Attack on Liberia's Auditor General Deserves Swift Retribution
By: Theodore Hodge
Does this sound like a scene from a fictional script? Read further. If the fact that a government official of such high and legendary stature was attacked so publicly shocks you, consider the fact that his alleged attackers were ladies. Oh well, let's just call them women. Generally, in order for a woman to qualify as a lady, she should be of a high social position or economic class, as well as be refined, polite, and well spoken. Supposedly, these women failed the latter test. Their principal weapon of attack was profanity and vulgarity, although it is reported that they were purportedly ready to resort to physical violence against the gentleman.
In any civilized part of our world, this would be shocking; but the script gets uglier. The principal attacker, the ring leader of the rude bunch, is said to be none other but the Auditor General's Deputy. Yes, the Deputy Auditor General of the Republic of Liberia! She bears the name Martu Tubman.
More shockingly, her accomplices were apparently women of high stature, or more correctly, buffoons occupying positions of high stature. They were, according to the report, Ms. Mickey Jah, identified as Personnel Director at the Ministry of Finance and Ms. Maryann Foffung, Press Attaché to the Liberian Embassy in Senegal. Two highly placed government bureaucrats and a diplomat attacking another government official! As the legendary Don King would say, "Only in Liberia!"
The prudent reader is left wondering: "But where is the president? Where are the police? Where is the Justice Ministry? Is this a country of laws? Is this a civilized country where the rule of law prevails?" Do we know how many Liberians are having second thoughts about returning home to such insanity!
Over a week later the president has only ordered an investigation into the incident. The Auditor General has rejected any cosmetic approach to this serious incident, which has threatened his life. You must agree with him that the issue deserves swift and prompt action, which so far has not been forthcoming. After all, the incident did not occur once but twice. The women made another attack on the Auditor General when the ring leader, Ms. Tubman went to work the next morning and parked in the space designated for the Auditor General, although there is another spot designated for the Deputy Auditor General. She is said to have been publicly disruptive, threatening to do bodily harm to Mr. Morlu.
The president may be playing it safe by not promptly intervening into this matter, but then again, she may be sending the subliminal message that she is weak and inefficient and may not be in complete control of hoodlums running around characterizing themselves as government officials. Whatever the case, the president is doing herself considerable political damage by handling this matter in such an aloof way. After all, there is an old and tested axiom: "Justice delayed is justice denied."
Mr. Morlu is a valuable asset to Liberia. He is doing an important job. He may not be popular, but the country needs his services. He comes with unique credentials and qualifications. His loss will be Liberia's loss. The administration certainly does not want to paint such an ugly picture of itself: Trying to run a good man out of town, simply because he's doing a job for which he was hired. Corruption is the enemy, not John Morlu; a president presiding over such a fragile state that depends on the generosity of the international community should understand that… the world is watching.
To complicate matters, Mr. Morlu directly wrote the Liberian Senate to look into the matter at hand. This should have been an issue handled by the executive branch, since the alleged perpetrators were appointed by the president (I presume) and serve at her discretion. Or maybe the matter should have been handled by the courts, as a criminal matter. But somehow, in a unique Liberian sort of way, the matter ended up before the Liberian Senate. Oh, well…
Before the Senate, Mr. Morlu made a straight-forward and passionate plea: "Honorable Senators, I am really getting tired of attacks on my person and on the GAC as an important government institution on the frontline of accountability and transparency. It is not proper for anyone to gather a group of people to attack another official at a public event. I am, therefore, asking for your intervention to remedy this unfortunate situation, because we have a right to self-defense but I choose not to exercise such, because of respect for the National Legislature, The President and the Office of the Auditor General of the Republic of Liberia."
In a strange turn of events, a newspaper article reports: "Senator Findley of Grand Bassa County told the plenary that he has personal problem with the Auditor General for including his name in an audit of the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) as receiving a loan from the entity without repaying."
Senator Findley purportedly said: "This same Auditor General has used this legislature as a laughing stock in the past during budget debates and should not write this same body to complain about other people."
I've a simple message for the senator: "Grow up, chief. The Senate does not belong to you. The Auditor General was simply doing his job and should afford you no special privileges. You promised to uphold the laws of the country when you swore and took your oath of office. You have a duty to comply with the law in exemplary form. If you have a personal problem with the Auditor General, the honorable thing to do is to have yourself recused; but you have no right to sabotage this case."
It seems like the rest of the Senate is prepared to deal with the facts of this matter and render a judgment that will befit the circumstances. Again, let us remember that justice delayed is justice denied; no one is above the love, no matter their social connection… not even the president's friend