In her historic book ‘Lifted Up’ former first lady, Victoria Tolbert lamented and highlighted the enormity of deceits, hypocrisy, double dealings and above all, the outright betrayal of her husband, President Tolbert by his trusted officials and aides. She further recounted how on several occasions and intervals she informed the President of intelligence that borders on threat to his life which was brought to her attention by well wishers, family members, and a host of strategic officials of his Government with extensive connections including high profiled members of the Progressive elements, most of whom did not have the opportunity to meet the President, but saw her as a perfect conduit to apprise him of the impending danger. According to her, whenever she revealed said information to her husband, he would brand it as farfetched, and noted that his trusted officials would not dare do such a thing to him.
As I read and listened to the press conference of Counselor Christiana Tah when she announced her resignation from the Sirleaf led Unity Party Government as Minister of Justice and Attorney General, a position she held for six years without any substantial merit and legacy to pinpoint, I couldn’t stop myself from uncontrollable laughter as I was clearly stunned by the sheer hypocrisy of her uncharacteristically porous revelation adduced which she said informed her resignation. Then again, I began to understand the unrelenting and hardened efforts that several behind the scenes personalities play and if you may, assisted in penning the thoughts as expressed in her statement which lazily attempted to tread unto forbidden paths and trespassed on dangerous grounds. Although mostly distorted of reality, and glossed with a flash of subterfuge or a combination of both, reasons given were all intended to deceive the gullible public by creating a caricature of the president as undemocratic.
After I regained my composure of uncontrollable laughter, I began to reflect on the exigencies of the former first lady book, and thereafter took a cue from the headlines and commentaries of our local dailies, some of which headlined “Rhetoric President” says Former Justice Minister.
Counselor Christiana Tah as Justice Minister was widely believed to be the second most powerful woman in the UP led Government besides Madam President. That is why allegations outlined in her press statement which heralded her resignation are indeed serious, and therefore needs to be analyzed critically.
The statement did not only seek to do damage to the President, but it also brought into question the value system of all of those who worked in her administration for years, including Minister Tah herself. To work and gave legal addictives, and advice to most of the actions of the President required the congruence of the inner workings of the souls. There has to be some similarity of the thought processes of those who conjoin or worked together. Whenever and wherever there is a divergence of interests and perspectives, friendship and cooperation cannot subsist. This is why it is said that “birds of the same feathers flock together” The statement of rhetoric must therefore be reviewed from a broader perspective. It beats my imagination to see most of the gifted politicians, and legal minds the country has ever produced included in the rank and file of this administration under the leadership of a woman who is professed to play rhetoric when it comes to the rule of law. To take the argument a bit further, let us sink down to the level of animals. Psychologists tell us animals that are adopted my humans to abode in their homes soon take upon themselves some characteristics of humans. This can be proven by the actions of dogs, cats, horses and other domesticated animals that behave in manners far removed from their beastly nature. To turn the argument around, stories abound of many persons who abide in the company of animals for long periods of time ultimately began to act like animals. King Nebuchadnezzar and Benjamin Gunn are two famous examples of such. Thus if Madam President professed adherence to the rule of law is based on rhetoric, then Counselor Tah who served in the position as Justice Minister for six years, the longest at that Ministry in this Government cannot be any better, and in fact, the most culpable. For it is said he who lived among animals for long soon become worst than the animals.
Anyone who condemned and criticized others and want people to take them seriously would firstly spell out their concrete and variable achievements as compared to those criticized, and condemned. But with Counselor Tah, her achievements at the Ministry of Justice is not worthy of enumerating because in so doing, the negatives will surpass the positives in proportions of astronomical magnitude. Despite the glaring reality that Liberians have transcended the act of blame shifting which make people to gain relevance, Counselor Tah continue to delude herself into believing that the louder she chattered, no matter how empty and twisted her rants, she will command sympathy from the Liberian people and her dismal performance at the Justice Ministry will not be highlighted, but rather forgotten. Such is the case of a miserable performer blabbing about the rule of law and seeking relevance the wrong way.
I would never have commented on Minister Tah’s so-called resignation were allusions contained in her Press Statement were not intended to twist reality and do a monumental injustice to the presidency. Clearly her analogy is just another veil insult in the series of invectives, endless tirades and misguided shots against the President by one of her closest, and trusted aides, this time cloaked in the usage of useless phrases characteristic of a frustrated and desperate personality who became disappointed along the pathway because her domineering will was checkmated. Therefore, in this regard, such imaginaries and a twist of reality required a serious response.
My intent of this piece of work is simply to unveil Counselor Christiana Tah to the Liberian People who are the grand jury of public conscience to be the ultimate judge thereafter. And certainly, in an emerging democracy like ours where freedom of expression is the fulcrum, the people’s sentence is the final. Interestingly, by openly spewing tirades against a sitting President by one of her trusted officials without any backlash shows that democracy is finding its own way into the epicenter of our nascent political dispensation and highlights the tolerant disposition of Madam President. A situation Counselor Tah pales in comparism.People who don’t know who the real Counselor Christiana Tah is will buy her moribund assertion as contained in her Press Statement, and consider it worthy of an iota of a pinch of salt. I am convinced, however that there are several level headed Liberians out there who can read between the lines and derived at a well informed conclusion. For those who don’t know her, to them I write this piece to firstly unmask a woman garb in behind the scene of several dirty schemes and antics to get even with colleagues and other officials of Government through subterfuges and auxiliaries, using the trust and confidence reposed in her by the President as a shield and weapon. And secondly to remove the veil of incompetence, treachery, vindictiveness, betrayal, deceit and corruption perpetuated during the pursuit of her career, and other professional endeavors.
Born of modest parents, her mother hailed from Cape Mount County, and father from Maryland. She grew up on Benson Street at her family residence situated at the rear of the DSTV Office, adjacent to the Mosque. Attended and graduated from the Ricks Institute, a Baptist boarding school located in Virginia, outside of Monrovia. She attained a MA degree in Sociology/ Corrections, from Kent University in Kentucky, USA, a LLB and LLM in law from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, in Monrovia, and the prestigious Yale Law School respectively. At Yale, she majored in International Financial Transactions. She is married to Dr. Tah, a gynecologist, and almost twenty years her senior. The union is blessed with two children, a young lad, of less significance to society, and a budding young lady who is a caricature of her mother’s dual personality.
President Tolbert appointed her as Assistant Justice Minister for Corrections and Rehabilitation amidst heightened political unrest and tension in the country. The incarceration of student activist, and opposition Leaders were the order of the day. Her statutory responsibility was to administer the affairs of the prisons, and ensure that inmates are secure and protected.
One notable case tested her resolve and exposed her incompetence to public glare. In 1978, a Lebanese businessman strangled to death Edward Gberrie, a university student working in his store for allegedly eating a bar of candy from the supermarket located on Center Street. After the death of Gberrie, the Lebanese was incarcerated, and imprisoned at the South Beach Prison Compound awaiting trial. A day thereafter the Lebanese was released by a prison guard who said he acted upon the authority of the Assistant Minister for correction, his boss, Christiana Tah. When the news got to Justice Minister Oliver Bright, he expressed shock and indignation at Christiana for taking such a rash decision without his authorization. She was rebuffed and warned. The release heightened political tension with both MOJA, and PAL calling for the resignation of the justice Ministry officials culpable in the release of the alleged culprit and to speedily bring to Justice the Lebanese. Embarrassed by the episode, President Tolbert vowed to execute a change in the justice system to restore public confidence. See (Vol. 4 No. 18 October 16, 1978 edition of the Liberian Inaugural).
