Defense Official Denies Recruiting

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

August 20, 2004


Assist. Defense Minister for Coast Guard Affairs, Johnson Leaman has denied a report that he is recruiting men to wage war in the sisterly Republic of Guinea.

Addressing a news conference yesterday, Minister Leaman said, “I was surprised when I got the news from the media that I am recruiting to subvert Guinea. I have never been a trouble maker all my life.”

Recently, a “General” of the former GOL militia, Junior T. Payzine told the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), that Minister Leaman ordered him to recruit mercenaries to launch an attack on the Guinean Government.

Payzine said Minister Leaman promised to give him US$25,000 if he carried out the recruitment of mercenaries.

However, Minister Leaman said the allegation is intended to tarnish his good reputation earned over the years.

Minister Lemah said, “I want to inform the public, the International Community including Liberia’s neighbors that I am not a troublemaker”

He said it all started when Junior Payzine brought a list of ex-combatants with the serial numbers of their guns, saying “Payzine wanted them to benefit from the disarmament and demobilization process.”

“I accepted the list and informed him that I was going to discuss the issue with Roland Duo and his deputy Sampson” Minister Leaman said.

The Coast Affairs Minister said at another time, Payzine came to his office and took a fellow’s name and promised that the fellow was to benefit from the DDRR program.

However, Minister Leaman told the news conference that after a number of days, the fellow informed him that Payzine had taken his DDRR benefit. “When I asked the boy as to how Payzine had taken his benefit when he himself was to disarm, the fellow said it was a deal,” Minister Leaman said.

Minister Leaman said when he inquired from Payzine, he showed him a list of 20 persons and said it was a deal

Minister Leaman then said, “I was surprised when I discovered my two sons names on the list along with another fellow, who is dead.”

Mr. Leaman said it was at that instance that he ordered Payzine detained for trying to dupe the United Nations Mission in Liberia(UNMIL) with a scam that can derail the disarmament process.

The Minister said while he(Payzine) was being taken to prison, he met one General Jeeplay and said he(Leaman) was sending him to jail because of his disarmament benefit.

“General Jeeplay without consulting me set him free and he went to the JPC with the false story that I want to recruit men for Guinea. It is a lie and misleading only to spoil my good name.” Minister Leaman said.

The Coast Guard Affairs Minister then displayed a copy of Payzine’s list of 20 persons whose DDRR benefit he might have taken.

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.