A report on the ongoing investigation of the National Chronicle Newspaper has uncovered what seems to be a ‘bad blood’ emerging between President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Vice President Joseph Boakai following reports about the formation of an interim government by a number of Liberians at home and abroad.
A police preliminary report has included three officials of the current administration who are needed to be questioned in connection with the formation of an interim government.
A leaked police document revealed the identities of the three officials including Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, former President of the erstwhile Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU) Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, who is current Chairman of the Governance Commission (GC) and Ambassador Company B. Wesseh.
In the August 14, 2014 edition, volume 21, number 119, the National Chronicle newspaper, quoting sources, reported the alleged formation of an interim government to be headed by Dr. James Teah Tarpeh.
On the basis of the paper’s publications, and a number of other articles critical of the government, the paper was shut down by government after armed police officers stormed the paper’s offices. Some of the paper’s employees were attacked and flogged by armed police officers.
The paper’s Publisher Philipbert Browne has been undergoing investigation. It is on the basis of the investigation and persistent calls by Liberians at home and abroad for the resignation of President Sirleaf that appears to have prompted the investigation of the three officials, including the country’s number two man, Joseph Boakai.
According to the leaked document dated September 3, 2014, addressed to Justice Minister Christian P. Tah by Police Director Chris Massaquoi, “I Present my compliments and submit herewith copy of a status report on the ongoing investigation of the National Chronicle Newspaper and its publisher, Mr. Philip Brown, in which the newspaper carried stories in its 14 August 2014 edition, volume 21, number 119 as found on pages 1, 8 and 9 of said publication, alleging the formation of the interim government headed by Dr. James Teah Tarpeh.”
Continuing, the letter added: “In those stories, the paper named the progenitors of the said interim government among whom are three (3) senior government officials: Hon. Joseph N. Boakai, Vice President/RL, Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, former President of the erstwhile Interim Government of National Unity and current Chairman of the Governance Commission (GC) and Mr. Commany B. Wesseh, Ambassador At Large.
Concluding, the Police Director said in view of the naming of these senior government officials by the paper, and in order to fast track the investigation, the Liberia National Police (LNP) would like to speak with them and requested the assistance of the Ministry of Justice in this regard.
The Police Director’s letter also indicated that the LNP would engage other high profile individuals who the paper linked to the issue. The other high profiled individuals were not named in the leaked document.
According to the leaked document, the police is using the investigation of the Chronicle newspaper to suggest that Vice President Boakai had dissenting views about President Johnson Sirleaf or he had serious discussion with President Barack Obama and may have made some derogatory comments about the president during his recent visit in Washington, D.C., where he represented Liberia at the U.S-Africa summit.
Further, the document stated that the police would probe into call by a group “Liberian Leadership Forum” that is calling for the resignation of President Sirleaf, allegedly sanctioned by western powers and headed by Dr. James Teah Tarpeh is to create an interim government of National Unity with the duration of two years and with a mandate to clean up the mess caused by President Sirleaf and have free and fair elections.”
Sources closed to the Vice President’s Office declined to comment when contacted. However, a police source said when the investigation begins, the Vice President will not go to the LNP headquarters for questioning, but would be served with questionnaires to assist the police.
In recent time, some Liberians at home and abroad have been calling for the resignation of President Sirleaf. However, in reaction to the calls, Madam Sirleaf, in a live television interview with UNMIL Radio at the weekend, categorically stated that she would remain in office until her tenure expires.
The President said she will not resign and would turn over the affairs of state to the next elected President in January 2018.