MONROVIA–During the past months, the media institutions have reported that the National Elections Commission (NEC) spent at least US$182,000 to rent a mere 22 pieces of thermometers. The Commission needed the gear for the Representative by-elections held in Bomi, Bong, Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties on November 16, 2021.
Unfortunately, the astronomical amount of public funds spent to attain the small-kits erupted public outcry. As a result, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) subjected the entire leadership of the NEC to an investigation, and found criminal wrongdoing which resulted in the indictment of NEC Chairperson, Davidetta Brown-Lansanah and NEC’s procurement committee for corruption. For Madame Brown-Lansanah’s explicit role in the sleaze while serving as Chair of the NEC, the LACC had asked President George Weah to fire her along with the procurement committee because their actions violated the law.
Team Gongloe unequivocally backs the LACC’s call, and asks Madam Brown-Lansanah to quit the post as she lacks the integrity, honesty, transparency and accountability required to continue to lead election activities as Liberia heads to the Presidential and Legislative Elections in 2023.
According to LACC Chair, Cllr. Edward Martin, Madame Brown-Lansanah confessed that she awarded the contract to Tuma Enterprise Incorporated where her brother David Brown is Vice President for Operations without disclosing her interest. She also failed to disclose her family relationship with the entity’s Owner and Incorporator, Mr. Arnold Badio, who is a maternal brother to Mr. David Brown. Surreptitiously, Cllr. Martin added, “NEC issued a ‘Certificate of Completion’ to Tuma Enterprise Incorporated on October 24, 2021, and paid a full amount of US$182,320.00 while the stipulated date for the contract to end was November 20, 2021.” According to the LACC this violates Chapter 1, Sections 1 & 3 of the National Code of Conduct for Public Officials. Additionally, the LACC Chair stated that Section 2.2 of the Act that established the LACC, i.e., the Insider Trading was also violated and this amounts to an act of corruption. Also contravened is Section 15.3 of the Money Laundering Act of 2012. Thus, the LACC maintains that the conflict of interest and financial improprieties warrant summary dismissal and prosecution which the LACC promised to ensure. We STRONGLY SUPPORT the LACC in this vein and anxiously look forward to the prosecution of Madame Brown-Lansanah.
Such unbecoming acts by the NEC Chair and her cohorts is part of the corruption in government which Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe has assured Liberians he would curb when elected President in 2023. We which to thank the LACC thus far in this matter and would encourage them not to cherry pick in this fight against corruption.