FrontPageAfrica - SILENCE MEANS CONSENT - Liberians Deserve Explanation From Gov’t Over Damning Corruption 101 Allegations

Friday, January 17, 2014

FRONTPAGEAFRICA
 

EDITORIAL

January 17 2014
 

Liberians Deserve Explanation From Gov’t Over Damning Corruption 101 Allegations
 

SILENCE MEANS CONSENT
 
LIBERIA, the oldest nation in Africa is no doubt a country rich in natural and mineral resources.
 
MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES, plough our fields, mine our counties for diamonds, iron ore and rubber daily and walk away with billions of dollars in profits annually.
 
THE SAD COMMENTARY in all of this is that majority of the country’s citizens are still poor and living on less than a dollar a day.
 
DRIVE THROUGH Monrovia and its environment and you see young children who should be in school improving themselves for a better tomorrow, running after cars in traffic to sell cold water, bread, candies and other mini items just to feed their families.
 
EDUCATION IS A MESS, and so is the financials of a country on the mend from more than a decade of civil war. WITH SO much promise and yet so little effort being done to alleviate poverty, many remain unsure about the direction the country is headed.
 
THIS IS WHY we are appalled at the government’s silence in the wake of a recent revelation from Mr. Len Lindstrom, a Canadian investor who unraveled a massive corruption web within the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy and subsequent ruling by the Supreme Court of Liberia. Minister Patrick Sendolo declared Wednesday that he had not received the court opinion in the case. “I have not received the opinion of the Supreme Court to know what the court, said or did not say. So to be able to comment on this I will have to receive and read the court’s opinion.
 
”The Supreme Court handed down its opinion in the case last Friday, ruling that the LME acted illegally by arbitrarily revoking the company’s licenses without affording it due process. The court, which is the final arbiter of justice in the country, ruled that the verdict of the trial judge be upheld dismissing the government’s assertions that the civil law court does not have jurisdiction over the matter.
 
The court ruled that the mining and mineral regulation make it mandatory that the ministry, in terminating any mineral and mineral license, state in the letter of termination the right of the licensee to appeal from the ruling, something it said the co-appellant Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy did not state in its letter of termination to the appellees and hence deprived the appellee of the required notice under the law.
 
WE HOPE Minister Sendolo and his team would really take the time to dissect Mr. Lindstrom’s book and the Supreme Court ruling in a bid to identify many of the problems highlighted by the investor.
 
SAYS LINDSTROM: “To confront the status quo, to battle injustice and to expose corruption, even at the risk of one’s own  peril, should never be seen as a prerogative but rather a God-ordained responsibility, for in so doing one not only maintains their own sense of integrity, but also helps secure a brighter future for the multitudes whose dignity and livelihood have been downtrodden far too long by an abusive system of inequality,  bribery, extortion, fraud and deprivation.”
 
LIBERIA HAS gone through a recurring theme which was heralded by United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Mon last year when he said that increased perception of impunity in Liberia as result of limited adherence to the over 500 recommendations captured in the 33 audit reports conducted and published by the General Auditing Commission (GAC).
 
THE GOVERNMENT owes much to its citizenry to issue a response to Mr. Lindstrom. Failure on the part of the government to act or at least address these issues suggests to all that it endorses corruption and corrupt officials scheming and intimidating investors of their revenues and taxes.
 
THIS WAS THE basis Liberians elected President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf who declared on January 6, 2006, Sirleaf while delivering her inaugural address declared: “We must take on forcibly and effectively the debilitating cancer of corruption. Corruption erodes faith in government because of the mismanagement and misapplication of public resources. It weakens accountability, transparency and justice. Corruption short changes and undermines key decision and policy making processes. It stifles  private investments which create jobs and assures support from our partners. Corruption is a national cancer that creates hostility, distrust, and anger.”
 
http://www.scribd.com/doc/200384888/Friday-January-17-2014-Edition