Liberia’s Anti Corruption Commission Dragged To Court

By P. Oxford Brown

MONROVIA—Monsterrado County District 15 Representative, Adolph Lawrence is suing the Liberian Anti Corruption Commission [LACC] at the Civil Law Court in Monrovia, in what he says are actions of damages for wrong, done him by the corruption watchdog.

Hon. Lawrence said the chair of the LACC in his press briefing on Oct. 23 reported that the LACC was investigating House Speaker Alex Tyler and Him Adolph Lawrence for U.S. 22,500.00 that was paid to one Cllr. Nkrumah Michael Allison. The representative say the allegation is false and misleading, and only intended to defame his character.

He called the charges by the LACC irresponsible, vicious and unacceptable.

Lawrence disclosed that on September 10. 2013, the Honorable House of Representatives on Capitol Hill, in Monrovia received from the House of Senate two draft bills: The National Oil Company of Liberia [NOCAL] Act 2013 and Petroleum Exploration and Production Act 2013 which the senate had rectified and was seeking a concurrence from the of the House of Representatives.

On September 11, 2013 the bills were read in plenary and it was referred to the following committees: Lands, Natural Resources, Energy & Environment, the Investment & Concessions, Contracts, Monopolies& Public procurement, and the Judiciary committees for scrutiny while also mandating these organs subsequently to report back to plenary.

The law maker said , the House of Representatives decided to contract the services of three consultants, two of which were Liberians and the third a Ghanaian consultancy, to advise and draft the two pieces of legislation regarding the bills. The cost of consultancy for the bills he said amounted to about 100,000 United States dollars.

He said it is a government policy that services are rendered before payments are made, but that the provisions in the contracts required 50% prepayment upon signatures being affixed and hence, due to the immediacy of the matter at hand, he as chairman sought the invention of Speaker Tyler on how to proceed therefrom. knowing the importance of the exercise, he requested that Hon Tyler advanced the amount to the consultants as initial payment with the clear understanding the funds would be reimpursed.

Lawrence said he and Allison finally met went to go to the bank together to have the check cashed which was written in his name at Ecobank Annex on Ashmun street.

Immediately after the transaction with Mr, Allison an agent of the “LACC arrived on the scene and
informed him that the LACC was investigating the just cashed check, and that they needed my presence at their offices to make a statement. I was also advised by its Chairman Cllr. Verdier to turn over the money to them and return the next day which I did,” said Hon. Lawrence.

Mr. Lawrence speaking to reporters on Friday at his Capitol Building office said the U.S. 12,500.00 advance payment received by Michael Allison was neither owned by the House of Representatives nor was it from the National Oil Company of Liberia, neither the government of Liberia. According to him, the LACC confiscated the funds without a court order since September 24,2014 when in fact Mr. Allison confirmed to the LACC that he had earlier received the amount of 12,500.00 as personal cash advancement from Speaker Tyler.

The Law maker said, the LACC is now an institution that is hunting down people who it perceive as having political ambitions that ravel their direct or indirect political aspiration, “this is a serious blackmail on the part of the commission and a ferocious attack on my hard earned reputation,” he said.

He revealed that the LACC have released 10,00.00 of the total confiscated amount to Mr, Allison, and therefore “I have resulted to use the court for redress against the LACC to establish my innocence and recover” the balance of the money still in their possession

Pic: Adolph Lawrence

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