Liberia’s Mining Minister Threatens to Resign Over Bribery Allegation If Proven Guilty

By Josephus Moses Gray
Monrovia, Liberia

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 7, 2004

Mr. Jonathan Mason, Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy in the Liberian transitional government has threatened to resign his post in the Liberian transitional government if proven guilty that he bribed MODEl to occupy the ministerial position.

Minister Mason threat comes in the wake of mounting accusations both at home and abroad that he gave the High Command of the second rebel group-Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) US$10,000 to bribe his way through in order to serve in the transitional government.

During the onset of the transitional government chaired by Charles Gyude Bryant, the belligerent groups including LURD, MODEL and former GOL – the main parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement - became flea markets for jobs: they traded several positions allotted them in the government, with what is considered total disregard of academic and professional qualifications. Those who had the cash took the day!

But it is yet to be established if Minister Mason is one of the several individuals who bribed their way through to serve in the transitional government - NTGL's mandate is to restore peace and stability to a nation devastated by the 14-year of bloody war that claimed about 250 lives, destroyed over billion dollars worth of properties, sent over 800,000 in internally displaced camps and 500,000 at refugee camps across the sub-region of West Africa.

“ Minister Mason both academically and professionally qualified to serve any position in the country”, a senior staff at the Ministry of lands, Mines and Energy said. Minister Mason first worked at the ministry as an Assistant and Deputy Minister under the Samuel Doe government and Minister under the Dr. Amos Sawyer government and now minister for the same ministry.

On may 6 at about 3:00pm, Minister Mason came into face to face with journalists at his well furnished office at the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy to address himself to several allegations reported in the local and international press.

In an uncompromising tongue, the Liberia’s mining minister said publicly he is challenging his accusers to prove him guilty of bribing his way into the government, adding that “ if that is proven”, he would resign from the government within 24-hour period.

He called on his accusers to meet with the leadership of MODEL, the warring party that nominated him in the government, to find out if indeed he bribed them as it has been alleged. But many believe that even if it is true, MODEL’s leadership will not confirm that Minister Mason did bribe them to nominate him.

Before being nominated, Minister Mason said the leadership of MODEL asked him to recommend several qualified names for the position for which MODEL was to select the best choice for the ministerial position. He, however, felt short to reveal the names of people he recommended for possible employment.

He stated that after MODEL interviewed all those he recommended, the faction requested that he also be interviewed, an invitation, according to him, he honored and was subsequently nominated.

But prior to Minister Mason nomination, employees of the ministry issued a press release in which they appealed to MODEL to nominate Mr. Mulbah Willie, now Deputy Minister, for the senior minister position.