Tony Lawal Files Lawsuit Against GNN Publisher For Reporting ‘The Facts’

Joel Cholo Brooks, Publisher – GNN Liberia Online Newspaper

In its bid to vigorously expose individuals who find pleasure to rob the Liberian people of their resources under the pretext of providing services, the Chief Executive Officer of Praise Glory Lawal (PGL) Construction Company has filed a lawsuit against the Publisher of one of Liberia’s most informative online newspapers, www.gnnliberia.com, Joel Cholo Brooks for reporting facts surrounding how millions of United States Dollars paid to the PGL for the construction of the Brewerville/Bopolu road which is yet to be completed.

In its investigative report, with documents in the possession from the LACC, it was discovered that Tony Lawal and his company were being invited for him to properly give account of Five Million United States Dollars received for the construction of the Brewerville/Bopolu road, an invitation he reportedly rejected, and accordingly fled the Country to Nigeria.

LACC Letter to PGL

In its communication dated May 13, 2015, and addressed to the than Minister of Finance & Development Planning Ministry, Amara Konneh, a copy which is in the possession of GNN Liberia, said, “The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission is pleased to inform you of the ongoing investigation surrounding circumstances leading to the award of a contract to Praise Glory Lawal Construction Company valued at Five Million United Dollars.

The LACC communication signed by its Program Manager/Enforcement, Aaron Henry Aboah, and approved by the acting Chair of the LACC at the time, Cllr. Augustine Toe, said, “The Commission would also appreciate were you to stop all further payments to Praise Glory Lawal Construction Company pending the outcome of the investigation,” the communication warned.

With this warning given to the than Minister (Amara Konneh) by the LACC not to make any payments to Tony Lawal’s PGL, our source said this warning from the LACC was reportedly ignored by the current Minister of Finance & Development Planning, Boima Kamara who allegedly made the payment through the influence of a member of the first family, Mrs. Janet Bernard, elder sister of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

According to our investigation, to award of the road contract to Tony Lawal for the construction of the Brewerville/Bopolu road was reportedly done without a bidding process as required by the PPCC laws due to his relationship with what many believed ‘Big hands’.

GNN Liberia investigation further discovered that the amount from 3.5 million United States Dollars earlier agreed upon went up to 5.5 million United States Dollars, this action, according to our source drew the attention of Madam Antoinette Weeks who took over in 2013 after realizing this situation turned over the matter to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).

LACC Findings

Our source said it was during this period that at that time that President Sirleaf dismissed Minister Weeks and appointed Gyude Moore, “This was when the LACC wrote the than Minister of Finance, Development & Planning, Amara Konneh and a ‘CC’ copy was sent to Minister Moore. Minister Konneh earlier refused to pay on the contract until Minister Boakai Kamara took over as Minister in 2016 he was instructed to make payment on the road,” our source explained.

Our source said Minister Moore allegedly changed the contract from 5.5 million to 8.9 million United States Dollars, out of this amount (8.9 million) 5.7 million was allegedly paid to Tony Lawal for the road project despite of warning from the LAAC.

Our source further revealed that while the investigation was ongoing at the LAAC, upon the return of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from the United Nations in the United States, she allegedly called the Chairman of the LACC, Cllr. Jerome Verdier to her residence for a meeting.

After this alleged meeting with the LACC, our source said the following day LACC  agents who were on the case and were about to arrest Tony Lawal, Victor Smith and Minister Gyude Moore were ordered suspended by authority at the LACC with their vehicles impounded.

Letter from LACC urging that payment is not made to Lawal, yet Janine Johnson Bernard ensured payment was made from the Finance Ministry.

According to our investigation, the payment of One Million Nine Hundred Thousand United States Dollars for the rehabilitation of the Brewerville and Bopolu road project without submission of a bill of quantity to the Ministry of Public Works was paid to the PGL without delay following her intervention, despite an early call by the LACC.

During GNN Liberia investigation over the past weeks, after  taken up time to ply the route (The Brewerville/Bopolu Road) it was observed that the road reportedly rehabilitated by the PGL did not meet its required look, as the road has gone beyond accessibility, a situation that have compelled residents of the areas, especially those wanting to travel to Bopolu from Monrovia via the Brewerville route to use a detour, while commuters whose survival depends on business activities and others for the city center are also finding it difficult.

Several documents revealed how Tony Lawal, defrauded the Liberian government of millions, despite call by the Liberia’s Anti-Corruption Commission to stop the payments from the Finance Ministry, Lawal still got the money.

The road in question is still incomplete but Lawal siphoned more than $18 million U.S. dollars out of Liberia and the Liberian government, especially the Ministry of Justice, the LACC, Finance Ministry and the Public Works Ministry are all quiet.  These people enriched foreiner in an attempt to steal from their own people and country.  The Liberian senate and the House of Representatives are also quiet.

$18 million disappeared and laundered out of Liberia; road condition remains even more deplorable. Yet, no word from the Liberian government. The Minister of Justice is mute, Special Presidential Task is mute, LACC is mute and the president who says corruption is her number one enemy is dumbfounded.  According to Finance Ministry’s officials, Janine Johnson Bernard forced them to make the payments to Lawal.  In fact, she took delivery of the checks.

However, the Public Relations officer of Praise Glory Lawal Construction Company (PGL), Dominic Farley who early promised to address himself on the allegation regarding the CEO of PGL failure to complete road project paid for in the millions of United States dollars by the Liberian Government has failed.

Based on GNN Liberia reports regarding  Lawal’s efforts to continue to rob Liberia of millions, he took up time to file a lawsuit against the Publisher of GNN Liberia. But the management has vowed to robustly expose his dubious activities as its legal team says it is ready to battle with Lawal and his company.

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About Cholo Brooks 10844 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.