The April 14, 1979 rice riots occurred few months thereafter. Its rippled effects tore the body polity and the fabric of the Liberian society apart. President Tolbert subsequently dismissed the Minister of Justice Oliver Bright for his inability to ably administer the affairs of the office. He was succeeded by Counselor Joseph J. Chesson. Counselor Tah survived, and stayed on, but was reassigned in the office of Robert C.Tubman who served at the time as Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs. Subsequent to the Rice Riots, a year thereafter on April 12, 1980 The People’s Redemption Council (PRC) seized power, and overthrew the TWP Government of which she was serviceable.
Shortly after the 1980 coup, she enrolled at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law. After graduation with a GPA of 2.1, she was recruited as a Junior Law Clerk by the Maxwell and Maxwell Law Office located in the Providence Building on Randall Street, and headed by Counselor Christian Maxwell. Her principal responsibility was to write appellate briefs. A position befitting and commiserate with the GPA attained at the Law School. On several occasions she defaulted on task assigned, as her colleagues at the time some of whom including Counselors Varney Sherman, and Margaret Massaquoi whom she usually sought assistance would turn her down based on their own work load.
An important criminal case which involved a Sudanese Refugee and a Syrian businessman was assigned her to analyze and research the applicable law and be submitted in two days. Sensing danger ahead, and knowing how infuriated her boss became with her when an earlier assignment was delayed, she solicited outside assistance from a young and brilliant lawyer name John Teewia. Unknowing to her, Teewia had being contracted by Counselor Roger Steele of the Steele and Steele Law Chambers situated at the corner of Front and Randall Streets, in the Mamarinda Building as head of litigation. As fate would have it, and unfortunately for her, Teewia was given similar assignment she requested his assistance. Counselor Steele was the Defense Counsel, and Counselor Maxwell was the Counsel of the Plaintiff for the same case. In those days during the late seventies, and early eighties both law firms, Maxwell and Maxwell, and Steele and Steele were rivals. Both saw each other as nemeses. Cases that Steele and Steele refused, Maxwell and Maxwell accepted, and verse versa. Such was the situation at the time when Counselor Tah’s incompetence was exposed again and brought to the limelight.
Caught in the utopia to win admiration, and accolades from her boss who had earlier rebuffed her for lacking knowledge and the nuances of the legal profession, and basking with the thought of boasting thereafter to other junior colleagues, including Counselor Varney Sherman, of her success despite seeking outside assistance, Teewia on the other hand saw a glorious opportunity to win on behalf of his firm, accolades at Christiana’s expense since that was his first assignment. Teewia did assist in writing the analysis, but without any material substance and supportive evidence to corroborate the facts of the case. Maxwell eventually lost the case under review.
After dismally performing at Maxwell and Maxwell, she was shown the exit. Shortly thereafter, Robert C. Tubman was appointed Minister of Finance. He hired her as his Special Assistant. As mentioned earlier, both worked at the Ministry of Justice prior to the 1980 coup. Shortly after President Doe assumed the mantle of leadership in 1986 as Civilian President, he sought to incorporate professionals from diverse background and persuasions to give his administration a national flavor, and international appeal. Mr. Tubman fitted in the new dispensation as he was regarded as a top notch economist and banker of international repute, having served as Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Liberia, and Managing Director of The Ecowas Fund based in Lome, Togo.
As Special Assistant there were several administrative lapses that occurred almost daily. Sensitive financial documents were misplaced, and there were stories appearing in the media of daily happenings within the office of the Minister. She once upon a time sneaked to the press a call card of her boss where he wrote on the back and directed Comptroller General Wallace Powell to make a substantial payment of USD $453,538.88 dollars to the Standard Stationery Store on Broad Street. See (Suntimes Vol.3 NO. 72 Wednesday, November 11, 1987 edition).
One notable episode occurred which has placed a dent on Mr. Robert Tubman’s professional career, and is currently haunting him today has to do with the mysterious disappearance of 2.5 million USD from the coffers of the National Bank. The disappearance was attributed to Minister Tubman which he admitted, but termed as ‘human error’. Little did Minister Tubman know that his Special Assistant was assisting him specially by siphoning sensitive documents to the press and to the 17 Americans Experts known as OPEX, through a Ghanaian computer operator known as Michel Amanoo. When President Doe received the information, he became so disappointed but vowed to honor the recommendations of the American Experts to have the hierarchy of the ministry replaced. See ( Vol. 5 No 185 Tuesday March 12, 1987 edition of the Mirror Newspaper), and ( Vol. 2 NO. 2 July 1987.CO-CO-LEO-COO, Liberia Action Party Newsletter).Tubman was subsequently replaced as Minister of Finance, and appointed Labor Minister on March 27, 1987 replacing John Mayson, while he was succeeded by John Bestman.
President Doe took to the liking of the Tubman brothers because his maternal uncle, Ray Thomas (Father of former SATU Commander Moses Thomas), worked diligently as overseer of William A. Tubman (Bob Willie),father of Winston and Robert Tubman rubber plantation located in Pleebo, Maryland County. Bob Willie assisted Ray Thomas to build a modern concrete house thereby enabling him to live decently. As a manifestation of the kind gesture to his uncle, President Doe reciprocated similar kindness to Bob Willie by assisting his children, especially Winston and Robert, both of whom considered (Ray Thomas) their uncle. Both were appointed to ministerial capacities notwithstanding their solid academic qualifications and experience.
Her exit from Finance became inevitable as Minister Bestman couldn’t work with her as his Special Assistant neither could she follow Tubman at Labor. She subsequently served in a nominal assignment, and later left the ministry and absconded to America.
The 1990 war provided opportunity to she and other Liberians who took advantage to seek refuge In America. She did menial jobs and subsequently got employed as a lecturer at Montgomery College, a little known community learning outfit located in Rockville, Maryland, where she taught Sociology for five years 2005-2009, and was rated incongenial based on her poor human relations to students and faculty members alike.
After the death of Associate Justice Emmanuel Wureh, the quest for more female participation in government became imperative especially judging from the inroads made by madam President nationally, and internationally. Several prominent personalities closer to the corridors of power prevailed on the President to consider appointing her on the Supreme Court Bench to increase the number to two, in addition to Justice Wollokollie.
Despite several opposition to her appointment by radical stalwarts of the Unity Party, and others indicating that she was inexperience for such undertaking, feminine passion got the better part of madam President as she wanted to provide opportunities for educated Liberians abroad especially women to serve in her administration as incentives for others to return home and also as a process of reconciliation and inclusion. She was therefore nominated to succeed the late Justice Wureh.
At the confirmation, she exhibited an unfriendly and hostile disposition towards the Lawmakers, some of whom are experience legal practitioners who also viewed her as inexperience for the job. For example, Counselor Cherue wanted to know how long she practiced law in Liberia either as a plaintiff or defense counsel at the level of the Supreme Court. What was the nature of the case if she did practiced, and why should she be confirmed? These questions infuriated and angered her so much that in response, retorted with arrogance indicating that she is not in search for a job. “I was living comfortably and had a good job in America” she boasted. According to her the only reason for accepting the nomination was to make sacrifice for Liberia that is in a dire need for someone of her caliber and qualification. ‘As I look amongst all of you in here I don’t see anyone who is equaled to me in terms of academic qualification and cumulative experience’ was her answer as to the reason she should be confirmed. When asked if there was anything to say finally, she insinuated that nobody should harbor the expectation of receiving a dime to have her confirmed. The Lawmakers saw her insolent address to them as an insult and affront to their integrity, and therefore voted unanimously to reject her for incompetence, image problem, and poor human relations. See (Vol. 13 No. 43 Monday, May 30, 2008 edition of the Heritage)
Licking her wounds from the shock received from being rejected, she didn’t returned to America as was expected, but rather stayed around to explore other opportunities which presented itself a year later when Counselor Philip A.Z. Banks opted to retire and take a less demanding job which borders on legal research, his passion and specialty. The President consented and appointed him Chairman of the newly legislated Law Reformed Commission. This presented another glorious opportunity and paved the way for her. Again, based on interventions by some of her colleagues in the corridors of power who sought to bring her back in government, including Counselor Varney Sherman who had become Chairman of the Unity Party based on their fraternity at the Maxwell and Maxwell Law Office prevailed on the President to give her another trial. The President consented, and nominated her as Justice Minister. That was where the President made a cardinal mistake.
