When we were growing up, our late grandmother had an interesting way of disciplining my older sister, younger brother and me each time we disobeyed her. When one of us did something wrong, she talked about it and (at that moment) let it go. When all three of us have been disobedient for a while, the last person to disobey served as the trigger for her to discipline the three of us for probably two months span of being disobedient. Being fully aware of this strategy, my younger brother used to exploit it every chance he had. When he (my younger brother) did something wrong, instead of owning up to his wrong, he will start to bring up that of us despite the fact that at that moment he is the center of focus, not us. This will start the disciplinary sequence.
He was often the first to take his lashes because he could take fifty lashes in five minutes and walk as if nothing happened; I kid you not. The rest of us could not. He was always the first to take his punishment because he knew that when it came to granny, there was no inverse relationship between the time and the beating. Actually, as the disciplining went on, granny became more energized and pissed off.
Now, unlike my grandmother, there is an inverse relation between President Sirleaf’s administration and corruption: the more the accusation/evidence/hands in the cookies jar proof of corruption, the weaker, less interested and defensive the government becomes in fighting this critical threat to national security, national reconstruction and renewal. Therefore, our subsequent critical questioning of you is no attempt to justify the systematic corruption in this administration. While the recordings being released were, by virtue of the Liberian law, illegally obtained, we are of the strongest conviction that if that is the only means by which tangible evidence of corruption can be obtained, so be it.
They (the evidence) may not be able to survive legal scrutiny – at least not in Liberia- but they provide reasons for a conscientious discussion on the way forward in dealing with corruption, nepotism, favoritism, hypocrisy and other dangerous vices that threaten national reconstruction and recovery. However, like my little brother, every action on your part thus far reflects an effort to deflect attention from you and Ms. Cockrum and instead highlight other equally important instances of corruption, which is not wrong except that it reflects a case of “we are not going down alone.”
Now, this is not to suggest that you both are guilty since that conclusion rests in the hands of a jury. Instead, our observation has its roots in the fact that almost all the evidence you have provided are yet to exculpate you and Ms. Cockrum. Did you “defraud” the Government and people of Liberian of more than two hundred and sixty ($260,000.00) United States Dollars? If no, where is the evidence? We are not talking about the recording of President Sirleaf because it only shows her complacency and hypocrisy in dealing with the issue of corruption; it does not prove innocence. The recording involving LNP’s Inspector General, Chris Massaquoi, only proves what some of us have argued all along: that being in Liberia and going back to Liberia was and is a danger to you and Ms. Cockrum. It, however, does not provide any proof that the allegations against you and Ms. Cockrum are politically motivated or are not true. Even the Defense Ministers admission on tape does not prove innocence.
So, again, where is the evidence to prove that you and Ms. Cockrum are innocent (at least in the eyes of the public since this is a matter of public opinion)? The public needs those evidence that exonerate you and Ms. Cockrum because you are providing some of the most slam-dunking proof of systematic and complacent petering of national resources by our “leaders” in recent memories. As such, we want to be sure that whatever you are doing is not an attempt to bring others down with you -since, in fact, they are already on a downward spiral- but a genuine attempt to provide insight into the corrupt and hypocritical world of the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s administration. Mind you, despite all of the revealing information you and Ms. Cockrum have provided for public consumption, couple with this government’s seeming lack of credibility, there are legitimate allegations of corruption hanging over your heads.
You both have yet to explain and provide information to counter all the financial mismanagement you have been accused of. All you are doing is tapping into people’s sentiment by exploiting the established understanding of rampant corruption in this government. We know this and are grateful that you took such risk given the laws of Liberia and the United States. Now, please do the HONORABLE thing and provide evidence to the contrary as far as your involvement in depleting the national coffers is concern. Can you both explain what really happened?
No, we are not talking about your plans to return home and face charges or your sentimental public appearances thus far. We want documented or recorded facts that are exclusively intended to proof you and Ms. Cockrum’s innocence. We are fully aware of you and Ms. Cockrum’s access to a “conveyor belt” of damaging information on this administration as it relates to corruption and other unhealthy governance practices. Nevertheless, there are, at the very least, circumstantial evidence against you, which supports the government’s case. The question, again, is: Does the treasure trove of information you have contain information that proves your innocence or are you just angry over the fact that this is case of big looter being moral on small looter?
Until we hear from you, stay safe and be blessed!
Alfred J. Johnson