Liberia: Appointment Screw-Up in President’s Office – Man Sought in Us for Fraud Gets Letter

Monrovia — Vice President Jeremiah Koung has reportedly misled President Joseph Boakai into making a rather controversial appointment, that is likely to bring international embarrassment to the Boakai-led government, particularly in regard to the government of the United States.

FrontPageAfrica has been reliably informed that the Vice President prevailed on the President late Wednesday to appoint Mr. Daniel Johnson, an accountant and former staffer at the International Republican Institute(IRI), who was once pursued by a United States District Court on charges of wire fraud and Theft of Property, as the new Secretary General of the Roberts Flight Information Region.

The Vice President told FrontPageAfrica late Thursday that he had no role in the appointment of Johnson.

In August 2008, Johnson was handcuffed amid accusations that he embezzled funds from the IRC. He was pursued by a US District Court but an attempt to have him extradited did not materialize.

Johnson was special Assistant to former Minister of Transport Angela Cassell Bush. When former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf appointed Bush as the Deputy to Roberts Flight, Cassell took along her Special Assistant Daniel Johnson. When President George Weah took over in 2018, Bush was driven out of the office as was the case with most appointees. Johnson remained at the Roberts flight and was the special assistant to Lasana Sannor, the embattled current Secretary General of the Roberts Flight Information Region.

In August 2008, Johnson was handcuffed amid accusations that he embezzled funds from the IRC. He was pursued by a US District Court but an attempt to have him extradited did not materialize.

Multiple sources closed to the presidency confirmed to FrontPageAfrica that Johnson’s appointment was deliberately removed from the appointment list released late Wednesday out of fear that it would raise a red flag with the United States embassy in Monrovia. As a result, Johnson’s name did not appear on the list, but was given to him quietly by Koung.

VP Koung’s insistence came against the backdrop of multiple warnings by several inner circle officials that it would pose embarrassment to the Boakai government.

FrontPageAfrica has learned that the letter was reportedly pushed on the insistence of Vice President Jeremiah Koung, whose wife has a long friendship with Johnson’s wife.

It is the relationship FrontPageAfrica has learned was used by the Vice President to push the appointment through without the knowledge of the President. Two members of the President’s inner circle confirmed to FrontPageAfrica Thursday that the President was pressured by Koung to make the appointment against the advice of better-judgement officials making the case against it.

This is the second time in as many weeks that Prince Johnson’s Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction, using Vice President Koung, has tried to push through a controversial nominee to a job with international implications and significance.

The President’s recent appointment of Cooper Kruah, has hit a wall with his confirmation hearing apparently in limbo amid reports that the nomination has been quietly withdrawn.

The Robert Flight Information Region that was established in 1978 through a ratified agreement by Mano River Union Countries was revised in 2022 giving tenure positions to its appointed Secretary Generals. Article 3(4) provides for a tenure of 4years for the Secretary General for administration and a position being occupied by Liberia for which Lasana B. Sannor was reappointed by former President Weah.

However, Sannor’s appointment raised a red flag from the new government with some Unity Party officials arguing that under the agreement with the Mano River Union, the position is not one the President can make but one which has to be done by the council of ministers of Transport by the three Mano River countries, preceded by a letter from the Minister of Transport in Liberia.

It is an argument from Unity Party stalwarts, FrontPageAfrica has gathered, that led to Sannor losing his claim on the position because President Weah did not have the authority to appoint him.

The letter to Mr. Johnson from the President obtained by FrontPageAfrica, bearing what is supposed to be the President’s signature reads:

Dear Mr. Johnson:

I am pleased to appoint you as Deputy Secretary General for Administrative Affairs, Roberts Flight Information Region.

Your appointment is based on your qualification, experience, and commitment. We trust that you will continue to demonstrate diligence, commitment, and loyalty in service to your country.

Please accept my personal congratulations.

FrontPageAfrica has also gathered that the new minister of Transport, Sirleaf Tyler, who appeared for his confirmation before the Senate Committee on Transport, is also not in the know of the appointment.

Early this week, Sannor came under attack by outsiders calling for his ouster from the position. Sannor has been in the position since 2018 when he was first appointed by President Weah.

Sannor told FrontPageAfrica after the incident that he was attacked by men believed to be supporters of the Unity Party. “They demanded I leave my office or be made to leave as it is their job and time. They made all sorts of threats on my life and that of my family. I am calling on the ruling establishment/ government to please intervene as I am not taking this for granted.”

In recent days, FrontPageAfrica has learned that a number of Unity Party supporters have been pushing for the position and aiming to have Sannor replaced, despite what Sannor believed to be a tenured position.

FrontPageAfrica was later informed that although Sannor had a letter from the President, his argument to stay on the job did not hold.

The controversy over appointments is causing serious embarrassment for the president amid leaks and sudden withdrawals of nominees on social media. It is unclear why Vice President Koung chose to push through an appointment of someone wanted for theft of property and fraud by the United States government, to such an important position, flying the flag of Liberia in the West African subregion.

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