Special Task Force Bounces Back, Releases More Names Of Those Accused Of ‘Stealing’ Taxpayers’ Money

Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa, Minister of State without Portfolio and Head of the SPTF
Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa, Minister of State without Portfolio and Head of the SPTF

The Special Presidential Task authorized by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to bring to book those linked to the misapplication of taxpayers’ money has released another list of individuals who are said to have illegally given money and the work they should perform was never implemented.

This latest move on the part of the Task Force has put to rest that it was not performing the mandate given it by the Liberian leader.

The list of individuals and firms are recommended by the Public Account Committee (PAC) to restitute funds received from the state without performing the required task as reported by the General Auditing Commission (GAC).

Minister of State without Portfolio and Head of the SPTF, Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa said those listed for restitution were individuals and firms who received government allotment for works that were not performed or could not properly account for the money as required by law.

He explained that communications would be sent to these individuals and companies, demanding them to restitute said funds into government’ coffer or risk prosecution by the Ministry of Justice and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).

“The communications or letters sent to them will serve as notification for the payment or restitution of said fund for works that were not performed or government funds that were not properly accounted for,” Cllr. Koffa said.

Some of names on the lists include former Education Minister, Dr. Joseph D. Z Kortu, who is accused of violating the Budget Law by approving bonus payment without documentation, will have to pay back US$10,525.

Hawa Goll – Kolchie and Dr. Michael P. Slewion both of Liberia’s education sector are also on the list and they are also ordered to pay over US$6,000.

Former Gender Minister, Varbah K. Gayflor, accused of paying conference hall rental fees not accounted for and misappropriation of funds intended for women organization’s allowance unaccounted for. She’s ordered to pay US$136,469.

Eight former staff of the National Elections Commission, including former Chairman James Fromoyan, who is ordered to pay over US$13,000, Commissioners John Langley,US$ 32,000 and Cllr. Elizabeth Nelson, US$10,000.

For the Roberts International Airport, Abraham T. Simmons, Alex Cuff, Jacob Corneh and Acarous Z. Nyenawo were also ordered to pay over US$35,998.

Six insurance firms are also on the list, some of which include International Insurance Company of Liberia, the African Insurance Company of Liberia, African Insurance Company and the Continental General Insurance.

Cllr. Koffa emphasized that those listed were required to make said payment into the Government of Liberia’s Restitution Account Number 1601002271 (LD) or 16020022869 (USD) at the Central Bank Liberia (CBL) within a period of 30 days.

But observers are pessimistic that the taskforce will affect the necessary action to ensure the former government officials restitute the money. Already, the taskforce has been criticized for spending a lot of taxpayers’ money without achieving the necessary impact as expected from the much publicized Sable Mining indictment.

On Monday October 17, Minister Koffa noted that a proof of payment into the coffers of the government should be presented to the offices of the Special Presidential Task Force on 19 Street in Sinkor and urged those who may have doubts about the process to contact the same office for further information.

“If those listed fail to make the payment or contact the offices of the Task Force, they will be referred to the LACC and MOJ for prosecution,” Cllr. Koffa said.

Some legal experts are arguing that some of the cases are long overdue their timeframe for prosecution since the audit reports were released during tenure of former Auditor General John Morlu.

Cllr. Koffa further noted that the exercise is done in fulfillment of the PAC’s mandate, which admonishes said agency to conduct further probe into all GAC reports and submit their findings to the office of the President for implementation.

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About Cholo Brooks 16111 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.