-Captured In Pro-Publica Documentary
By R. Joyclyn Wea
As part of investigation leading to circumstances relating to the More Than Me Sex Scandal, the Joint Ministerial Committee setup has put forth several recommendations to the Liberian Government for possible consideration.
Key among them is that all individuals interviewed in the Pro-Publica recent documentary be subpoenaed to appear before the investigative team and that all employees of the More Than Me be interrogated.
The team further requested that all transactions of MTM foundation/Academy be placed under a financial management to be named by the special investigative team; that More Than Me involvement with the Public Private Partnership Program of the Ministry of Education be restricted to the schools already under its supervision and no other schools be added.
It can be recalled, following heavy public outcry over the alleged sexual abuse of girls at the More Than Me Foundation, the Government of Liberia through President George Weah Setup a Joint Ministerial Committee, comprising of the Ministries of Justice, Gender, Children and Social Protection; Labor, Education, Health, Youth and Sport, Finance and Development Planning, to investigate recent published story and documentary by Findlay Young as released by ProPublica, a subsidiary of Times Magazine, involving More Than Me Academy’s founder, Katie Meyler, and its Program Manager the late Macintosh Johnson.
Speaking over the weekend on recent action taking by the Investigative Committee in the MTM sexual saga, Gender Minister Piso Sayedee Tarr recommended that both civil and criminal proceedings be seriously considered and pursued should the facts present evidence of culpability.
“That MTM be made to make a full declaration of assets and that its financial transactions be reviewed, the intent is to establish the salary and benefits received by the perpetrator (late Macintosh Johnson) of the heinous acts so as to confirm or dismiss any appearance of a conflict of interest,” Tarr.
“We also want to ensure that Ms. Meyler makes no contact with the affected girls or any of the girls or sponsors, students, faculty, staff, Liberian Advisory Board and the U.S. Board of Directors, unless as allowed by the investigation or special ministerial committee,” she said.
The committee wants the cellphone records of Ms. Meyler, dating to the time prior to and during incarceration of Mr. Macintosh Johnson be made available. That Ms. Meyler makes available or gives approval to her cellphone carrier in the United States to make available her phone records and all audio during her visit to the USA when she got the initial call about the allegation of systematic rape at the More Than Me Program.
In a related development the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection says there is no report of girls believed to be victims of the More Than Me Sex scandal at the ministry.
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection as part of its mandate is to watch out and deal with all forms of abuse against women, children and other gender issues.
According to Gender Minister Piso Sayedee Tarr, the ministry is only relying on pieces of information from the ProPublica and other institutions.
“Sadly, there is no record of girls raped at More Than Me at Gender Ministry for the girls at the time of the case in 2014,” Gender Minister.
Even though the Ministry of Gender allegedly announced the death of Macintosh Johnson back then, the ministry seems not to have any medical documents on the late Johnson either prior, during and after his death in prison or while the trial was said to have been ongoing.
When questioned as to whether the ministry was able to ascertain any medical report to have concluded that Macintosh Johnson actually died of AIDs as been reported by Pro- Publica, the Minister answered in the affirmative saying “this is something that would be addressed by the Ministry of Justice. As said, I don’t have any report on that case at my ministry; we will be relying on others institutions for information on this.”
Buttressing Minister Tarr, the head of the SGBV section at the Ministry of Gender, Deddy Kwekwe said “we don’t know how he dies and how he was buried because as you all know during the Ebola lot of things happened.”
She asserted that the case was entirely with the Ministry of Justice at the time and that the Ministry of Gender was only following up on the status of the court proceeding.
“The girls were in the care of the Ministry of Justice and we are hoping that they are still in Ministry of Justice care. The girls still in possession of the crimes unit of the Justice Ministry. So, I’m really glad that the case is reopen,” Kwekwe.