CDC's Statement Presented To The US Government
CDC Members On Hunger Strike
After three days of Hunger-Strike, a difficult, but necessary revolutionary act of self-denial & pains inflicted to draw attention to the reign of corruption in our country, we extend profound thanks for your tolerance to let us gather in the shadows of your embassy.
Living in a country endowed with the abundance of diverse natural resources, the tragedy of hunger affecting millions of families stretched across cities, towns and villages lacking pipe-borne water and electricity, we count ourselves lucky to afford food we're now rejecting in order to dramatize the 'Clear and present danger' of endemic corruption, a threat to peace we starve to divert.
Though we stand at your doorsteps, the gateway of freedom and democracy to the world, we yet mourn the untold sufferings of fellow citizens who are denied the right to daily food while the barnyards of corrupt officials overflow with the proceeds of waste, fraud and abuse of power.
This wanton insensitivity of greedy policymakers is so routinely entrenched that concession deals are too often negotiated to compromise the benefits of the ordinary workforce to enrich the already rich and powerful.
Our country is at a crossroad, faced with the options of sitting supinely and watching democracy crumble under the weight of intrinsic corruption, or rise to the task of fighting for the rights and privileges of ordinary citizens; mothers and fathers who oftentimes have no choice but subject their values and pride to unconventional means to feed the family; irrespective of the consequences, we choose the latter and shall keep fighting for the collective interests of the poor and needy, who thrives as better citizens when public officials are held to the standards of accountability.
The new history of our nation documents the horrible tragedies of vibrant anti-corruption voices, the likes of Attorney Michael Allison, Hon. Harry A. Greaves, and Madam Ellen Cockrum, who were either found dead on the beaches for speaking out too loudly, or chased into exile for exposing too deeply. That the poor whistle-blower is buried with impunity while the crook and corrupt wins every re-election with ill-gotten wealth constitutes the heinous tragedies of the new Liberia we rise to confront.
Hence, we are here today because the Mighty Congress for Democratic Change believes recent reports of the allegations of corruption as uncovered by Global Witness, could be a just a tip of the iceberg exposing the shady deals of the Chairman of the ruling Unity Party, Cllr. Varney Sherman, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Alex Tyler and their accomplices operating in the different spheres of government.
By far worse, these revelations narrate a much bigger institutional problem, not just a government-laden moral collapse, but demises the moral pillars of the Unity Party, an institution that breastfed the growth of a party of fraud and abuse in a system that bears no meaning for the poor and needy.
It is a little coincidence that the present leadership of the Unity Party and subsequently the government of Liberia, is a product of systemic corruption borne out of greed and opportunism.
Despite what appears to be the preponderance of evidence, it is interesting to witness how those elected at the last Unity Party convention, where the party's Chairman and some of its most powerful Lawmakers who netted over $300,000.00, are attempting to change the narratives of the true happenings and are now trying desperately to give the appearance of a clean-up.
Yet, Liberians are painfully aware that the identities of two well-positioned pillagers of the nation’s resources (“Big Boy 1” and “Big Boy 2” ) remain undisclosed, clearly suggesting that no one in government is above suspicion.
Moving forward as we make strives to decode the 'Big boys' mystery, we congratulate our Political Leader, Sen. George M. Weah for being the first to publicly assert that the Special Presidential Task Force setup to inquire into the Sable Mining scandal, was ethically handicapped and unsuited for the investigation.
It is worthy of note that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has since followed suit by shifting the responsibility of that Committee to Statutory institutions of government, namely the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission and the Ministry of Justice.
Furthermore, a few weeks earlier, Senator Weah had called for an internal investigation of a party member who is alleged to be linked to acts unbecoming of a public official. His (Sen. Weah) call was one borne out of moral and ethical necessity, a great commendable practice of leadership unmoored from any form of external influence.
We wish it were possible for our government to do the same, yet we are not so naïve to imagine this regime and its structures are determined to muster the courage and moral will to truly confront rising improprieties and graft. As we present, hundreds of reports remain idly filed, while others are being thrashed and deliberately compromised.
