Charles Bennie Releases Evidence of Corrupt Practices

By Josephus Moses Gray

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

July 3, 2004

In a bid to press forth his charges of corruption against the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL), the accuser, Mr. Charles Bennie, the spokesman of the rebel Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and a senior official of the nation’s finance Ministry has released what he termed as documentary evidence to support his accusation of corrupt practices within the government.

According to a report confirmed by an official of the rebels group-LURD, Atty. Murphy Kanneh who is a former president of the students of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, Mr. Bennie, the commissioner of Customs and excise of the Ministry of Finance, on Wednesday presented his supportive evidence to the International contact Group on Liberia (ICGL), through its official representative to Liberia, Mr. E. K. A. Amoa-Awua.

Mr. Amoa-awua is the ambassador extra-ordinary and plenipotentiary of the Republic of Ghana to Liberia, but the office of the ICGL is yet to confirm or deny the Bennie receipt of the evidence. Similarly, the office of Chairman Bryant is yet to address itself to Bennie’s evidence, which implicates the head of the transitional government and some officials.

While we still await an independent authenticity of the Bennie’s documentary evidence, none of the appropriate agencies of government including the Ministry of Finance have even reacted to the document of corrupt practices.

According to the transitional government revenue analysis of November 2003 to May 2004 report, which has been reportedly released by Mr. Bennie and published in a local daily in Monrovia, the government has generated US$48,281.57 from revenue for the seven months period.

Recently, Commissioner Bennie told journalists in Monrovia that the Bryant’s government is generating about US$7,000,000.00 monthly and that he would not understand while the government has not restored some of the basic social services including safe drinking water, electricity, improved transportation, health and educational systems.

Commissioner Bennie who remains deterred in his accusation against Chairman Bryant revealed that the monthly revenue generation has been misapplied by the government to the detriment of the vast war weary and suffering people of Liberia while few guys enrich themselves.

Chairman Bryant sharply reacted to Commissioner Bennie’s accusation and mandated him to prove the allegation within the period of 48 hours time. The chairman also constituted a committee headed by Vice Chairman Wesley M. Johnson to probe Commissioner Bennie.

The Wesley Johnson committee extended an invitation to Mr. Bennie but he refused to appear on grounds that the executive mansion is not a courthouse where people go to produce their evidence.

It was the refusal of Commissioner Bennie that prompted Chairman Bryant to appeal to the ICGL for its intervention to force the accuser to produce his evidence of corruption in the government.

Apparently, due to the intervention of the ICGL, Mr. Bennie was obliged to produce his evidence, which still await authentication.

According to the documentary evidence, the government, for the month of November 2003, generated US$5,146,362.01; December 2003, US$7,985,521.76; January 2004, US$7,547,757.84; February 2004, US$7,076,968.68; March 2004, US$6,687,907; April 2004, US$8,155,118.63 and in May 2004, US$5,681,508.71.

The transitional government revenue generating sources are only based in Monrovia and its surroundings since areas outside the capital are still under the rebels control, as the government is yet to extend its authorities to other areas under the United Nations peacekeepers control.

According to the explanatory notes attached to the document reportedly released by Commissioner Bennie, the amounts include all revenue streams, customs cash collection, total revenue less customs, customs aggregate collection and total government revenue.

The amounts exclude the total of US$5, 500,000 received in grants from China, US$4,000,000.00 and Libya, US$1,500,000.00.

Meanwhile, in the face of these huge revenue collections for the seven months, the government is yet to address its obligation to provide basic social services and settle the salary arrears of civil servant. Government learning institutions, hospitals and transportation continue to operate at a very low level due to the lack of adequate government support.