President Sirleaf Will Not Be Drawn Into Corrpution Investigations

Monday, 11th December 2006
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Photo Credit: James Garrison, Executive Mansion
Monrovia, Liberia - The Executive Mansion says President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will not be drawn into the current exercise concerning the questioning and arrest of former officials of the National Transitional government of Liberia over the ECOWAS audit report.

“What is pertaining is purely a legal matter which is being handled by the courts of the country,” Presidential Press Secretary, Cyrus Wleh Badio, told Executive Mansion reporters Monday at his weekly Press briefing.

Mr. Badio reiterated President Johnson Sirleaf’s position that the rule of law is respected and the dignity of individuals being questioned protected and upheld. He disclosed that all those implicated in the ECOWAS audit report, including anyone serving in the current government, would have to answer to the charges at the appropriate time to be determined by the Investigating Authorities.

The Executive Mansion, has meanwhile, welcomed a statement last week by 13 opposition political parties, support government’s decision to bring to book individuals accused of corruption in the ECOWAS audit report. The exercise, the Presidential spokesman said, would be carried out without prejudice. Mr. Badio also lauded a former representative of Bomi County, Sando Johnson, acknowledging government’s steady progress in its national development drive. Badio described the utterance as constructive, as government continues its march toward President Johnson-Sirleaf’s vision of renewal.

Meanwhile, the Executive Mansion says the recent LD$1-thousand dollars increment of payment to pensioners authorized by the President, would be sustained. The increament which is retroactive as of November 1, 2006, Badio said, is not a one-shot deal. Finance Ministry authorities, he said have “worked the numbers” to ensure that pensioners continue to receive their monthly pension checks, reflecting the increase. Prior to the increment, civil service pensioners were receiving a monthly payment of $LD 26.00 (twenty-six Liberian dollars). Concerned about the low payment for pensioners, the President then set up a Cabinet Committee to study the issue. It was based on the Committee’s findings that the President directed the increment.

Meanwhile, it has been disclosed in Monrovia that government and Mittal Steel have concluded negotiations in New York for the resumption by Mittal Steel of Mining activities in Liberia.
Responding to reporter’s questions on the details on the Mittal Steel Deal, Badio said the negotiations were concluded last week and details would be made public a report is submitted to the President by the Liberian Team of negotiators.