Fearing a second rejection, and as a means of softening the grounds prior to her second appearance at the Senate, she sought the assistance of some prominent lawyers who had links with influential members especially those of the Judicial Committee to lobby on her behalf. She even met the most fiery, and vocal Senators on June 24, 2009, in Sinkor at a private abode provided by a two time former Presidential Aspirant in a bid to moderate their stance against her at the confirmation hearings. Once that was done and the stage set she appeared for confirmation. With humility, an apology was firstly rendered for previous suggestive arrogant posture in 2008. Sitting caged like, she promised a harmonious working relations with every branch of government in the execution of her duties. The Senate subsequently confirmed her in July 2009 with reluctance from both John Ballout, and Prince Johnson of Maryland and Nimba Counties.
AT THE JUSTICE MINISTRY
At the justice Ministry, she fell out with virtually all of her deputies, assistant ministers and senior staffers in a relatively short period of time. Counselor Joseph Jallah who served as Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs became her first casualty. According to her, the Deputy Minister as Chairman of a Political party LPP, has a socialist orientation and was more of a politician than a lawyer. It was based upon that she refused to work with him and recommended his replacement. While sitting in her comfort in America, little did she know that it was the likes of Counselor Jallah and others that campaigned in the trenches to ensure the victory of President Sirleaf, of which benefit she has come to reap as Minister. Counselor Jallah currently heads the Legal Department of the Central Bank of Liberia.
Counselor Jallah was subsequently replaced by Sam Russ, a Liberian of American nationality, who she single handedly recruited from the diaspora, and recommended to the President. Before being confirmed by the Senate, he renounced his American Citizenship. She would later fallout with Russ on issues of marginalization surrounding policy differences bordering on mineral contracts whereat he alluded that his input was not solicited as the principal deputy in whose purview such task is statutorily mandated. Russ obtained a B.Sc. degree (SUMMA CUM LAUDE) in Mathematics from the University of Liberia in 1980.He also holds a Law degree from America. Bitterness ensued, and both were not on speaking terms for months until his departure from the Justice Ministry. He currently serves as Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Lands Mines and Energy, where he is executing his statutory mandate without rancor.
Russ was replaced by Ms. Idella Cooper, a graduate of the Columbia Law School. She subsequently entered into Holy Matrimony with Mr. Musa Shannon. Upon assuming her duties, she would inform the President of her thoughts within the realm and confines of the execution of her duties. She would further apprise the President of her unflinching support to the Minister in the execution and enhancement of the mandate of which the Ministry was established.
Their working relationship started cordially but soon became awry in less than a year, with similar routine and experience her predecessor had endured, including lack of consultation, and coordination. Mrs. Cooper-Shannon became an image of herself in office as she was not consulted in most instances relative to concession agreements concluded, coupled with other high profiled issues of legal economic magnitude that would have long reaching effect on the future of Liberia. After the consummation of several concession agreements without her input, the Minister would call upon her to affix her signature to accompany same. Acrimony began to set in. Verbal exchanges and disagreements ensued in one senior staff meeting which came to an abrupt end. Few weeks thereafter, on one occasion, in the full glare of the junior staffs in the corridor of the Ministry, hell broke loose. It took Mrs. FatuDaramy, a modest and calm lady who was seconded by the UN to work on policy issues concerning prison rehabilitation at the Ministry to calm the situation, and escorted Mrs. Cooper-Shannon to her office, while Minister Tah left the Ministry for an unknown destination. When she returned, Mrs. Daramy was summoned to her office, and was accused of siding with Mrs. Cooper Shannon. There began Mrs. Daramy waterloo which led to her exit from the Ministry.
The news of the confrontation between both Ministers was reported in several media outlets. With smiles on their faces during a press interview conducted in the office of the Minister, the incident as appeared in the media was denied. Few months thereafter, it became apparently clear that the center couldn’t hold, as both of them couldn’t continue to work together in harmony. In the midst of the bitterness that subsisted between them, Minister Tah, refused to sign a construction contract awarded Mr. S.B. Cooper, though a competitive bidding for a project supervised by Public Works. After a lawsuit was in the process of being filed against her, she yielded and signed. Her refusal to sign the contract was simply because Mr. S.B. Cooper is a senior brother of Mrs. Cooper-Shannon. Sheer vindictiveness! Mrs. Cooper-Shannon is currently out of the Ministry and is in the employ of NOCAL.
In a quest to boost her image to give flavor to her administrative intolerance, she again recommended Counselor Benedict Sannoh, a Human Rights Advocate to replace Mrs. Cooper-Shannon. Months in the position, The Chris Toe, and Front Page saga began which subsequently led to her six months ban by the Supreme Court for disrespect to that August Body. Thereafter, it was reported that she accused Counselor Sannoh of undermining her office in his quest to unseat her. Prior to her resignation, she and Counselor Sannoh were not on speaking terms.
Counselor Sylvester Gbientor only crime for which he was recommended for replacement as Deputy Minister for Codification by Mrs. Victoria Sherman Lang, the Minister childhood friend, was based on a statement he made in defense of Former Minister Banks in a Staff Meeting, referring to him as a legal scholar rival by very few in the country.
Counselor Eva Mai Mappy Morgan was serving as Deputy Minister for Administration during the Banks administration when Counselor Tah assumed the mantle of leadership at the ministry. She holds a LLM in Law from the Harvard Law School, and was considered his confidant. In fact news abounded that he recommended her to Madam President as his successor, a situation Minister Tah would later know and became uncomfortable with.
When Minister Tah took over the affairs of the office, during her first week, a general staff meeting was arranged to acquaint her with all and sundry. Prior to that, she requested to meet all deputies, and assistant Ministers for a chit chat in her office before proceeding to the conference room to meet other subordinate staffers. Thereat, while discussing far ranging issues of concern outlaying her strategy and approach to enhance the task of executing her mandate, she made castigating and disparaging remarks against her predecessor Counselor Philip Banks, her former professor and Dean of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law. She described him as waning in the complexities of law based on old age that was why his impact at the Ministry was not felt thereby leading to his replacement by her. She went on to describe herself as vibrant, and without blemish in whatever she has endeavored. Banks got the information, and approached her for clarity. She denied ever uttering any such statement. All those present in her office when the statements were made were those that Counselor Banks worked with harmoniously. Thereafter, she became suspicious of both Counselor Mappy-Morgan and a gentleman named Johannes, who served as Special Assistant to Banks.
Without much ado, in a twist in time, she replaced Johannes with Ms. Gloria Bishop, who too, within a year was insulted as an incompetent brat who didn’t utilized her youth. Unable to condone further incessant insults, Bishop in a rage reportedly attempted to unleash her, but was advised against doing such a thing by Mr. Max Dennis, a family friend of Bishop, who himself was hired by the Minister as her speechwriter. Mr. Dennis was tongue lashed subsequently as a spoilt child. Ms. Bishop subsequently resigned, and remarked as making her worst mistake ever in life by working with a personified Satan dabbed in human form.
