President Sirleaf:  Big Businesses Offer Bribes; Really?

By J. Yanqui Zaza

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

July 12, 2016



Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Sable Mining, Mittal Steel, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Firestone, etc., or predatory investors, as President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf called them, have and continue to offer bribes in order to amass wealth at the expense of society. Consequently, they reduce government’s resources to create, etc., jobs; thereby increasing income inequality, hatred, etc., according to David Kingston, the author of the book called "Free Lunch." However, using “Information Propaganda, they have shielded their identities as the thieves that drain government’s coffer.

Investors say bribes grease the wheels of business or they are the costs of doing business; efficiency, they argue, means limited law or less enforcement of regulations to prevent the violations of labor laws; good business environment means lower taxes; or small government, investors say is less corrupt, means to shift the ownership and management of electricity, water and sewer, education, or lucrative assets (diamond, gold, etc.) to profiteers.

Lawmakers are bad guys when they receive bribes from Mittal Steel. On the other hand, it was good for business, for example, when President Sirleaf, acting on behalf of Mittal Steel, gave a vehicle to each Liberian Lawmaker. It is a good economic decision for the government to abate taxes owed by Monrovia-landlords, I guess in exchange for political contribution, but government is inefficient when it finances projects in order to create jobs. Government pays excessive salaries to a privileged few in the name of fighting bribery, but ends up creating unsustainable appetite by exposing gullible advisers to expensive lifestyles; the perfect recipe to engage in corruption. Bribery prone government bureaucrats should not only be prevented from playing a significant role in digging and cutting diamonds, producing food, providing utility services, but should also reduce regulations, argue profiteers.

Oaky investors agree that bribery is bad and some countries have created a series of laws to fight bribery. America created the US Foreign Corruption Act in 1977; The Chinese created the Bribery Act in 1997; The United Kingdom created the Bribery Act in 2010, or the Russian created the Bribery Act in 2011. Liberia is now a member of the Club established to reduce bribery. Unfortunately, the content as well as the legal language makes it difficult for officers to reduce bribery. In fact, it might be difficult to prove bribery cases if a prosecutor cannot prove that there was a pro between the quid and the quo. More so, it is very rare that a prosecutor will find a written agreement, where someone says, I will pay you this bribe and you will do this favor for me.”

“Predatory investors,” during slavery, did not only get rich from slave labor, but they stated that slavery was a necessary order to prevent the slaves from self-destruction. But when the slave master wanted to enjoy North America’s resources, by declaring Independence, they excluded their slaves they promised to protect form self-destruction, according to Mr. Robert Parkinson. (NY Times, 7/4/16). He stated, “…separation from Britain was…about racial fear and exclusion,” and not “…about inalienable rights.” Preceding the slave era, the Roman Empire employed the “Information Propaganda War” to control the masses, according to an American scholar who is scheduled to appear in London to present a documentary. Mr. Joseph Atwill claims that the Roman Empire created Christianity as a propaganda exercise to exploit the poor.

If President Sirleaf is sincere in accusing investors as the purveyors of corruption, it would appear that the poor people are winning the “Information Propaganda War” and investors are losing it.” Adding his spiritual voice, Pope Francis has accused investors of promoting income inequality. So, are the two United Sates presidential candidates, Mrs. Hilary Clinton and Mr. Donald Trump who have both accused investors of being corrupt. The question is if investors are predatory purveyors of bribery or corruption, which is “Liberia’s enemy number one,” why is President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Commander-In-Chief since 2006, just identifying the real culprit of underdevelopment and income inequality? President Sirleaf has not only accused big business as “predatory purveyors of bribery or corruption, but has appealed to Mr. David Cameron, a leader of one of the countries that believes that bribery greases the wheels of business.

Is President Sirleaf, former employee of the World Bank, United Nations and a graduate of Harvard University, a victim of the “Information Propaganda War?” Or is she playing the blame game? If it is the former, she is not alone, according to Anup Shah of Global Issues. Paraphrasing an August 1996 U.S. Army Field Manual, he stated, Information propaganda is another warfare where truth is a casualty. In a warfare, he added, “the ‘good guys’ and the “bad guys’ can often both be guilty of misleading their people with distortion, exaggeration, subjectivity, inaccuracy fabrication, in order to receive support and a sense of legitimacy.”

Now, if President Sirleaf is not playing the blame game, then when did she have a change of heart about the identity of those who promote and offer bribery? Is President Sirleaf implying that investors such as Firestone, Exxon Mobil or Chevron did not offer bribes to Big Boy # 1 and Big Boy # 2 in exchange for the 66 flawed concessionary agreements out of the 68 signed by her Administration? Better yet, is President Sirleaf also implying that she is unaware of the history that investors’ greed resulted into the Tulip Madness in1637; the speculative Bubbles in 1716-1720; the economic depression in 1929 to 1940; and the 2008 financial crisis because of Wall Street speculative (gambling) transactions?  Hasn’t she read studies of Transparency International, which indicate that investors Exxon Mobil, Firestone, Mittal Steel, etc., offer bribes because they want higher profits? Well, deniability does mislead.

Certainly, President Sirleaf and the World Bank know that owners of lucrative businesses will always offer bribes in order to write flawed policies at the expense of communities; or offer bribes in order to relocate from a community with high labor cost into a community where there is cheap labor; or offer bribes to change policies in order to hire lower-wage employees; or offer bribes in order to enact policies that will shift economic power from local citizens into the hands of unpatriotic residents, etc.

A better remedy to reduce corruption and, or bribery is to minimize the individual profit motives, by increasing government role. But such an economic arrangement is adverse to the theory of higher profits for investors or anathema to the theory of massive accumulation of wealth by a privileged few, therefore, President Sirleaf and her allies, might pretend to fight corruption, but their economic principles do not support any measures that reduce profits for a privileged few. 

Kandajabab Zoebohn Zoedjallah
So, when she Ellen Johnson told Clemenceu Urey and his fellow NOCAL BOARD MEMBERS TO BRIBE LIBERIAN LAWMAKERS it was because according to her big companies engage in bribery! Or was it because she could get away with impunity viz her immunity from prosecution while still the president?
Kandajabab Zoebohn Zoedjallah at 07:01AM, 2016/07/12.
j. yanqui


Sir, thank you for your comment.

Your comment, I think, is focused on punishment. You are implying that
punishment might reduce corruption/bribery. However, punishing
government officials in Liberia for engaging in bribery/corruption
has not reduced corruption/bribery, if I may remind you and others.We have
killed three Liberian presidents (Edward James Roye, William R. Tolbert
and Samuel K. Doe) and one (Charles Taylor) is in jail for corruption.

Interestingly, those who offer bribes to Liberian officials in exchange for the country's resources are considered to be good investors or good business
people. Why? This is because business people (investors)and others who are seeking wealth at public expense want to continue such business arrangements. Without the connection of family/friends in positions of influence and limited engagement in offering bribes, they will not earn huge profits.

That is part of the reason why business people (investors) usually prefer crooks
to win political offices. In fact, in some cases, they search and finance the political campaigns of those candidates who are less patriotic and more corrupt. Such activities of investors or business people are not limited to Liberia. I am sure you are aware of the information that chief executives on Wall Street do finance the political campaign of American candidates who are willing to do favors for big businesses. I am sure you are also aware that chief executives do write many of the laws that affect their interest and the interest of the United States.

So, as long as individuals have the opportunity to make profits, they will offer bribes and encourage government bureaucrats to accept bribes in exchange of favors. Please read Mr. John Perkins's book called "The Confession of an Economic HitMan," if you have any doubts.

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