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Liberia Airport Scandal: Gov’t Dispatches Legal Team to U S to Extradite Airport Chief, U S Air Force Maj Ellen Cockrum, as Pres Sirleaf is Dragged into Saga in More Spill.


Justice Minister Christina Tah

Liberian  government is moving aggressively to extradite the Managing Director of Liberia Airport Authority, United States Air Force pilot, Major Ellen Cockrum to Liberia after dissipating more spill over the weekend dragging President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf into the  scandal which has come to be characterized as a national embarrassment.

According to a local Liberian daily, the Justice Ministry  revealed   the Liberian government is dispatching a legal team to the United States this week to seek the extradition of the country’s former airport director  back to Liberia to face prosecution. The government has indicted major Cockrum on corruption charges and theft for transferring US$500,000.00 approved by the Liberian Airport Authority into the account of one judge Melvin Johnson for services that was to be rendered by Diaspora Consultant,  a United States based company registered in the state of Delaware.

Fighting back the indictment, the  airport Managing Director has responded with fierce reaction by releasing a damning recording of the  Minister of National Defense, J. Browmie Samukai on tape revealing to Maj Cockrum that the purported scandal was a setup, hatched and masterminded by the Minister of Finance, Amara Konneh to get her out of the way to defraud the country of US$130 million from a contract for the renovation of the Roberts International Airport. In the recording, the Defense Minister, in the presence of his two deputies also told Major Cockrum she  was a victim of blackmail and there was  plot  in motion and  a death warrant was issued on her life.

Few minutes after the recording was first played on  LibRadio in the United States, a Liberian internet radio via Fabric Radio FM in Liberia, the Defense Minister called into the show  which also hosted Major  Cockrum, confirmed the voice on the recording was his but he was only providing his personal opinion on the case to a friend he trusted.

Madam Cockrum sent a shock into  the spine of the government and had officials scrambling  as to how to deal with the embarrassment and yet to provide a rebuttal to the recording.


Maj Ellen Cockrum

Over the weekend, Major Cockrum again appeared on a popular Liberian talk show, “Issues in the Press” on T M Z Radio International a Liberian internet radio in the United States beamed into two radio stations in Liberia, spilled more revelation on the scandal, dragging President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf into the fray by blaming the President for the threat on her life for failing to intervene in the crisis despite all the effort she (Ms Cockrum)  made to acquaint the President of the recordings to give her a clear understanding of the setup and to  know that the entire case is a blackmail which put her life  in danger but the  President refused to act. Madam Cockrum says the Liberian president and Defense Minister had been in possession of the recordings for months before she was indicted.

The U S Air Force Major also said the Liberian president took her from the United States and her two children only to give her up to people who wanted to destroyed her, emphasizing in a query, “what would had happened when they went to my house and broke in”? What would had happened she asked, if I were rapped or killed”?

“The President refused to intervened though I sent the recording  to the Defense Minister and the President”, Major Cockrum asserted. Major Cockrum disclosed that the government  preempted and her and issued the indictment. Major Cockrum  further said the indictment is only meant to destroy her image and career all because she stood against a corrupt system in the interest of the country and the Liberian people.

Major Cockrum has threatened to releasing damaging recordings if the Liberian government refuses put its act together- what that means was not made by the  United State Air Force fighter pilot.

Major Cockrum fight back seems to be gaining meaningful sympathy  captured in the texture of the attitude and responses of callers to the shows and  reactions  from the broader public. She is poised to damaging her image, stature, and  case if she idly sits by and  not take control of the case but continues to allow the acidic taste of tone her case as being presented by  giving a friend  a free license to ruin public opinion, continuously exhibiting behavior not succinct with her stature including reigning insults on the Liberian people as they tried to grasp sense of her case by.

Major Cockrum vow to return to her country, Liberia could become a rough one; she might not be going back  to a heroic welcome though she fought in the interest of her country and people, as she claims but could been transfigured into a valiant due to the posture and texture of tone her friend  is presenting the case.

The Liberian government’s legal team that is heading to the United States to seek the extradition of Major Cockrum could be coming on a summer vacation rather than to seek  extraditing a United States Air Force Major to Liberia because in no day will the United States government surrender any personnel of its military to a foreign country for prosecution. What will  further make the Liberian government’s legal team trip to the United States to seek the extradition of a U S Air Force fighter pilot a fishing expedition, is that Major  Cockrum committed  no crime but an infrastructure of administrative lapse and if she is audited to corroborate the government’s charges, she   would only be found of ‘procedural error, which is an administrative lapse, correctable b y either administrative actions or recommendations s to  how the procedural error could be fixed.

Procedural error is no crime and therefore the Liberian government has no bases to charge Major Cockrum with a crime and seek  her extradition. If  the extradition request is brought before a United States  court or the military, the Liberian government case will instantly fail the least judicial and auditing rudiments  and its case will be thrown out and certainly,  the Major will not be extradited, effectively clearing  her of the  charges in Liberia.

Maj Cockrum has one last chance as the host of  “Issue in the Press” talk show host  promised her,  to come back   and re-brand  the image  of the tone of the way her case has been presented and erode the rough and acidic  tune   by a friend who tried to help her but at the same  clouding her image,  minting a caricature not reminiscent  of how  she had could presented it better if she could take exclusive charge  of her case  which the Liberian public seems to believe but presently  clouded by the  uninviting posture  by a friend who tries to help but infuriating the Liberian public.


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