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Formal complaint against Rep. Lester Paye of District #4 (Bong County)

 

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honorable J. Alex Tyler        Representative Lester M. Paye
Capitol Building, Capitol Hill
Monrovia, Liberia

Dear Honorable Tyler;

Patience M. Gorneleh is my only daughter and a sophomore at the University of
Liberia. She is a decent person and a law abiding citizen of District #4, Bong
County, which is represented by Honorable Lester Paye in the Liberian House of
Representatives.

On January 10, 2013, Patience filed a formal complaint against Honorable Paye for
inappropriately using his legislative authority to influence the outcome of serious
criminal offenses committed by Austin Gorneleh and Jenkins Paye on December 30,
2012 in Moaga Town, Panta District.

This letter is in support of that complaint. Thus, at the center of the complaint is
how Representative Paye inappropriately and arrogantly interjected himself into the
private case against the offenders named above by intentionally obstructing justice
and stopping the offenders from being transported to Gbarnga City to face justice on
January 3, 2013.  Rep. Paye’s picture is at the top (right) of the letter.

Patience and I view this conduct as a serious abuse of legislative
authority and an affront to her and Ochina Gorneleh who suffered physical harm,
death threat and physical assault at the hands of the offenders.

It is truly unfortunate that Honorable Paye sided with the offenders and not the
victims by stopping the arresting officer from transporting the offenders to Gbarnga
to face justice and providing them a safe haven in Foequelleh and then transporting
them in his Liberian-Government-issued vehicle to Gbarnga on January 4.

Meanwhile, while in Gbarnga, Honorable Paye attempted and failed to withdraw the case from
court because of my insistence. To add insult to injury, Honorable Paye personally
arranged for a team of legal counsels to represent the offenders and underwrote the
cost of a round-trip from Foequelleh Town to Gbarnga for the offenders, their
witnesses and relatives. I believe this is wrong.

Realizing that they did not go to jail on January 3 and had been lodged by Honorable
Paye in Foequelleh Town that night and then transported to Gbarnga City in the
representative’s vehicle, the offenders became emboldened and started boasting of
their special relationship with the representative. The representative’s action also
undermines efforts to curb crimes in the district by appropriately punishing those
who are duly tried and convicted by the court. But, it saddens me that the
representative did not support Patience and Ochina Gorneleh during the ordeal.

This is why his interference in the case is unfortunate because it sends the wrong
message to Austin and Jenkins that crime pays and provides easy access to powerful
lawmakers such as Honorable Paye. This unfortunate behavior must stop now to avoid a
breakdown in law and order in the district.

If history is any guide to the future, then the most recent memory of the civil
strife in Liberia clearly reminds us that unethical behaviors and the abuse of power
must not go unpunished.

To do otherwise is to encourage powerful people in government to undermine the
government’s effort to restore law and order in the district and Liberia as a whole.
The district cannot afford a return to the old days when powerful individuals wrote
their own laws and enforce those same laws at will without check and balance.

In this regard, the best way to minimize this type of abuse of power is to sanction
and expose such behaviors whenever they occur. The district cannot afford to ignore
such brazen abuse of power by any government officials and lawmakers. To do so is to
invite mistrust and the destruction of public confidence in government.

As a United States citizen and a State Tax Auditor, I am especially concerned about
maintaining the public’s trust by upholding the laws of the State of Ohio, and
ultimately the laws of the United States of America. In order to gain the public’s
confidence, public servants are expected to exhibit high ethical and professional
conducts at all times.

Unfortunately, I believe Representative Paye did not meet this minimum standard. His
conducts have blemished the reputation of the House of Representatives.

By contrast, if a member of the United States House of Representatives had behaved
this badly that lawmaker would have been severely reprimanded by the powerful House
Ethics Committee while facing calls of resignation by citizens of his constituency.

I strongly believe this matter has a potential of being exposed to the media in Liberia
and the United States, if the House of Representatives fails to properly address it
by holding Honorable Paye accountable for his inappropriate conducts.

Sincerely,

George K. Gorneleh

Contact Mr. Gorneleh at: ggorneleh@att.net

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