By Alva Mulbah Wolokolie
Former Internal Affairs Minister, Blamoh Nelson, has termed the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) Assets Verification Report –Phase II as irresponsible, malicious, faulty, treacherous, reckless and undeservedly defamatory and injurious to his reputation and the emotional wellbeing of his family.
Mr. Nelson has officially written the LACC challenging the conclusions in the report and promised that he will pursue the matter to its logical conclusion-vindication.
“Let me make myself clear; what the team has concluded and recommended about me will not stand. Without just cause, they have exposed me and my family to public ridicule and scorn and severely damaged my reputation,” Mr. Nelson told reporters.
On Thursday, October 4, 2013, the chairperson of the LACC, Cllr. Francis Johnson-Allison, read the report of the Commission’s Asset Verification Phase-II Team which says that the LACC has reservations about his declaration because of what they termed in the report as “questionable lump sum cash deposits”.
The objective of the verification exercise was to vet, verify and certify, as truthful or otherwise, declarations of some 77 public officials. The 77 officials were said to have been randomly targeted because of the size of the budget of agencies they control.
At a press conference held at the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) office yesterday, Mr. Nelson said he has requested the LACC Board of Commissioners to re-examine the information and the facts relating to his declaration and set the record straight.
The former Grand Kru County Senator explained that the LACC verification team did not verify anything. Mr. J. Bernard Nagbe and his team deliberately and consciously did not professionally analyze the documentary facts, responses and clarifications available to them with respect to his asset declaration during the exercise.
Nelson, a member of the Progressive and a political activist indicated that he was controlling the budget of the Ministry of Internal Affairs at the time when the verification exercise started.
In verifying his assets, Mr. Nelson said the team raised two queries: (1) omission of property listing in his asset declaration which was published in February 2012; and (2) how he earned lump-sum cash deposits he made to some of his accounts.
According to him, the team concluded that his responses and clarifications failed to address the query and that the omission is a case of unexplained and questionable wealth accumulation.
His challenge to the team was the real properties in question were indeed fully declared on schedule-B of his asset declaration form received and certified by the LACC on February 27, 2012.
“I acquired the properties long before February 2012. There is no way that the real properties in question can be cited as evidence of wealth accumulated while I served as Minister of Internal Affairs,” Mr. Nelson stated.
Concerning the lump-sum cash deposits, Nelson clarified that the team did not uncover anything; he gave them his bank statements and, it is on these statements that they have noticed or observed the deposits. He said the choice of word “uncovered” is a deliberate attempt to give the impression that he tried to conceal information which they uncovered through diligent investigation far from that. He added that the team is consciously trying to manipulate public perception about his integrity.
The LACC has been contacted to respond to the reaction of Mr. Nelson but the Public Relation Officer told the INQUIRER via mobile phone that he wanted to consult his bosses before speaking to the matter.