Let me state for the record that my decision to come up with this rebuttal is not based on the fact that I support the CDC or its candidate, Mr. Weah, but I was an authority at the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Chairman of the Lone Star Finance and Ticketing Committee who was solely responsible for tickets reimbursement and other expenses regarding the National Soccer Team.
Messrs Sebwe and Sogbe, stated that Mr. Weah was a supported of Model; however, they did not present any tangible evidence except that MODEL was formed in Philadelphia, CDC originated from the USA before being established in Liberia and that over 95 percent of MODEL executives are staunch CDC supporters. This analysis in my opinion is faulty and has no basis because the accusers have not provided any proof under the law. The Weah, that I know, will not support any form of destruction against his people.
On the issue that Mr. Weah received more money than he spent is another attempt by the two former Lone Star players to tarnish the good reputation of Ambassador Weah, again, without any iota of truth or evidence.
What was interesting about their talk show was for them to state that Mr. Weah stole from the Lone Star by inflating the cost of his plane ticket. I dealt with the players directly regarding their refund and I can state the names of those players who attempted to cheat the Government with respect to tickets refund; and Mr. Weah was NEVER one of those. I know most of you my readers will be surprise to know that Mr. Jonathan Sogbe (Boye Charles) was the principle architect who tried on two occasions to steal from the Lone Star.
In either late 1998 or early 1999, Liberia played
Zaire in Monrovia and Boye Charles was invited by
the LFA to this match as one of the professional players.
After the match in Monrovia, he flew to La Cote D’Ivoire,
but did not return to Switzerland. About a month after
this match, Liberia was scheduled to play Togo in
Lome. He spent a month in La Cote D’Ivoire and drove to Lome for the game. He approached me upon our arrival in Lome on a Saturday that he wanted his ticket refund of $4,500 USD from Zurich to Abidjan for this game. I asked him for his ticket stub; he told me that he left it in Abidjan. I decided, as a matter of practice, to collect all of the ticket stubs, return tickets or receipts before disbursement. During this process, I was informed that Boye Charles did not return to Switzerland after the match with Zaire. Because of this information I decided to also ask each player for his passport in addition to the ticket stub, receipt or return ticket. After reviewing all of the passports, the only player who did not have a recent entry stamp into Abidjan in his passport was Boye Charles. The only stamp in his passport at the time was his arrival into Abidjan for the match with Zaire. There was also no departure stamp in his passport. I called a meeting in my hotel room of all professional players.
The basic problem was that I had less money than the amount players were requesting for refund. Everyone else had a receipt or return ticket, except for Boye Charles. The meeting lasted for nearly two hours and we looked in the passport of Boye Charles and could not find the stamp, but he kept insisting that the stamp was in his passport. I give him the passport to show me the stamp in the presence of his colleagues, but to no avail. Every professional player present including George Weah, James Debbah, Joe Nagbe, Kelvin Sebwe, Mass Saar, Jr. Oliver Makor, etc. can attest to this fact. After a long argument with Boye Charles all of the players left and I told Boye Charles that he had embarrassed himself in the presence of his colleagues. I told him that I understood his financial plait and all I could do for him was to give him $2000USD which he gladly received. My decision was based on the fact that there were times when we had problem with ticket refund and Boye Charles would tell me to pay the other player first and then pay him later and of course he would be paid.
My second encounter with Jonathan was in Monrovia. Liberia played a match in Monrovia, I don’t remember the exact time or country, but Boye Charles drove his jeep from Abidjan to Monrovia and requested $1000.00USD as refund. He came to my office along with his wife, Mrs. Tupee Sogbe, after the match for his refund. I told him that I was not paying this amount because I could not justify same. He presented me a call card from Mr. Edwin Snowe, Jr., then president of LFA with his Snowe’s signature. I refused to pay this amount and I told him that if he flew from Abidjan it will cost him $500.00USD round trip; he drove his own car why is he requesting $1000.00USD? He and his wife walked out of my office and I don’t remember him coming back to me. Mr. Snowe can attest to this as well.
I was also told, which Mr. Gray did not mention in his report, that Boye Charles stated that he spent $14,000USD in South Africa during the African Cup of Nations Tournament. Let me also state here for the record that one tournament that Liberia participated in that money was never an issue was the African Cup of Nations. The Government of Liberia at the time paid each player $2000.00USD for the 21 days we spent in South Africa. We did not buy any equipment because of the contract with Diadora. What did Mr. Sogbe spent this amount on? What did he buy for the National team? Who authorized this? There are more questions then answers. On this trip were Mr. Willard Russell, J. Sackie Kennedy, Joseph Davis, myself and the late Francois Massaquoi, of LFA and the Ministry of Youth and Sports respectively. All of the individuals mentioned with the exception of the late Minister can bear me witness. Boye Charles did not spend 14 cents in South Africa.
Amidst all of these misinformation that are going on against Mr. Weah regarding his involvement with the Lone Star, I am particularly disturbed that neither the LFA nor the past presidents of the LFA to include Messrs Willard Russell and Edwin Melvin Snowe, Jr. have said anything about this. You don’t have to be a supporter of Mr. Weah, but when it comes to soccer those of us in authority at the time know the fact. We are all aware of the huge financial contributions George made to the National team without being reimbursed, why should we sit back and allow Dionysius and Boye Charles to say things that are not true and the FA cannot say about this. This is not about partisanship, it is about someone doing all that he could for the game he loves to the extend that he committed his personal resources and today those who could not do what he did are saying worse things about him and the authorities are sitting supinely like a spectator.
In closing, if the LFA and the Ministry of Youth and Sports don’t recognize all that Mr. Weah did for the National Soccer Team and will allow lies and deception against him without comments, is indeed saddened; but I say to you George do not relent. I served the Government for five years and I do appreciate all that you did and I am of the conviction that if my former boss, Francois, was alive he would do exactly what I am doing today.