Monrovia- The Stage Media (TSM) has obtained a communication from the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) requesting an investigation of its Vice-Chair Cllr. Kanio Bai Gbala on acts of corruption at the commission.
A communication dated February 12, 2021, from the Executive Director, Atty. Mohammed Fahnbulleh says upon the nomination by President George Weah, Cllr. Gbala told Executives of LACC that he has resigned from UNDP, which was untrue.
“He grassed said trust imposed in him by the President and willfully, deliberately with the intent to steal from the Government of Liberia misled then Executive Chairperson Cllr. Ndubuisi Nwabudike, former commissioner Charles J.L Gibson III, and I …. he told us that he has resigned, departed, separated, with UNDP and was immediately assuming his position at LACC,” the communication states.
October 2019, Cllr. Gbala took his vehicle and instructed the Executive Director to placed him on the payroll the same month which was done.
The complainant said Cllr. Gbala simultaneously took a salary for October- January 2020 at the commission and UNDP.
“I received information that the Vice-Chairperson was still working at UNDP and took salary the same periods/months we (LACC) paid him. In fact, on several occasions, he drove LACC’s vehicle marked 3501 to work at UNDP office, “Atty. Fahnbulleh said.
He said the Human Resource was instructed to create his personnel file and specifically request Cllr. Gbala’s appointment letter and resignation letter from UNDP.
“When he submitted his resignation letter, his last day of work at the UNDP confirmed that the Vice-Chairperson was in the employ of UNDP and took payment for the same months LACC paid him.”
Atty Fahbulleh cites article 90(b) of the Constitution of Liberia which states” No person holding a public office shall demand and receive any other perquisites, emoluments or benefits, directly or indirectly, on account of any duty required by the government”.
According to the complainant, LACC Vice-Chairperson conduct violates Part Six, Section 6.3 of LACC’s Act of 2008 which specifically required Commissioners to have “Good moral character”, and Section 3.7 titled “Honesty” of the National Code of Conduct which states among other things” All public officials & employees of Government shall NOT deceive, knowingly mislead others, or be influenced by improper means for the purpose of obtaining personal gain..”.
“The Vice-Chairperson demonstrated the lack of integrity, lack of honesty and moral standing to continue to work and lead committed practitioners of anti-corruption fight serving under challenging moments to help the government’s Pro-Poor Agenda.”
A second count of corruption was allegedly exhibited by Cllr. Gbala was in August 2020.
“He received DSA in the amount of ($50,000) fifty thousand Liberian dollars, fuel valued $1,474.75, and scratch cards valued at around $300.00 to travel for the Regional Consultative Meeting in Grand Gedeh County and he never travelled. He refused to return the money, cards and fuel.”
“It may interest you to know that as junior staff to the boss, I have travelled and returned unused DSA to the Finance office as a demonstration of integrity, accountability and honesty, Atty Fahbulleh said.
The communication furthers that on August 20, 2020, a cash advance of $500.00 was reportedly paid to the Vice- Chairperson for the Ministry of Information press briefing, and Cllr. Gbala is yet to account for the money despite several requests from the Finance unit.
“Mr. Program Manager, the moment has come for you and your team to demonstrate courage, consistency, impendence and impartiality to the Liberian people. Our partners can help change the perception of corruption in Liberia. We should not protect our own and investigate others!”
Meanwhile, Atty. Fahnbulleh has requested the Program Chair to special with the HR, Acting Comptroller & ED) and Cllr. Gbala on the count of double salaries,
“On the count of travel, please contact PM Kingsley Team leader, Moses Kowo, ED & Comptroller)
TSM has established Cllr. Gbala on his Linkedin confirmed that he worked with UNDP as a volunteer from August 2019-February 2020.
“I lead and manage the process of the identification and deployment of skilled human resources assets for the United Nations System in Liberia. In this role, I liaise with the 17 agencies, funds and programs (AFPs) constituting the UN Country Team to ensure effective and efficient program delivery by our cohort of 55 national and international volunteers. I as well as serve as the primary representative of the UN Volunteers Program in Liberia.”
Though on his Twitter Page, Cllr. Gbala didn’t state whether or not he was in the employ of UNDP, he actively tweeted activities of the Organization.
“True respect for human rights is about the minority, never the majority. Until we show respect for the rights of women/girls and LGTBQI folks, we will have achieved very little in our quest to fight inequality. #StandUp4HumanRights @ohchr @UNDP @UN_Liberia “This tweet was done on December 11, 2019.
Also, on December 9, 2019, on his Facebook Page, Cllr. Gbala posted “We (@UNDP ) have always been on the frontlines of addressing the causal factors of inequality across Africa and the world beyond. Today #UNDP Liberia launches the Liberia Human Development Report. This platform offers another opportunity to recalibrate our efforts and build a more resilient Liberia. #HDR2019 @UN_Liberia #Development_Nomad #Beyond_Numbers
A Liberian Journalist questioned him if he turned down the LACC’ job offer.
Cllr. Gbala in a text exchange said “These are all false allegations and I welcome any investigation. The Executive Director has levied these false allegations because I along with other members of the LACC board of commissioners as well as ordinary staff reviewed his contract mid last year and decided not to renew based on non-performance.”
According to him, based on pleas from LACC Chairman Ndubuisi Nwabudike the Executive Director is allowed to stay in said position temporarily until the commission concludes its national Anticorruption conference amongst other activities.
“Now that Chairman Nwabudike is set to leave on February 26, he (Fahnbulleh) is afraid that his contract will be terminated, thus these false allegations.”
Cllr. Gbala said he was appointed by President Weah on October 18, 2019. “I tendered my letter of resignation to the UNDP on November 11, 2019.”
We have contacted the UNDP to verify the claims and will update this story if they do reply to our inquiry.