After Johannes was booted out of the Ministry, Counselor Mappy- Morgan became the next target. Her first Joint Security Meeting conducted at the Conference Room of the Ministry with Security Heads and their representatives comprising the Liberia National Police (LNP), Bureau of Immigration (BIN), Liberia National Fire Service, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), National Security Agency (NSA), Ministry of Defense, and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), was a scene of disarray and tongue lashing at her colleagues. In fact it even ended before it started. When everyone was seated, Counselor Mappy –Morgan left the room and went to her boss, the Minister’s office as a mark of respect to escort her thereat, as was done with others. No sooner did she leave, the Minister arrived apparently by another route to the meeting and requested attendance. A minute later, Mappy-Morgan returned beaming with smiles, took her seat beside her boss, and greeted her in a courteous manner. Expecting a reciprocal greeting in return, but on the contrary, and to her chagrin, she was greeted with an emotional outburst and lambasted in the presence of all by the Minister who retorted that whenever a meeting is called everyone should be seated before she arrived, and when seated no one should enter thereafter as she won’t countenance any such behavior from any one whether minister or otherwise. She furthered by saying that she does not intend to run a parallel administration. Despite interventions from other senior colleagues to the effect that Counselor Mappy- Morgan , her principal deputy was seated, and in fact usher them in their respective seats, their interventions fell on deft ears as she went on ranting, and insinuating that she care less about whatever, she is the Minister and her position on that matter was final.
Months thereafter, the working relationship between both Minister Tah, and her Principal Deputy, Mappy- Morgan deteriorate to the lowest ebb. Mappy-Morgan was subsequently removed based on Minister Tah’s recommendation to Madam Present of her inability to compatibly work with Mappy-Morgan. It took three months for a successor to be found, as most lawyers she approached turned her request down citing intolerance of her administrative mannerisms, which borders on disregard and disgraced to the professional ethics of the legal profession. Counselor Mappy- Morgan currently serves as Chief Judge of a three member Commercial Court at the Temple of Justice.
Months later, she would recommend Counselor Freddie Taylor a brother –in law of former President Taylor as replacement. He served as Director of the National Security Agency during President Charles Taylor reign.
The major reason for recruiting Counselor Taylor bordered on positional power play, financial largesse and goodwill that was outpouring from Government, and International Stakeholders to the Ministry. Hundreds of thousands of USD was being budgeted for Administrative and Intelligence Services under the Joint Security Trust Fund (JSTF). Minister Tah wanted a confidant and someone with a broad based intelligence, security and administrative background who would execute her intelligence modus operandi, which entails recruiting covert intelligence personnel to engage in similar statutory mandate to rival that of the NSA. After a long search for a successor to Mappy –Morgan was not paying dividends; Minister Tah approached her half-brother, Counselor Lemuel Reeves, a Law Enforcement Officer of several years, and at that time a staffer of Carter Center. It was Counselor Lemuel Reeves who introduced, and recommended Counselor Freddie Taylor to Minister Tah. Both Counselors Reeves and Taylor are sort of related not through sanguinity, but by marriage. Counselor Reeves younger sister, Agnes Reeves was Presidents Taylor’s wife during his hey days as Rebel Leader of the NPFL in the 1990’s. Counselor Freddie Taylor was once married to former President Taylor’s sister Gebior.
After a lengthy interview with Counselor Taylor, Minister Tah was convinced that he fitted in her grand scheme of mastermind, wherein intelligence gathered by her operatives would be submitted to the President principally to counter that of the NSA. Her intent was to render the NSA incompetent, thereby given credence to her exploits and used that as a launch pad to recommend Counselor Freddie Taylor to assume the directorship of NSA while at the same time convincing the President to appoint FumbaSirleaf to replace Brownie Samukai as Defense Minister. Power was her ultimate desire, as Chairman of the Joint Security, the only security outfit not under her command and control was the NSA.
As time progressed, Counselor Taylor, a professional especially trained in Intelligence Analysis for decades read the postings and soon discovered that he was recruited to be used as a pawn in a game of power play that the Minister couldn’t win. He drew up a power point Security Intelligence Matrix to convince his boss indicating the folly of rivaling the NSA, as some of those she recruited were double agents, reporting to NSA. He pinpointed to the Minister that one of her most trusted intelligence operatives was a double agent, and advised her to abandon her quest. But rather yielding to an honest advice from a professional, she accused Counselor Taylor of being the double agent and a sold-out to maintain his job at her detriment. She reminded him that had it not being for her, he would still be going through tough times as no one wanted to employ him based on the President Charles Taylor factor, which by extension impacted whatever professionalism he possessed or could boast of. ‘Instead of being loyal to me you opted to collaborate with my enemies, you will forever regret your action’ She told him looking directly in his eyes. Thereon, based on experience and being cognizant of her actions towards others who dare to disagree, and or challenge her, he knew he was a target and his days at the Ministry was numbered.
A plan to get at Counselor Taylor was hatched, and tasked to AsumanaKromah, a former official at the Ministry of National Security, and Director of the NBI, who was recruited as her consultant to investigate and provide her with intelligence on staff members of the Ministry concerning major crimes and Robert Budy, a deputy commissioner at Immigration, and one of her henchmen who executed most of her Gestapo Operations.
On September 18, 2012 Kromah, hinted Minister Tah of Counselor Taylor’s intention to tender his resignation. Sensing that his resignation would be damaging to her she needed to act faster, otherwise…… She summoned him in her office for a meeting. Thereat she apologized, and in a posture indicative of a male seducer, narrated how the stress and pressures of her job sometimes makes her to be emotional. She furthered informed him that her intent especially towards him is brotherly and thereafter promised to adhere to his advice and give him more autonomy in the execution of his duties. Convinced by her antics, he confirmed his thoughts of resigning, but promised he would rescind his decision. Bingo! She celebrated that night with champagne, and gave both Kromah, and Budy a purse of 3,000.00 USD. Days after, Kromah submitted a plan of action to Minister Tah with information supplied by Commissioner Budy of Immigration.
The opportunity presented itself earlier than expected. A Human Trafficking case erupted at the Bureau of Immigration in which Counselor Freddie Taylor name was mentioned as an accomplice. Within the realm of the same time, Minister Tah was due to attend a conference on behalf of the Liberian Government in East Africa bordering on Trafficking. The conference provided the perfect conduit to consolidate her scheme and get at Counselor Taylor. He was therefore designated to represent her. While away with the assistance of Kromah, and Budy she launched an investigation single handedly without the knowledge of Counselor Taylor her principal deputy, especially where his name was mentioned. Her findings were hurriedly communicated to the President wherein he was implicated together with others as Human Traffickers. The President taking due cognizance of the global outcry against trafficking in persons, and relying on the Minister’s confidence and professional judgment, dismissed all those named and implicated in the Minister’s report.
The Human Trafficking investigation conducted was a ruse and scam used to get Counselor Freddie Taylor out of the Ministry and damage his reputation as was promised. But how would that be executed was her headache. Sensing that the President was fastly becoming conscious of her bullying attitude towards her deputies and others, she needed to present a picture of grave international dimension that would propel the president to urgently act upon. The Human Trafficking situation presented the golden opportunity. Furthermore, she couldn’t link only her deputy in the report, as it would become suspicious. To give the report credence and professional flavor, she was advised by Kromah, and Budy to include the names of all those who directly or indirectly had a role in the trafficking Saga. Budy name was included as a scam agreed upon. Indian Counsel Jetty was also included as scapegoat.At the Conference held in Tanzania, Counselor Freddie Taylor was presenting a paper on the Ramifications of Human Trafficking and Its Attending Consequences in World Torn Countries when his dismissal was announced. He got a stunning reception thereafter. Unknowing to him, the news was circulated amongst the conferees. Imagine the embarrassment, emotional, and metal torture he endured in that country. His firstly dial his Boss, the Minister to understand the dimension of what was obtaining, but all her numbers were perpetually switch off. Back home, the story made headlines with his name highlighted in all the dailies. That evening BBC, VOA, and other International News Organs heralded the story worldwide. He texted a Liberian Journalist and tried to explain his side of the story, cautioning him to be aware of several of his media colleagues, as they were on the Minister’s payroll through a Mobile Phone Executive. When he returned Minister Tah, his boss refused to grant him audience. Today, licking his wounds with the allegation of being a Human Trafficker weighting heavily on his head, he is surviving through menial legal clients which wages are insufficient to underwrite his expenses and explaining his ordeal to almost everyone he encounter with a vow to get even one day…..
