CSOs Want Sherman Removed From Judiciary Committee

MONROVIA-The National Civil Society Council of Liberia in collaboration with Liberia CSOs Anti-Corruption Coalition is calling for the removal of Senator Harry Varney_Nambi Sherman as Chairman of the Liberian Senate Judiciary Committee, so as to avoid bringing that august body into public disrepute.

The US Treasury department placed sanction on  Senator Sherman recently for his alleged act of bribery and corrupt practices in Liberia. But Sherman has denied  the allegation calling for evidence.

To this, the NCSCL National Chairperson Loretta A. Pope-Kai asserted that Senator  Sherman lacks the moral rectitude to preside over judicial matters at the Liberian Senate, so he should step aside to seek judicial redress with the US Government and save the Liberian Senate. Sherman is head of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The National Civil Society Council of Liberia made the call on Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at its Lutheran’s Compound, 13th Street, Payne Avenue office in Sinkor at press conference.

Madam Kai said they believe that the US Department of Treasury’s Sanction on the Cllr. Sherman has a strong moral and integrity implications. Therefore, his presence as Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary does not only undermine the credibility and integrity of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but also has greatest propensity to bring the entire Liberian Senate to public disrepute.

“The Liberian Senate inaction to distance its administration and leadership role assigned to Sen. Sherman will further interpret it encouragement of corruption and or disregard to adhere to the US strategic policy direction to defeat corruption, hereby engendering bilateral partnership and technical cooperation enjoy by the Liberia’s Legislature, the Government of Liberia to the People and Government of the United States of America,” She added.

The Civil Society Activist maintained that the sanction of Senator Sherman shall also affect other strategic institutions and nations align with the US Foreign Policy hence, the call for conscious action.

She said: “The Liberia CSOs Anti-Corruption Coalition and the National Civil Society Council of Liberia followed the recent debate held at the Chamber of the Liberian Senate on this issue and want to clearly state that Senators arguing that the matter is personal and should not be an issue of the Liberian Senate is not just only weak and lazy, but a calculated attempt to undermine the entire legislature and the country at large.”

NCSCL Chairperson said that the Liberian Senate strategic relationship share with US Congress and broader bilateral and multi-lateral institutions supported by the US Government – serving as prime partners to Liberia sustainable reconstruction endeavor is highly value over an accused and sanctioned Senator.

“We are calling on the Plenary of the Liberian Senate to take appropriate and timely action that promotes good governance to save the Liberian Senate by voting for the removal of Grand Cape Mount County Senator, Varney Sherman as Chairman of the Liberian Senate Judiciary Committee as soon as possible,” she noted.

According to the US Department of Treasury, in 2010, Harry Varney Gboto-Nambi Sherman a prominent lawyer, Liberian Senator, and Chair of the Liberian Senate Judiciary Committee, was hired by a British mining company in an effort to obtain one of Liberia’s last remaining mining assets, the Wologizi iron ore concession.  Sherman advised the company that, in order to obtain the contract, they first had to get Liberia’s concessions law changed by bribing senior officials. (The infamous Sable Mining Saga).

In an effort to promote transparency and accountability, in 2016, Senator Sherman was indicted by the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf led government, along with several other government officials, for their involvement in the USD 950,000 bribery scheme.

Regrettably, in 2019, the presiding judge acquitted all individuals accused of being involved in the bribery scheme.  Sherman offered bribes to multiple judges associated with his trial and had an undisclosed conflict of interest with the judge who ultimately returned a not guilty verdict in July 2019.

The US Department of Treasury reported that Senator Sherman has routinely paid judges to decide cases in his favor, and he has allegedly facilitated payments to Liberian politicians to support impeachment of a judge who has ruled against him.  Sherman’s acts of bribery demonstrate a larger pattern of behavior to exercise influence over the judiciary and the Ministry of Justice.

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