Liberia: Defense Minister Resigned?

There are reports that the Minister of National Defense, Brownie J. Samukai, has tendered in his letter of resignation to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. According to the reports obtained from officialdom over the weekend, Minister Samukai tendered in his resignation to President Johnson-Sirleaf recently.

The reports accentuated that Minister Samukai, who is considered as the longest serving minister in the Johnson-Sirleaf led government, did not attend the cabinet meeting held last Friday, but he was instead represented by his deputy, suggesting that he (Samukai) had indeed resigned.

However, the reports divulged that President Johnson-Sirleaf is yet to accept her defense minister’s alleged letter of resignation. But the reports could not be independently verified up to press time.

The reports of the defense minister’s alleged resignation come in the wake of calls by the public for him to do so. The calls by the public have been triggered by what have been described as anti-government comments uttered by Samukai on a secret recording,something, which the public averred, havethe potential to undermine the very government he (Samukai) is serving.

The secret recording was released by the former Managing Director of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA),Madam Ellen Corkrum.

The secret recording was played on Fabric Radio in Sinkor, Monrovia early this month. According to the secret recording, the defense minister heavily defended the former LAA boss to the extent that he termed her alleged involvement in the LAA alleged corruption scandal as “administrative lapses” and not “malpractices”.

The LAA is the regulatory authority of the James Spriggs Payne Airport and the Roberts International Airport(RIA). It can be recalled that last month, the Liberian Government through the Special Grand Jurors for the County of Montserrado County, Republic of Liberia indicted Madam Corkrum currently resident in the United States of America and several others with the crimes- Economic Sabotage, Theft of Property, Criminal Conspiracy and Misapplication of Entrusted Property.

But Samukai, who appeared on Fabric Radio following the release of the secret recording, said the reason why he opened up to Corkrum during their discussion, which was reportedly held behind close door, was because he trusted her sincerity.

“Ellen is someone who visited me many times at my office, and many times at my house. I also did same, and so I had no reason of doubt not to trust her sincerity,” he stated.

He claimed that he helped the former LAA boss to win the job from which she was dismissed. “As a friend, I made every effort to make her resume claims the position of attention. And her resume got the desired attention that everybody was happy,” Min. Samukai pointed out.

According to him, his intention was not to judge or prejudge a case, neither was he a party to a case. He said based on the explanation by Madam Corkrum, he was giving his own interpretation of the case as he understands it.

“It was an open and friendly discussion. It wasn’t like a conspiracy against anyone at all. It was my personal opinion, and it doesn’t mean that it was a fact to the case,” he among other things added.