Although she knew there was no magnitude in her so-called investigative report, with Freddie out of her way as Deputy Minister, she in a 360 degree turnaround, wrote a letter to the President dated July 4 2013, coded CPT/MOJ/ AG/RL/391/’13, and recommended that the President appoint a Committee to investigate the findings of the MOJ in the case of dismissed officials for their participation in Human Trafficking.
The President with abiding trust and confidence, not detecting her game plan, constituted a three man committee headed by Ambassador Company Wesseh, Minister of State without portfolio, included Counselor J. LaveliSupuwood, Former Solicitor General, and Minister of Justice, and Labor respectively, and Mrs. Mariama Brown, wife of a prominent religious leader, Kortu Brown, amongst others. At the end of the conduct of their investigation, nothing evidential was discovered that warranted the commission of the crime of human trafficking, as was included in Minister Tah’s recommendation. The Commission therefore recommended the reinstatement of those dismissed. See (Presidential Committee to further investigate MOJ Findings on Dismissed Officials, 16 July, 2013)
Upon receipt of the report, the President forwarded same to Minister Tah for review and advisement. Instead of adhering to the recommendations of the Committee’s Report in its entirety, she implored the President to only reinstate Robert Budy, as Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Bureau of Immigration. All through the so-called “dismissal period” Budy was conducting the affairs of his office and was receiving his salary and allowances upon the Minister Tah’s directive. An innocent employee of the bureau, Wilson Garpeh , a non presidential appointee, who acted upon the directive of Budy, his boss was never reinstated until quite recently, after her resignation, notwistanding the Committee’s recommendations.
Counselor Freddie Taylor was eventually replaced with Counselor Wheatonia Dixon Barnes, a career administrator, and a professional credentialed lady who served in several high profiled capacities including the NPA, Youth and Sports, Foreign Affairs, and LRRC. The appointment of Counselor Barnes took Minister Tah by surprise, as she was bracing herself to recommend another successor as usual. To thwart Counselor Barnes confirmation, paid agents including media personalities, and fly by night pressure groups were finance and unleashed by Minister Tah to spew negative propaganda both in the print and electronic media prior to her appearance for confirmation. The efforts became a fruitless exercise as not a single fault could be identified on Counselor Barnes who was confirmed overwhelmingly.
Several months after Counselor Barnes’ confirmation, Minister Tar was banned by the Supreme Court for disrespect to that August Body. By statute, the principal deputy minister is mandated to act as minister. While under suspension, she opted to teleguide and remotely manage activities at the Ministry. On one occasion she directed that payments in tens of thousands of USD be paid to (BMC), a building material store on the Capitol Bye Pass. The directive was rejected by the Acting Minister based on intangible documents to substantiate said payments.
After the Supreme Court lifted her ban, she hurriedly returned to work. Her first action executed was to rescind all major decisions made by Counselor Barnes as Acting Minister without any consultation whatsoever. Tension began to brew between both of them, until Counselor Barnes left for the U.S. prior to the heightened of the Ebola situation to firstly undergo routine medical check-up, and to visit her husband, Mr. Cecil Barnes, a sports enthusiast of Invincible Eleven (I.E) fame who was due to also undergo a major surgery. As the Ebola pandemic intensified, the President issued a Policy pronouncement with few exceptions that all Presidential appointees in Government who are out of the Country should return within a week or risk dismissal. Again Minister Tah was given another blank check to effect her scheme to extract a pound of blood from Counselor Barnes who was still out of the country after the expiration of the one week’s ultimatum. Counselor Barnes had earlier written to the President through her boss, the Minister requesting an excuse, but her communication was never forwarded, or submitted to the President neither was the President notified about Counselor Barnes’ absence from the country.
After the expiration of the one week Presidential ultimatum, all heads of ministries and agencies under the Executive were mandated to submit the names of all officials out of the country. Minister Tah without any delay forwarded the names of Counselor Barnes, and painfully added two of her other junior ministers similarly situated including Hilary SiakorSirleaf, Assistant Minister for Corrections, and Mrs. Victoria Sherman Lang, Deputy Minister for Codification. Both Ministers were her recruits, and the only friends she had at the Ministry. They were dismissed together with Counselor Barnes.
Others affected by Minister Tar’s wrath included Counselor Annie Wesley Swen, who served as Assistant Minister for Administration. Wesley, recruited by Minister Banks, and considered one of his confidant, was berated in the midst of visiting guest from the UN as only possessing knowledge of snatching what does not belong to her. When asked what was the meaning of her statement she reminded Counselor Wesley to retrospect an incident of1994 the day of her wedding. Counselor Wesley response was blunt, and clear.’ Your time will come one day’. She resigned, and currently works with the UN. Asatu Bah Kenneth, who replaced Counselor Wesley, was branded as being sluggish on the job as a result of physical impairment. She replaced Bah-Kenneth with Atty. Oretha Snyder, who earlier served as her eighth Special Assistant in two years. She would later fall out with Atty. Snyder for befriending a gentleman she considered an eternal enemy. Snyder left the Ministry to attain further education.
Amidst bitter exchanges, Atty. Annette McGee, head of the Child Adoption Section resigned because of incessant insults on her person and family who Minister Tah characterized as imprudent and lacked home training. She subsequently appointed the wife of T. Nelson Williams, Managing Director of LPRC, a business partner to succeed Ms. McGee. Both she and T. Nelson run and oil and gas partnership. After her resignation, both met at the residence of the Resident Head of an International Gas Distributorship for revision of their partnership and a possible buyout by Mr. Williams who opted to buy her entire shares. The details will be provided in part two of this article.
Heads of auxiliary security agencies under the ambit of the Justice Ministry were not spare her wrath. At the Liberia National Police, from the onset of her tenure to the time Marc Amblard was replaced, there was no cooperation whatsoever emanating from her end. Most decisions made at the police were either rescinded, or condemned. On several occasions, whenever the police took a position on matters of grave importance bordering on law enforcement, the Minister Tah will have a contrary version 360 degree at variance with that of the police. There was complete breakdown of confidence and trust subsisting between the office of the Director, and the Minister. As a means to undermine Director Amblard, she initiated the appointment of Ms. Rose Stryker, who earlier worked in her office as an errand girl to replace Samuel Darkinah as Deputy Director/ Administration. Ms. Stryker is a non police material in terms of experience and training. Her only credential in the realm of security has to do with being employed with a private Guard Service in the U.S. and assigned at the Federal Express Building entrance with primary responsibility to welcome and escort customers and visitors.
