Court Orders Arrest Of NEC Chairperson, Davidetta Brown Lansana For Corruption
As Liberia prepares for the holding of another historic 2023 general and presidential elections, the Judge of Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice, Ciapha Carey has with immediate effect yesterday, December 22, 2021 ordered the arrest of the Chairperson of the National Elections Commission, Madam Davidetta Lansana for corruption and others.
However, the arrest of the NEC Chairperson is yet to be implemented as information gathered by the GNN has revealed that Madam Lansana’s arrest orders has not been carryout by the court yesterday.
Early this month, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission recommended the dismissal of the National Elections Commission (NEC) Chairperson, Madam Davidetta Browne-Lansanah and the Head of the Procurement Committee of NEC for alleged corruption.
According to the LACC, the entire leadership of the NEC was subjected to a criminal investigation by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission surrounding a US$180,000 for 22 pieces of thermometers that were rented by the institution for the just ended By-Elections in four countries.
LACC Chairman Cllr. Edward Martin disclosed on December 15 that the NEC Boss and the head of the procurement committee were indicted by LACC criminal investigation for the alleged corruption.
Cllr. Edward Martin said that the NEC Boss reportedly confessed awarding the contract to her brother David Brown, Vice President for Operation of the Tuma Enterprise Incorporated during the investigation without disclosing her interest.
“During the investigations, Madame Dividatta Browne Lansana admitted and confirmed to the investigation that Mtotaling Brown, Vice President for Operations of TUMA Enterprises is her brother from the same father, while Arnold Badio, owner and incorporator of Tuma Enterprise Inc. is a brother to David Browne from the same Mother,” Cllr. Martins stressed.
Cllr. Martins said the National Elections Commission also awarded a certificate of completion to Tuma Enterprises 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.
The Anti-Graft Chief maintained that the NEC boss and the head of the Procurement Committee needed to be discharged of their duties, claiming that their action violates Chapter 1, Section 1 &3 of the National Code of Conduct for all public officials which amount to a conflict of interest.
The LACC’s recommendation was contained in its final investigative reports on the allegation of conflict of interest and financial improprieties into the procurement of the thermometers by the NEC.
However, the Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Madam Davidetta Brown-Lassanah, has described the recent pronouncement by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) indicting her and listed for prosecution for her alleged involvement in the procurement of goods and services from the Tuma Enterprises as false and misleading.
Madam Lassannah who termed her response as a “general response” because as of the time of speaking to the media yesterday, Sunday, December 19, 2021, the LACC has not served her any response. She explained that “on November 19, 2021, the LACC served her with letters of invitation to appear for investigation but before the ink could dry on the letter of invitation, the LACC sent it to local media and its Chairman later that day appeared on the Voice of America international broadcast to tell the World that the LACC had placed her under criminal investigation.
She said on the advice of her lawyers and out of respect for the LACC as another institution of government, she remained silent even in the face of the weekly prejudicial leaks by the LACC to certain local dailies claiming it had found criminal wrongdoing but was receiving political pressure concerning the investigation. She added that never before has such calculative and coordinated leaks been seen in the LACC’s investigative history.
She said she believes that an agency with investigative and/or prosecutorial powers is obligated not to make, condone, or cause to be made public statements the agency knows or should reasonably know has the likelihood of prejudicing a criminal matter or heightening public condemnation of the target of an investigation.
“Following its investigation, the LACC through its Chairman held a press conference on December 15, 2021 in which he told the public the LACC had completed its investigation, and then read out an outcome claiming we had made certain admissions of guilt during our appearance before the LACC. This is false and misleading. We appeared before the LACC with our legal counsels, submitted the requested documents along with written statements; at no time during the interviews did any of us ever make any admission of guilt as falsely stated during the LACC’s December 15th press conference.