members of your mission through writing that they are persona non-grata with effect from January 8, 2018,” according to a communication from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the U.K. Government, signed by Barry Nicholas, to the Liberian mission Charge d’Affaires, Ibrahim Nyei.
Mr. Nicholas is an official of the Diplomatic Missions and Foreign Organizations Unit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at the UK Foreign Office and the official who announced the UK’s decision.
The affected Liberian diplomats, Toquie, II, was appointed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2007 as the First Secretary and Consul at the Liberian mission to the UK and Northern Ireland, and Barh was made Counsellor.
In international relations, a persona non-grata of a diplomat affects his dependents if they too are living in the accredited country. That means the declaration by Her Majesty the Queen and her government to expel the two Liberian diplomat means their family would have left Britain as well.
While the UK government remains officially diplomatic on providing details regarding the expulsion of the Liberian diplomats, the communication to the Liberian mission cited Article 9(1) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations which states:
“The receiving State may at any point in time without having to explain to explain its decision, notify the sending State that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff is persona non-grata or that any other member of the staff of the mission is not acceptable…”
Dominic Bassah, a Liberian living in the UK told Globe Afrique that the “Sirleaf administration has transformed Liberia into a more disgraceful nation because of the greed of her family and followers. All this whole fraud and money laundering thing all started when these people took over Liberia and started finding ways and means to smuggle millions of dollars out of the country.”
Betty Togba, another Liberian who works as a nurse in Ireland argued that Liberians should not blame President Sirleaf but themselves. Adding, “The Government is not a one-person business. It is an institution with three distinct branches and each has some oversight duties, but all the three branches are severely corrupt, and the Liberian people allowed themselves to be used by their unpatriotic politicians and leaders.”
Peter Forkpah, a Liberian living in Germany disagreed with Betty Bassah’s position, saying, “The president of Liberia is responsible. She has made the Liberian government all about herself, her friends and her family, especially her son Robert Sirleaf who she is now pushing to become a senator for Montserrado County with the hope of making him, president.”
“President Sirleaf has never and does not love Liberia; it is all about her and that is very sad and sickening,” he said.
Maima Sambolah, a Liberian health care worker living in Newfoundland, Canada said, “President Sirleaf is a disgraceful failure to herself, the Liberian people and to Africa. The sad part is she fails to acknowledge her drastic failure and is going around the world still misbelieving her over-inflated ego that she is some great world leader when the only thing she leaves behind in Liberia is her destructive past of war, economic sabotage, and corruption.”
“Liberia needs a savior and President Sirleaf, if Liberians are not smart enough, will hold that country hostage for the next decades,” she added.
There is a huge disagreement among Liberians on the direction of the country. Some Liberians cast the blame on the entire nation but most fault President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who leaves office in January 2018 after 12 years in office.
Several local and international reports paint the Sirleaf government as fomenting, aiding and abetting corruption. Numerous citizens blamed the President’s Family for the breakdown in the country’s guide against public theft for what they called “overburden interference.”
The president appointed many of her family members and children as well as ‘god-children’ into lucrative government positions and institutions such as the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) where millions of dollars have allegedly gotten away into private coffer.
Besides, her critics say she is engaged in sensational and witch-hunt politics by being selective and calculative in her government’s so-called fight against corruption.
One former Liberian lawmaker told Globe Afrique that the people who blame the Liberian leader for the institutional failure throughout the country are right. He said, “Lawmakers, for example, started requesting for higher wages and benefits after we realized that the president, her family, and friends were milking the country getting rich, so we too asked for our own. That is how you find legislators making those crazy salaries.”
“It is wrong to see lawmakers making that kind of money in a poor country where our people are dying from poverty. But if the Liberian people sit and allow Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to manipulate them, they will always suffer,” he added.
One American professor of international relations in New York said, “It seems the Liberian leader finds comfort in bringing close to her irresponsible personalities.” The professor who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “This is the same Liberian mission where the ambassador in charge (referring to the former Liberian ambassador to the UK, Ambassador Mohammed Sheriff) made irrational statements praising a former warlord and calling for his release.”
On September 20 this year, ambassador Mohammed Sheriff told the BBC ‘Focus on Africa program that he believed former President Charles Taylor has changed and should be freed and allowed to participate in political activities in Liberia, weeks after some US and the UK’s investigators claimed Taylor was meddling in and influencing Liberia’s 2017 presidential election.
Ambassador Sheriff has since been recalled for his undiplomatic and what others called “reckless” statement and other rude tendencies.
Taylor’s wife, Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, is the running-mate to former soccer star Senator George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). Both are strongly believed to be financially and politically supported by both Charles Taylor and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. President Sirleaf dismissed the charge but her wealthy and powerful son, Robert Sirleaf backs the Weah-Taylor ticket.
Corruption, fraud, and money laundering are not new to the Sirleaf administration, cronies, and some officials in the government. In 2014, the then Liberian Ambassador to Brussels, Francis Karpeh was accused of faking lease agreement for his residence in Brussels.
In addition, there is a big corruption ring at the Liberian Ministry of Public Works where some officials have connived with a Nigerian con artist Tony Praise Lawal in embezzling over $18 million United States dollars for unfilled construction contracts, but the President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has failed to call for an investigation because critics believe her elder sister Ms. Janine Johnson Bernard is allegedly a big part of alleged fraud and corruption.
The Liberian Ministry of Justice and the so-called Presidential Task Force set up to investigate and prosecute corruption have all refused to act as well for fear of the president whose sister has vast power and influence and can call for the ouster of anybody in government. While there are no direct links to Mrs. Janine Johnson Bernard in the public works’ ministry saga, President Sirleaf’s deliberate refusal to prosecute the Nigeria businessman raises more than doubts and questions.
Meanwhile, other countries concerned about graft and money laundering activities in the Sirleaf’s empire and government are institute measures that would lead to investigations down the line, Globe Afrique has learned.