The situation between the Police Director, and the Minister took a crisis proportion until public outcry heightened for the President to dismiss both of them for ineffectiveness and lack of commonness of purpose in the discharge of their respective statutory mandates. See (FrontPage Vol. 6 NO. 56 Wednesday November, 16 2011 edition.) The final straw that broke the camel back has to do with the November 7th crisis on the compound of the CDC in the aftermath of the runoff election in 2011 where a shootout occurred. Accusations and counter accusations ensued between both Government and the CDC. Instead of fostering a united approach, The Police and Justice Ministry had contrary versions as to the actual occurrence. That led to Madam President to constitute a Special Presidential Commission headed by Sister Mary Lauren Browne, OSF of the Catholic Church as Chairman amongst other distinguished personalities. After the conduct of a thorough investigation, the Commission proffered several recommendations and blamed the Justice Minister of maintaining inadequate communication with the Police Director, Marc Amblard. See (188.8.131.52 of the report of the November 7, 2011 Acts of Violence & Civil Disturbances: Special Independent Commission of Inquiry.) Such was Minister Tah’s disposition with the Police under Marc Amblard until he was removed and replaced by current Director Masaquoi, who too endured continuous non cooperative posture and series of undermines through Rose Stryker, a god daughter of the Minister, who was subsequently booked by the PPCC of violating its act of 2010 for illegally nullifying a bid document signed between the police and a Liberian owned business in favor of a Lebanese merchant for kickbacks.
Other surrogates such as YekeKolubah, a deactivated police officer of former President Taylor fame was hired and promised an enormous sum of USD to besmear the image of the Police under Director Massaquoi in the media to undermine his administration. In her scam, Mr. Kolubah was to rain insults on Director Massaquoi for weeks on various talk shows sponsored and paid for. He recorded their transactions when she refused to honor her payment. He earlier boasted of his inroads with Minister Tah, and revealed how he was paid to execute a special operation campaign on her behalf against what she dubbed as “Chris Massaquoi Police.” Additionally, whenever there were important exchanges of communications between the Police and the Ministry, in a twinkling of an eye, same will be leaked to the media by the Minister through her Public Relations Officer name Maud. The most recent had to do with a classified communication dated September 3, 2014, addressed to her seeking authorization for the Police to “speak” with senior Government officials named in a report of a local daily as “progenitors” of a planned interim government. The next day said communication made headlines in the media. The hauling and pulling continued until she announced her so-called resignation.
During the five years she served as Justice Minister, there were never a single audit conducted with the millions of USD she presided over through budgetary allotments, and stakeholders (JSTF) funds. What a sham for someone who professed to resigned because of the lack of transparency, and failure to adhered to the rule of law. When former Auditor General John Morlu requested that she avail the ministry to audit so as to remove the cloud of suspicion thereat, his request was met with hash reaction. Her brawl did not stop with only her colleagues, staffers and others under the ambit of the Ministry of Justice. At the onset of the Dr Chris Toe vrs Rodney Sieh (Front page), Atty. Kofi Woods, one of Sieh’s counsels expressed dismay over the Ministry’s poor handling of the case, and pinpointed the violations of Sieh’s human rights. He specifically urged the Minister to ensure that justice prevail to his client. In response as usual, she sarcastically replied Atty. Woods to instead of being idle, go to school, educate himself on the rudiments of prosecution, and utilize the library to research the law. See (Public Agenda October 12, 2013 edition.)
On one occasion, she slammed the door in the face of Mrs. Clavender Parker in the Conference Room of the Foreign Ministry, and dashed out in rage, simply because she refused to adhered to a piece of advice proffered her in reference to her hostile attitude in dealing with people.
Minister Tah was at the center of the many gossips, and backbiting amongst her ministerial colleagues. Prior to Ellen Cockrum’s tape recordings, of the Police Director, and Defense Minister, she and an emerging politician, and businessman met Cockrum on October 6, 2012 at a secured villa on the out sketch of Monrovia to hatch the plan. The intent was to project the President’s Security Heads as disloyal, dishonest and less credible simply because she saw them as stumbling blocks in her way to preside, control and make final decisions concerning all security matters in the country. After she succeeded with Massaquoi, and Samukai her schemers designed another plan to include FumbaSirleaf, the National Security Agency Director, and son of the President. Strategy was designed but not executed based on her accomplice advise against such a feat, as indications from their contacts suggested the sophisticated and conservative nature of Fumba who would suspect something sinister, and therefore launch a sting operations on them which would open a dimension they were unprepared to undergo. They however made several phone calls to him but went unanswered. The Fumba mission was abandoned.
Dr. Fahnbulleh was the next in line to be recorded. Prior to that, Minister Tah cautioned Ms. Caukrum to beware of his fiery intellectual exploits and towering personality which she described as “intimidating, but amounted to nothing”. Despite securing an appointment, Cockrum declined at the last minute to honor the appointment, to the dislike of the Minister.
In one National Security Council Meeting, she argued that as Minister of Justice, and Chairman of the Joint Security, under whose authority most of the security outlets falls, the exclusivity to make recommendations and determine the heads of all security organizations under her Ministry should rest with her. She had earlier recommended Ms. Rose Stryker to replace Chris Massaquoi as Director of Police. Her assertion was rebuffed by National Security Advisor, Dr. BoimaFahnbulleh who referred her to the act that created the National Security Council which was approved on March 16, 2000. At the end of the meeting especially when the President departed, she began to spew less than decent remarks at Dr. Fahnbulleh because of assertions made in the meeting. She furthered by suggesting that because as the only woman within the security management realm, coupled with her higher academic qualification, made her the target of envy, hence the constant ganging up against her at these meetings. She further accused him of being a male chauvinist. Her comments was not taken lightly, as Dr. Fahnbulleh told her the only reason he decided to hold his tirades is because of the close social relationship that subsists between she and his junior brother which he described as “nebulous”. It took the President’s intervention to make her grudgingly apologize to Dr. Fahnbulleh.
Few weeks thereafter a local daily carried a banner headline and public relations stint “Security Disparity” who’s benefitting from Liberia’s security allotments, with narratives taking a jibe at mainly the National Security Agency. See (FrontPage Vol. 8.No 494 Monday December 9 2013 edition)
In apparent reference to Minister Tah, Former Commissioner of Immigration Counselor Abla G. Williams, currently Executive Director of LRRRC in a speech at a graduation ceremony of 234 Immigration cadets on November 9 2013,spewed her guts indicating that “gossips and breakdown in the chain of command were creating divisions in the ranks and files of security institutions in the country because instead of those with supervisory oversight of heads of security institutions dealing directly with the bosses they gave directives to subordinates without the knowledge of their bosses. The subordinates soon see themselves as sacred cows and therefore start to render disrespect to their immediate bosses. She furthered accused those who supervised heads of security institutions of introducing “extraterrestrial and ill-fated approaches” in managing those institutions, thus distracting security personnel from being professionals, and diligent in service as law enforcers. See (New Democrat Vol. 20 NO. 214 Wednesday November 13, 2013 edition)
The Bureau of Immigration became her fiefdom especially after Chris Massaquoi was appointed Police Director. But prior to his departure, her first beef with him was when a mandate to employ one Abigail Hoffman, a niece, as Commander of the RIA Detachment met a hitch based on recommendations from the UNPOL Advisors after due diligence revealed that Ms. Hoffman was dismissed by Former Minister Banks for stealing and converting into her use 100 bags of rice intended for inmates while serving as head of the Monrovia Central Prison. An allegation Minister Tah would later blamed on the orchestration of her predecessor, Banks because he knew she would succeed him at Justice. Abigail was subsequently employed not as Commander of RIA, but in a nominal position based on a letter of clearance from the Tah’s Justice Ministry which exonerated her of any wrong doings.
With tens of thousands of USD committed to Immigration by the Justice and Security Trust Fund for Border Management, for five regions, Minister Tah mandated that her niece, Abigail be given an assignment to be the Commander of the Maryland region, comprising Maryland, Grand Kru, Sinoe, and Grand Gedeh counties, headquartered in Harper. This region was allotted a sizeable chunk of the funds. In commissioner Massaquio’s wisdom, Abigail was unqualified to assume such onerous assignment because of image problem based on her previous record at the Monrovia Central Prison. Col. Feweh Sherman was appointed instead. Minister Tah saw the appointment of Mr. Sherman as a slap in her face. She therefore devised a scheme whereat Abigail was designated and given special assignment to control the finances which was deposited monthly in her account for the officers deployed within the region.