Additionally, despite a detailed communication submitted before its Chairman and Board of Commissioners, the National Elections Commission of Liberia is yet to begin proceedings that we believe, could establish a clear verdict of guilt against the ruling Unity Party (extorting a foreign firm as contained in the Global Witness' report) for violations of the electoral reform laws, punishable by a revocation of its certificate. We look forward to this hearing in a timely and expedient manner.
Therefore eager to see the end of all manners of impunity in our country, and solidly desirous of seeing prudent and timely political measures taken against corrupt officials of government, we have encamped outside your diplomatic premises for 'Three days' looking to call your attention to the following measures we have recommended to our government as the best methods of justice and accountability in the revealed Global Witness' bribery scandal;
1. That all accused (without fear or favor) in the Global Witness' uncovered corruption scandal, be investigated & prosecuted.
2. That all Officials of Government named in the Global Witness' report, to include the Speaker of the House of Representatives, recuse themselves from positions of influence and conflict of interests until full investigation and prosecution is concluded.
3. That individuals named in all officially documented acts of corruption (outside the Global Witness' publication) be equally investigated and prosecuted, expeditiously. .
Lastly, permit us appreciate recent statements on the Global Witness' report by Ambassador and now Asst. Secretary of State/African Affairs, Amb. Linda Thomas Greenfield, whose eloquent intervention provides a depth of inspiration to our current efforts for transparent justice in the Global Witness' unraveled scandal?
We are by far more grateful to President Barrack Obama and the U.S. Government for continuously driving a robust agenda to stem corruption around the world and hold to account those who exploit the public’s trust for private gain.
In total agreement with President Obama, 'Preventing corruption preserves funds for public revenue and thereby helps drive development and economic growth.
By contrast, pervasive corruption siphons revenue away from the public budget and undermines the rule of law and the confidence of citizens in their governments, facilitates human rights abuses and organized crime, empowers authoritarian rulers, and can threaten the stability of entire regions. The United States views corruption as a growing threat to the national security of our country and allies around the world.'
We deeply celebrate the global leadership of the United States on anticorruption efforts since enacting the first foreign bribery law, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977. We are also cognizant that the United States was a leader in developing fundamental international legal frameworks such as the UN Convention against Corruption and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an Anti-Bribery Convention and the rest of the global architecture for international legal cooperation in areas such as asset recovery and denial of entry.
Therefore, owing to your historic anticorruption leadership worldwide, and your selfless pledge to help stand with your allies and the international community to fight corruption, which has been tagged a transnational crime by a legislation passed by President Obama, we crave the assistance of the United States government to conduct additional and extensive investigation into the domestic and international financial dealings of all individuals named in the Global Witnesses' scandal.
These alleged masterminds of a criminal network of bribery, being senior officials of government, may have also been indulged in the habitual siphoning of international donor goodwill to Liberia, gestures made possible by taxes paid by citizens of the United States and other members of the international community.
As you continues to take actions to prevent the U.S. legal and financial systems from being exploited by those who engage in, or launder the proceeds of corruption, we plead with you to work with key allies and partners, including in the Open Government Partnership, the G-7, the G-20, and the OECD Working Group on Bribery, to improve transparency, integrity, and accountability in Liberia.
In conclusion, and that Liberia being a traditional ally of the United States, which accounts for more than 50% of all donor spending on Liberia's recovery, we seek your assistance in the following anti-impunity measures;
1. Hold responsible the named individuals and branches of government here involved in bribery, and tolerate or commit corrupt practices in contravention of international norms;
2. Deny U.S. entry to all individuals named in the Global Witness' bribery scandal and take steps to hold accountable those with U.S. citizenship once they step on American soil;
3. Freeze any foreign account of the named and accused individuals while investigation and prosecution is ongoing.
We believe these actions, when taken will help in Liberia's anti-corruption campaign, promote transparency, and help stem corruption worldwide.
Muyan! Muyan!! CDC Muyan!!!