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--Over Veep Boakai’s Probe

cbcThe administration of the Liberia National Police (LNP) has clarified that contrary to media reports, the LNP is not in any way investigating the Vice President of Liberia Joseph Nyumah Boakai.

However, the LNP said while it is true that the police are conducting a number of investigations, including the National Chronicle newspaper’s allegation on the formation of an interim government, the Vice President is not included in any probe

The Justice Ministry, in a statement said Ambassador Boakai is not under investigation; instead, the Ministry was aware that the Director of Police, Col. Chris Massaquoi had planned to visit the Vice President to get his reaction to the report in the National Chronicle newspaper that he and others had discussed the formation of an Interim Government to replace the Administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The clarification followed a denial on Tuesday by Director Massaquoi in a VOA interview after a number of local dailies had published the investigation of the vice president story on Monday.

Mr. Massaquoi said Vice President Boakai was not under investigation for being part of an alleged effort to form an interim government overseas and that a status report had been sent to the Ministry of Justice.

But a letter dated September 3, 2014, addressed to Justice Minister Christian P.  Tah, signed by Police Director Chris Massaquoi read: “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. Philipbert 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.”

Massaquoi’s 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 named in the status report include former Auditor General, John S. Morlu, business-politician Benoni Urey, and Cllr. Charles Brumskine, the Political Leader of the opposition Liberty Party, among others.

 According to the status report, specifically the Case Background, the police are reportedly using the investigation of the Chronicle newspaper to suggest that Vice President Boakai had dissenting views about President Johnson Sirleaf  during his discussion with President Barack Obama or may have made some derogatory comments about the Liberian leader during his recent visit to Washington D.C., where he represented Liberia at the U.S., Africa forum.

Quoting the status report, the police said “that a group called the Liberian leadership forum 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 with a mandate to clean up the mess caused by President Sirleaf and have free and fair elections.”

Amid these developments, Col. Massaquoi has not denied that he wrote the Justice Ministry requesting the assistance of the ministry to speak with ‘three senior administration officials’ mentioned in the September 3 letter in connection with the formation of an interim government.

Some administration officials have confirmed that the signature seen in the letter published in local dailies is that of Col. Massaquoi. Moreover, legal experts say it is a violation of the law and the rights of Vice President Boakai to be mentioned or ask to answer questions based on an investigative report.

Political observers believe that the ongoing investigation could trigger tension and distrust in the administration of President Johnson Sirleaf. One political observer who preferred anonymity said the Vice President is being treated unfairly in this matter.

The Executive Mansion has so far remained mute on the development. However, it is not known whether President Johnson Sirleaf mandated the Justice Ministry and the LNP to investigate the three senior government officials including her deputy Joseph Boakai, who are allegedly linked to the formation of an interim government.