The news that the Managing Director of the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (LIBTELCO), Sebastian Muah, has denied claims by the FrontPage Africa newspaper that he owns 10 percent shares in a Central African Republic (CAR) Casino business, does not come as a surprise at all.
This was this same individual who wrecked the brilliant Liberian Poverty Reduction Strategy that was intended to transform Liberia from its depth of backwardness it finds itself today. Muah, a former computer repair man who barely had a job in the State of Georgia where he resided here in the United States, was also put over our postwar shabby budget as Deputy Minister, having embellished his resume with an NBA he never earned.
After a number of budget shortfalls and dismal showdowns, Muah was transferred to LIBTELCO where he believed, he could perform the miracle he has not acquired as a resident of the United States, the land of opportunities.
Accordingly, Muah told the Liberia News Agency (LINA) on Friday January 6, 2017, one of his usual lines of uncanny responses, that the distinguished Editor of the Front Page Newspaper, Rodney Sieh was apparently seeking to criminally extort money from him. Muah went on to inform LINA, that Rodney's alleged attempt to extort money from him goes back to October of last year from email exchanges between the two men.
'Mr. Sieh decided to publish the story to pre-empt an investigation into a complaint he (Muah) had filed with the office of the President of Liberia against Sieh for extortion," Muah claimed.
According to the claims made by Director Muah, "the Justice Ministry has already written Mr. Sieh, informing him of the complaint and citing him to a meeting to begin the probe for the alleged extortion."
On Friday of January 6, 2017, the FrontPage newspaper published a story in which it said that the LIBTELCO boss "had acquired a 10 percent stake in a casino in Bangui, the Central African Republic." A subsequent report carried on Front Page Africa, confirmed that LINA was in possession of the letter from the Ministry of Justice Ministry, dated January 5, inviting authorities of the paper for a meeting on Tuesday, January 10, in line with the extortion allegations.
Based on the LINA report, Justice Minister Frederick Doe Cherue informed the FrontPage Africa authorities that the allegation is, "indeed, a concern to the Government of Liberia in light of the portfolio that Mr. Muah occupies."
Speaking to reporters last week, Mr. Muah further claimed that he has forwarded similar complaint to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission.
"I believe that the email exchanges between Mr. Sieh and I clearly shows desperation on the part of Mr. Sieh to extort money from me and, thereby, becoming the subject of a another criminal law suit," Mr. Muah threatened.
It can be recalled that former Agriculture Minister Christopher Toe sued FrontPage Africa in 2013 for libel and was awarded US$1.5 million by the Supreme Court of Liberia in the famous case.
This wrongful use of our justice system to intimidate the press in a nation of impunity, has become the common weapon for many corrupt officials of government in Liberia. It can be recalled, that amidst the unexplained bankruptcy of the National Oil Company of Liberia, NOCAL, the once Chair of its Board of Trustees who spearheaded the company to its shameful demise, Robert Sirleaf once threatened to sue Mr. Sieh for reporting on "the misappropriation of monies at NOCAL."
Mr. Sieh continues to receive his share of maltreatments from our nation's public officials for his efforts to expose impunity and corruption in our public sector. It can be said, that even the President of Liberia, Madam Sirleaf was advised to withdraw a libel lawsuit against the very Rodney Sieh.