By Olando Testimony Zeongar
Following a FrontPageAfrica report on Monday, the vice chairperson of the country’s main anti-graft body, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Cllr. Kanio Bai Gbala, has been subjected to a corruption investigation.
Cllr. Bai Gbala’s boss, LACC’s executive chairperson, Cllr. Edwin Kla Martin made the disclosure today, when he addressed a brief press conference at the Commission’s Oldest Congo Town Headquarters.
Cllr. Martin informed the press conference that as a result of the FrontPageAfrica’s Monday publication, which links Gbala to corruption, he (Cllr. Martin), having been abreast with the newspaper’s report, immediately convened a meeting on the same day, at which time the LACC’s deputy executive Chairperson tendered his leave of absence, which the Executive Chairperson said he accepted.
FrontPageAfrica reported Monday that Cllr. Bai Gbala is allegedly embroiled in a corruption scandal at the National Port Authority, with the newspaper indicating that it has obtained documents that suggest that the LACC’s deputy chairperson is allegedly involved in the corruption web at the Buchanan Sea Port, as NPA Managing Director, Dr. Bill Twehway and his Deputy are poised to face an LACC inquest Tuesday.
According to FrontPageAfrica, documents in its possession reveal that Cllr. Kanio Bai Gbala along with the Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA), Mr. Bill Tweahway, the deputy Comptroller, Christian Brownell and Hamed Sikidi Fofana, the former Executive Director at the Central Bank of Liberia, established a company and allegedly used funds from the port and purchased a loading machine (966 Loader) for their company and awarded the loading contract to themselves.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the press, this morning, August 30, 2021, we all woke up to the news reports on FrontPageAfrica, about alleged conflict of interest involving several individuals, including the reported involvement of the vice chairperson of this Commission, Cllr. Kanio Bai Gbala,” Cllr. Martin said.
“I convened an emergency meeting of the leadership of this Commission, to include Board of Commissioners, early this morning, to discuss the report and inform the Liberian people on the LACC’s stance and position, said Cllr. Martin, who stated that he was pleased to announce that the Commission has commenced investigation into what he termed as a grave report that he said has the propensity to derail the progress the LACC has made in the last weeks.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the press, at a formal Board of Commissioners (BoC) meeting, the vice chairperson filed his leave of absence, to allow investigation to proceed, and said was accepted by me as executive chairperson,” he said, adding that he has mandated that the matter involving his deputy be swiftly investigated.
“The Division of Investigation and Enforcement here at the LACC, has been mandated and instructed by me to move swiftly and investigate the matter, begins today’s date, the LACC executive chairperson stressed, noting, “Cllr. Gbala has also accepted to cooperate fully with the investigation in this matter, while on his leave.”
Cllr. Martin emphasized that the LACC welcomes critical reporting of its activities and investigations relating to the work done by the Commission, as holders of public trust.
“We have no problem with these reports, as long as they are done professionally, within the ambit of the laws of our country,” he stated, indicating that “The LACC will continue to work with all institutions, including the Press Union of Liberia to deal with issues of corruption in the society.”
Meanwhile, Cllr. Martin has announced that the NPA’s corruption investigation regarding millions of dollars being allegedly siphoned from the Buchanan Sea Port, is ongoing, indicating that all of those allegedly involved, are cooperating.
However, he pointed out that those that have escaped under the cover of darkness will be extradited in-keeping with law.