(LINA) – Former Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai has said there could be hidden hands behind his recent indictment and the subsequent writ of arrest issued against him by the government.
He said the two actions instituted by the Asset Recovery Team are based on allegations that he spent huge sums of money outside the budget during former President Ellen Sirleaf’s regime when he served as Defense Minister for 12 years.
Samukai’s statement comes amidst posts on social media that the Government of Liberia and the Assest Recovery team have issued him along with two of his Deputies then a writ of arrest for allegedly stealing millions of dollars at the Defense Ministry during the Unity Party-led administration.
Speaking to a reporter from the Liberia News Agency (LINA) through mobile phone on Sunday, Samukai stated that he “didn’t steal a dime” nor use anything for himself but the indictment issued him stated that he spent outside the budget for the AFL, asking; “If I spent money for the AFL, is that a crime.”
“All our actions at the Defense Ministry were for the welfare of the soldiers and for them to accomplish their mission and national security imperatives,” he noted
“I think the government wants to get at me because they invited me twice to join the CDC and I refused, so now they just want to keep me in court,” Samukai stressed.
According to him, the indictment and writ of arrest in question are currently with his lawyer and when he returns to Monrovia from Lofa County on Monday, he will prove his innocence and if he is not guilty, the government will have him to contend with; though he did not say how.
Samukai further told the Liberia News Agency that the indictment is a bogus statement, and suggested that it came from “Janjaweed CDCians” who, according to him, “need to read the wordings and perimeters of the allegations in the indictment issued him.”
“I will prove my innocence. I didn’t steal a cent. I will fight this tooth and nail to clear my name. I have been quiet and now they have got me to contend with,” the ex-Defense Minister said.
He mentioned to LINA that the government is using this as a means to pull him down because he’s currently consulting with some elders of Lofa County as a possible candidate of choice for the 2020 senatorial elections.
“They think Lofa County can be bought for 30 pieces of silver….that’s not possible. We will defend ourselves in court,” he pointed out.
Samukai added: “The Government has just messed with the wrong person. I will use all what I have to fight for my innocence. I won’t take this easy.”
Before the exit of the Sirleaf-led government, Samukai acknowledged that the Defense Ministry under his leadership deposited US$2,062,160.14 deducted from the salaries of soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia under a compulsory pension benefit scheme.
He further said US$1,147,656.35 of the said amount was expended on soldiers’ welfare and that the money would be refunded to the soldiers of the AFL by the Government of Liberia in the next budgetary appropriation then.
His critics, however, believe it was not enough to just say government would refund the money, when in fact it had to take a couple of street protests by wives and widows of the soldiers to bring the issue to public attention, raising serious suspicions about accounts coming from the former defense minister.