Within three months, after assuming her new assignment the family residence of Minister Tah, located in Hoffman Station, a town across the river outside Harper city was fully renovated, transformed and modernized. Thanks to Abigail. This development didn’t go unnoticed as several officers Daily sustenance Allowance (DSA) lapsed for months despite remittance by the JSTF through the Minister’s office. Those who were lucky to receive got half of what was due them. When Col. Sherman discovered and reported the fraud, he was framed and booted out of Immigration on trumped up allegations orchestrated by Minister Tah through her Gestapo Operative, Robert Budy, Deputy Commissioner for Operation of the Bureau of Immigration. In reaction, Mr. Sherman filed a lawsuit against Minister Tah through his Lawyer, Counselor Pearl Brown Bull. As a means to appease Mr. Sherman, she sought a compromise by offering to recommend him to Madam President for a bigger position in a bid to withdraw his case. He refused. The case is pending prior to her “resignation.”
Chris Massaquoi was subsequently appointed to head the Liberia National Police. Counselor Abla G. Williams, who at the time was serving as Deputy Commissioner for Naturalization was appointed to succeed Commissioner Massaquoi. Massaquoi had earlier recommended his principal Deputy for Administration, Archie P. Williams as his successor, but was vehemently opposed by Minister Tah based upon her conviction, that it would be the same as Massaquoi remaining at the helm of the Bureau, as Commissioner Archie P. Williams was considered a religious confidant to Massaquoi.
The appointment of Counselor Abla Williams didn’t augur well for Minister Tah, as her recommended successor, Robert Budy, Deputy Commissioner for operations was not considered. Counselor Williams’ tenure as Commissioner of Immigration was littered with undermining of no small proportion, and magnitude. Minister Tah had no regard whatsoever for Counselor Williams, a professional colleague. Almost, all directives, decisions and operations at Immigration were handled by Budy without the knowledge of Commissioner Williams. Every assignment was sanctioned by Minister Tah. County commanders reported directly to her office through Commissioner Budy. Commissioner Williams served only in name at Immigration. She was disrespected, humiliated and insulted by Minister Tah on numerous occasions in full glare of her staffs. A lady with humbled spirit, Counselor Williams rose through the ranks and files of the security echelons, including the Liberia National Police where she was head of the Forensic Crime Laboratory. She served in several professional capacities in successive governments including Legal Counsel, Office of the Legal Advisor to Interim President Amos Sawyer, Special Assistant to Council Chairman David Kpormakpor, Winton Sankawolo, and Ruth Perry. Her previous position held included Deputy Minister for Legal Affairs, at the Ministry of Justice prior to her appointment as Deputy Commissioner for Naturalization at the Immigration Bureau.
It must be noted that Budy was one of the Minister’s henchmen, whose “intelligent” services she relied upon to undermine Massaquio on several occasions which prompted Commissioner Massaquoi to write two strong worded communications to her dated June 11, and 18 2011 respectively complaining Commissioner Budy’s disrespectful attitude, couple with her constant directives given to him to execute immigration operations without his knowledge. Budy, A consummate liar, and academic fraudster, he submitted fake academic credentials to members of the Liberian Senate during his confirmation indicating that he graduated from a university named Kennedy Western University in 2005, with a B.Sc. degree in Management and Leadership. Up to the writing of this article there is no trace of a Robert Budy name in its enrollment since that University was established. It was Budy and AsumanaKromah, as stated earlier that Minister Tah utilized to scheme against Deputy Minister Freddie Taylor in the Human Trafficking ruse that got him out of the Ministry of Justice.
The most pathetic act of her heartless reign at the Ministry occurred prior to the July 26 2012 Independence celebration. In a Joint Security Meeting, she out rightly told the Director of the Fire Service Bureau Col. Derrick that he is too old for the job, and would ensure that he be replaced. Shocked he retorted that her statement was tantamount to signing his death warrant, as he was the backbone of both his nucleus and extended family. Col Derrick problem aroused when he disagreed with her assertion that Fire Service was not a priority to her administration, hence she wouldn’t advocate for budgetary support. She delivered on her promise. Col. Derrick was replaced. Few months thereafter, Col. Derrick suffered stroke, and subsequently died. On his deathbed, he kept murmuring Christiana Tah, Christiana Tah, ChristianaTah several times until he gave up the ghost, and died. How heartless can one be! Col. Derrick was a founding member of the ruling Unity Party, and Special Assistant to its founder Dr. Edward B. Kessely. He played a pivitol role in convincing the party executives in 1997 to admit Madam Sirleaf as a partisan, whereat she subsequently became its Standard Bearer.
Henry Shaw, Former Director of the Drug Enforcement Agency, DEA, met his fate by claiming through an argument with a friend that he endured constant hardships during Taylor’s Presidency, as he was denied employment because of his expressed support for Madam President while an Opposition Leader based in exile. He also stated that he together with others ensured that the Unity Party won the 2005 election by campaigning in shady places out of Monrovia. Based upon which, he opined that hamburger eaters from the Diaspora who didn’t even cast a single ballot are parading and positioning themselves as their supervisors, and bosses. His statement was transmitted to Minister Tah, and reframed with indications that Shaw referenced her as someone who had come from obscurity as far as the Unity Party is concerned to enjoy the benefits of their labor without playing any significant role to bring Madam President to power. Instead of ascertaining the reality from Shaw, or counter checked, she did no such thing, but rather accosted Shaw after a Joint Security Meeting and accused him of exhibiting disrespectful attitude to her. Surprised, Shaw rejected her claim, and told her that at no time did he ever do such thing. The rest is history for Shaw. He wept like an orphan child after his replacement was announced.
Chief Justice Korpor too got a piece of her tongue lashing. At one of the Supreme Court’s opening last year, she boastfully told the jammed pack audience that had it not been for her instrumentality he wouldn’t be hired for the first job he obtained. After the program, scores of lawyers questioned the rationale of her statements. Some even wondered if whether she was right in thoughts before emitting statements completely unrelated to the occasion.
On Saturday, April 27, 2013, she together with a former Commissioner of Maritime drove in a convoy of three separate vehicles to a resort in Cape Mount County to hatch a plan to besmear the character of BinyahKessely of the Maritime Bureau through sustained media propaganda using the Dead Maritime Cadets situation as a launch pad. Her beef with Mr. Kessely emanated from a contract he refused to award a “friend” she recommended, who is based in the U.S. to install a Maritime Satellite connective Network through Libtelco . She later dubbed him as frisky and disrespectful by his act of refusal. The special “friend would later result as into facebook propaganda against Mr. Kessely. The former Maritime Commissioner on the other hand blamed Mr. Kessely as an underground schemer who regularly gave information to stooges to castigate his tenure at Maritime as self seeking. She would later meet with a sister of one of the deceased cadets, Henry Bryant, Ms. Patee K. Chon to be use as a conduit to the other cadets’ family to decry Binyah. See (Insight Vol. 3 NO 339, September 30, 2013 edition)
Currently news abounds in media circles, and around Monrovia that the properties opposite Lone Star Cell Head Office and adjacent CDC headquarters in Congo Town containing several plush apartments belong to her and she acquired them while as Justice Minister, but used a Lebanese businessman as a front. An NBI Investigative report supports indications in that direction. Details will appear in part two of this article.
