By Timothy T. Seaklon
The Liberia Anti-corruption Commission (LACC) said it has retrieved from the Ministry of Justice the allegation of overpayment case involving Representatives Alex Tyler and Adolf Lawrence and is in the process of preparing an indictment for their prosecution.
Representative Alex Tyler who is the current Speaker of the House of Representatives and Representative Adolf Lawrence are alleged to have overpaid a Lawyer who had carried out petroleum Consultancy.
The case was brought to the attention of the LACC when the Lawyer apparently raised the red flag after noticing that he was being overpaid and some of the proceeds were requested by Representative Lawrence allegedly upon orders of the Speaker of the House.
LACC’s Executive Chairperson, Cllr. James N. Verdier addressing the regular Thursday Ministry of Information Press Conference yesterday said the LACC is now in the process of preparing an indictment that will expedite the prosecution of the case.
Cllr. Verdier also mentioned that another case which involves allegation of corruption involving then Superintendent of Sinoe County, Milton Teahjay, has also been retrieved from the Justice Ministry to enable the LACC prepare an indictment for prosecution.
LACC Czar also disclosed that allegation of corruption involving the Japanese oil grant which is being handled by the Ministry of Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the, Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) and an allegation of fraud involving Representative Sekou Konneh, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MoFDP) and the Ministry of Defense (MoD) have also being retrieved and indictment for them will be issued to initiate their prosecution.
In a related development, the LACC Executive Chairperson told journalists that the Commission has commenced investigation into circumstances leading to the recently announced insolvency at the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL).
LACC Boss said he also intends to recommend to the President of Liberia to halt the payment of severance benefits to those at NOCAL until the LACC probe is finalized.
Cllr. Verdier noted that the LACC is also probing allegation of misappropriation of a “Japanese Grant” housed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has commenced investigating the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Commerce and Agriculture.
“LACC has also begun investigation into circumstances surrounding allegation of wrongful award of contracts by the Ministry of Public Works to contractors including PEALAT, SSF Enterprise and CHICO and allegation of an increase of contracts values in violation of Public Financial Management law, Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) regulation and normal administrative procedures,” Cllr. Verdier said.
He also said allegation of misapplication of fund for the construction of Doloken Gbovea Community College in Bong County is being probed by the LACC.
“The LACC is also just concluding an investigation into allegation of corruption involving the former Auditor General of Liberia, Mr. Robert Kilby by awarding contracts to himself through his own company and deliberately splitting payments to circumvent the PFM and PPCC laws,” the LACC Chief said.
Touching on the challenges being faced by the LACC, Cllr. Verdier named the lack of support and demonstration of good intent by the leadership of the House of Representatives on the “Nationwide Oil consultation case,” low human capacity to respond to the increase in cases, coupled with low expertise in some areas of the LACC work and inadequate budget support.