The much hyped scandal at Liberia’s international airport (Liberia Airport Authority) involving the Managing Director, Major Ellen Cockrum of the United States Air Force, Board Chairman Musa Bility, Diaspora Consultant, and Liberia Bank for Development and Investment indicted on corruption and theft of property charges is losing steam and has probably crumbled as President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf reaffirmed her confidence in indicted Board Chairman, Mr Musa Bility.
According to a Liberian daily, the twist into the government’s case surfaced when the Liberian leader addressed the honoring program of the “Special Presidential Nimba Land Dispute Commission”, chaired by Mr Bility, where she reaffirmed her confidence in the work and integrity of the indicted chairman, emphasizing that “Mr Bility has always accepted to take on difficult tasks for his country.” President Sirleaf reiterated further as saying because of the difficult challenges he always accepted, he has been unreasonably criticized and falsely accused by public actors. He always serve with respect and integrity in discharging his national duties”, President Sirleaf said.
Responding to the President’s shower of praises, the indicted airport Board Chair who was also at the occasion, said, “the President knows me well to the extent that she is aware of what I can do and cannot do”. “I have been silent on the allegations against me because I believe the truth will be told and silence is good as gold”, the indicted Board Chairman said.
The appearance of President Sirleaf along with the indicted airport Board Chair, paralleled with the reaffirmation of confidence in his work and integrity including her indirect public rebuke of the Justice Ministry, levying his indictment as “false accusation”, evidently crumbles the airport scandal, effectively rendering it dead but just a matter of time to see charges officially dropped.
About two weeks ago, the Liberian government through the Justice Ministry indicted Mr Musa Bility and others on corruption and theft of property charges and effected writ of arrest but the Ministry announced Mr Bility was on the run but only arrested the executive of a local bank also indicted in the scandal. The bank executive posted a US $600,000.00 bond and released pending the case. It came as a shock for an indicted fugitive who the government announced was on the run to have appeared along with the President in a public function and at same time showered praises on him.
The appearance of President Sirleaf alongside the indicted fugitive in a public function and subsequent reaffirmation of confidence in him is a gesture that signals that the Liberian government is heeding the U S Air Force Major Ellen Cockrum’s advice that the government” puts its act together or else she’ll release more damming recordings”.
It can be recall that days after hearing the news that she was indicted for corruption and theft of property by the Liberian government, Major released recordings with the voice of the country’s Defense Minister, J Brownie Samukai revealing to Major Cockrum that the purported corruption scandal against her was a setup, intended to blackmail her and a plot was in motion and a death warrant was issued on her life.
The United Air Force Major released the recordings on three U S based Liberian internet radio stations and made concurrent appearances on the talk hows each time the recordings were played, giving broader perspectives into the recordings and case.
Major Cockrum’s recordings released- spree which sent a shock wave across Liberia and Liberian diaspora communities, reached its epiphany last Saturday when she made another appearance on another talk show, “Issue in the Press” in the United States and implicated President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for her dilemma, revealing that she provided the recordings to the Liberian leader and Defense Mnister long before the government issued the indictment in an attempt to furnish the President with the details of the setup for her to intervene to avert the shame on the recordings but she refused at all attempts only to leave her to be persecuted on false claims.
The recordings have embarrassed the Liberian government and troubled the people of Liberia as evident in the barrage of opinions and frustration expressed on shows and media, causing the government to scramble in an effort to contain the embarrassment and find a way to prevent Ms Cockrum from releasing more recordings.
Information at the disposal of this outlet confirms that the Liberian government has over the course of the playing of the recordings and Major Cockrum’s last Saturday appearance on a talk show at which time she implicated the Liberian leader, the government has launched a frantic back door effort to enter into negotiation with Major Cockrum to avoid her releasing more recordings and reach a deal to drop the case against her and others.