At the Investiture on July 19, 2013, she made disparaging remarks against Journalist Philip Wesseh when called upon by The President to be honored. Instead of cherishing the moment for such a historic endeavor, she remarked that National Honors are losing significance with inconsequential people as benefactors. Little did she know that sitting beside her in the audience was a former in-law of Mr. Wesseh. After spewing insults on Mr. Wesseh, she would later hug him after the program. See (The inquirer, July 22, 2013) Can this be someone to be taken serious?
According to her, she resigned since March while serving her ban from the Supreme Court, but the President refused to honor same and told her to hold on which she did out of respect. What she didn’t tell the Liberian people is that she received her retroactive salaries and benefits in the tune of tens of thousands of USD. Now tell me isn’t that corruption perpetuated by madam clean?
It is said that women are more sensitive and generous to humanity as compared to their male counterparts. But with Counselor Tah, the converse is the reality as a female relative of a police officer assigned in her office name Sheriff realized on a fateful day in September 2013. Suffering from pelvic disease, she requested assistance from the Minister as a fellow lady whom she thought would understand her plight. Appointment was made through Sheriff. With swollen legs, the lady was usher into her office. In a bid to explain her situation, Minister Tah cut in and asked for the lady’s husband. She replied that she didn’t have one. Instead of rendering the lady the much needed assistance, she blasted the daylight out of the lady, and told her that she is not running a welfare den where anybody can run for assistance when in need. Surprised and shocked, the young lady left the office with tears simmering down her cheeks. Few minutes later Sheriff gave the lady a USD ten dollars as the Minister’s assistance. See (Inquirer Friday Vol.22 N0. 154 edition.)
A program to commemorate International Women Day on Saturday March 9, 2014 was planned, and Minister Tah was invited to serve as the Guest Speaker for the occasion. She consented, but later declined an hour before the commencement of the program when it was discovered that the program was to be held in the auditorium of the D. Tweh High School in the Borough of New Kru Town. She would later tell the Organizers that during the country’s glorious days, she had not ventured into ”that part of Monrovia”, so she see no reason of going there now. Former Minister of Labor, Counselor Juah Lawson was instead contacted and consented to honor the request of the Organizers. See (Daily Observer Vol. 16 NO.94 Tuesday, March 11, 2014 edition).
Throughout the six years Counselor Tah served as Justice Minister, The U.S. Reports on the Justice Ministry had been so damning. The most recent, 2014 highlighted issues of dismal proportions that would make an interesting read, and pity Madam President for keeping such a character in that sensitive position for so long a time. For Example, it was reported that prisoners were raped, with seven deaths reported. Half of the country’s 1,827 prisoners were at the Monrovia Central Prison. What can one say about Counselor Tah concerning this episode without mentioning ineptitude? Mind you, the prisons and detention centers are a subset of the Ministry of Justice. Counselor Tah’s first official Government posting was as Assistant Minister for Correction, and Rehabilitation, although she performed dismally as alluded to earlier. It was she who recruited, and recommended Hilary SiakorSirleaf to the President wherein he was appointed as Assistant Minister responsible for prisoners and their rehabilitation – a position, under her direct supervision. If she couldn’t supervise a small segment of her Ministry, how in the world could she then opt to supervise another Agency that is not statutorily under her command and control?
After corroborating with Ellen Cockrum in their attempts to besmear well meaning officials of Government, and her failure to lure the entire security outfit into public disrepute through acts that bordered on less than desirable methods, she shamelessly resolved into blame game. One of the flimsy reasons she gave for her resignation has to do with her inability as Minister of Justice to supervise and control all Security Agencies, including the NSA, and the authority to investigate its operations. Nowhere in the Act that created the National Security Agency is it indicated that said Agency should report, or should be supervised by the Justice Ministry. The Agency, by law through its Director reports directly to the President. If in the midst of executing his duties the Director commits an act that is incompatible with his position, it is the prerogative of the President to put into operations transparent and effective mechanism in any form and manner she deem necessary to ensure that justice prevails. Likewise, if the Minister of Justice is found wanting in similar situation, the president will act likewise. If by the President constituting a commission to investigate the NSA, instead of the Justice Ministry the basis and thoughts of Minister Tah’s resignation, then Liberians had all along been in serious trouble all along during her tenure as Justice Minister.
Presidential Constituted Commissions are not unique to this administration. The famous Brownnel Commission of 1979 Rice Riots incident is a case in point. Even the Late President Doe Constituted a Commission headed by the late Counselor Peter Amos George to investigate the fire truck incident which involved Dr. J. Bernard Blamo, Managing Director of the NPA at the time along with Benny Ashun, a Ghanaian Businessman. The Commission as established by Madam President headed by Counselor David Jallah to investigate the NSA was not the first of its kind under this administration. There were several Commissions set up prior to this. The Elwood Dunn E-mail Commission, The Counselor TiawanGongloe Commission on the Freeport saga involving former Police Director Sieh-Browne, The Counselor Negbalee Warner Hydro Carbon Commission, The Sister Mary Lauren (CDC November 7 Commission) of which Minister Tah was accused as not maintaining harmoniously working relationship with Police Director Amblard, The ComanyWesseh Human Trafficking Commission report which calls for those she implicated to be reinstated, ect, ect, ect, are few to pinpoint.
How in the world would she complain that she was never given the free hand to execute her mandate, and to supervise security agencies? Contrary to that assertion, she was given the exclusivity to recommend almost all of her Deputy, and Assistant Ministers and to a larger extent, heads of the security outfits under the Justice Ministry. The only exception is the Director of Police. Even at the Police, she did recommend Rose Stryker as Deputy Director for Administration. At the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, she recommended her brother Lemuel Reeves, and Robert Budy as Commissioner and Deputy for Operations. She also recommended the Director of the Fire Service amongst others. Even she influenced the appointments of individuals in other parastatals that did not fall under the purview of the Ministry of Justice. Her other brother Winston Reeves a drug addict who was arrested in a ghetto smoking crack was recommended to a logistical position at NOCAL where he currently works. He earlier served as Director of the Fire Service under his brother –in-law Charles Taylor Administration. What power Counselor Tah didn’t wield in this Government prior to her resignation? She had the ears of the President on almost everything. I mean almost everything.
Today, Liberians and other stakeholders are criticizing the President for entering into concession agreements that didn’t meet internationally accepted benchmarks. Out of all agreements entered into by the Liberian Government, as Minister of Justice she signed sixty-two of them. As mentioned earlier, her desire to single- handedly review, analyze and conclude concessions agreements without their input led two Deputy Ministers for Economic Affairs to leave the Ministry. Doesn’t that reflect on her ineptitude? All along the years even prior to her confirmation there were indications that Counselor Tah would be an embarrassment to the Sirleaf Administration. Reliance on her so-called professional expertise, Madam President got caught up in the mess she found herself into. In her bid to save face she had to result into blame games after realizing that the President had discovered her schemes of prolonged undermines, ineptitude, and vindictiveness she opted to resign as Minister of Justice sensing dismissal which would rather be demeaning.
In conclusion, I am aware that several paid personalities will in slippery attempts try to endeavor into given a rebuttal to this piece of article. It will highly be welcome as my desire will be invigorated to hurriedly publish the second and third parts which will lengthily highlight and expose the inner workings of an organized cabal set up by Counselor Tah and her coteries.
This Article was written by Grant Solomon, an ardent follower of contemporary political developments especially bordering on Security Injustice and its attending corruptions. A holder of a BA degree in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Liberia, a Post Graduate Diploma in Criminal Justice Intellegence from the Hammersmith College in London and a prospective student of the IBB School of International Relations. He lives on Duport Road, and formerly worked with the Force for the Eradication of Corruption in 1981 and as a Research Analyst at the Ministry of Justice in 1988. He currently runs a private Security Research Consultancy located in Fiamah. He can be reached at 0886220879.