George K. Fahnbulleh

Ideas and Opinions...

Why I like BIG Government

Why I Like Big Government

You don't know the value of big government until you have lived in a place with small government.

When you dial 911 and get a first responder at your location in 5 minutes...that is big government.

When you can safely deposit your money in a bank, KNOWING the government GUARANTEES it will not be stolen by your banker, that is big government.

When you can drive from San Diego, CA to Portland, ME and NEVER hit a patch of DIRT ROAD, no matter the weather...thats big government.

When you have an emergency broadcast system to alert you to any impending safety situation, that's big government.

When you go to the bathroom and don't have a clue what happens to the waste when you flush the toilet, that you won't encounter it running down the street, that is big government.

When your children, no matter your economic status, have an opportunity to attend any college they are accepted because of government guaranteed student loans, that is big government.

When your city or town, is devastated by a tornado or hurricane, and FEMA is there in 12 hours, that is big government.

When you need kidney dialysis, and you can get it 3 times a week, that is big government.

When you can travel safely from one part of the country to another because of a government-run air traffic control system, that is big government.

When you have a child with special needs, who is given an opportunity, thru special education programs, to become an independent citizen, that is big government.

When you can buy food at the market and have the confidence that you and your children will not die in 48 hours from some food-based pathogen...thats big government.

When you walk on a sidewalk and see the cutout for handicap accessibility, that is big government.

None of these things happen by "magic." Where I came from none of these things happen. So when you give me that BS about hating "big government" you don't have a freaking clue what I'm talking about. If you think I'm wrong, let's go live in Liberia for 6 months, then tell me what you think of "big government." Until then Shut the hell up!

In Liberia: Tripping over their Ignorance

I have watched for the past 3 weeks, as the Opposition Coalition, has tried in vain to challenge the NEC's conduct of the election.  The reason they are failing so miserably is they have approached this as a legal issue, with no forensic/technical basis.  We see a room full of esteemed lawyers arguing and peacocking about "the law." Each determined to show how much law he knows.  We get it already. You are experts at law.

However, these esteemed lawyers are totally ignorant of the forensics which could strengthen their case.  

The NEC made the voter rolls available to parties on a USB drive.  Those voter rolls were in PDF format. Yes, the NEC provided a list of 2 million voters on paper, for the political parties!!!

This is strike one.  Did the NEC deliberately provide the voter rolls on paper to make the voter rolls inscrutable? It is not possible to query such a list in any reasonable period of time.  Why not an Excel spreadsheet? But what you don't know, you don't know.

Be that as it may, there are technology tools, which will allow you to take a report in pdf and convert it back to a database.

A Liberian technology expert performed this task and shared his results with me.  On their face, they point to an astounding level of technical incompetence, that seems almost criminal.  It is one of those things when you see, and your professional, yes professional opinion is "no person can be this stupid."

There were more than 15,000 (fifteen thousand) duplicate voter IDs.  There were more than 100 persons age 105 - 215.  The latter is a data entry quality control issue.  The former, however, points to the incompetence mentioned above.

A fundamental concept of Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) is the idea  every row (record) must have a unique identifier.  This unique identifier can only occur once in a table, hence the word "unique".  There are two ways to do this, which allows the system to enforce these constraints:
a) make the specific column the primary key
b) add a "unique constraint" to the column

That column for the voter registration database should be the VoterID number.  Again, because each voter must have a unique voter ID number, the database design must have designated the VoterID column as the "primary key" or placed a "unique constraint" on the column, if a different primary key was used. 

The fact there were 15,000 duplicate voterID's in the file, suggests neither of these fundamental architectural/design constraints were put in.  Let me be clear, if you registered for "Introduction to Databases" and dropped the class after 2 weeks, you would have learned about "primary keys."

In light of this apparently fatal technical flaw, the litigants should have then demanded:
1) the NEC freeze the database (by making a certified copy and removing that copy from the premises.)
2) a copy of the database be given to the litigants for inspection.

This would have allowed the litigants to actually query the database and note all of its design/data flaws.

Also important is whether or not the NEC built an "Audit Trail" into the database.  For high-security databases, it is necessary to record and track all changes made to the data, capture who made the change, and the date and time it was made.  For example, if someone changes the data in a middle name column from "K" to "Karmoh" that change is automatically recorded in a separate table.  This allows for secure monitoring of changes to the data.  The absence of an audit trail means the NEC has no reliable mechanism to tell which changes were made, by whom, and when.

Back to the absence of primary keys and/or unique constraint of the VoterID.  The design/architecture flaw here is so severe, it is impossible to believe there are not even more serious flaws in the database.  It is also impossible to know for certain, without an inspection of a copy of the actual database.

How, if at all, did the NEC correct the problem of 15,000 duplicate voter IDs? Is there an audit trail which shows how the correction was handled?

I can understand all of this technology mumbo-jumbo, is confusing to the lawyers and layman alike.  However, that the lawyers did not have database experts to challenge the NEC over these questions, is where I believe their case was doomed.

Sometimes you have to get out of your own way.


President Sirleaf and the Unity Party Intend to contract or sell everything Before they leave Office

The government of Liberia is looking to enter into a BOOT model contract for e-visas, with less than 4 months left until a new government comes in. I examine the technical requirements, by the government, which are farcical, later in this piece. But first, some housekeeping.

What is the BOOT model?

"BOOT (build, own, operate, transfer) is a public-private partnership (PPP) project model in which a private organization conducts a large development project under contract to a public-sector partner, such as a government agency. A BOOT project is often seen as a way to develop a large public infrastructure project with private funding…Such contracts are typically long-term and may extend to 40 or more years."

The BOOT model is entirely unnecessary and does not apply to this type of contract (which would cost under $2M USD). There is no need for any party to BUILD the technology infrastructure (storage, database, transport, ecommerce) can all be purchased using the “SAAS” or Software As A Service model. Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services are two vendors offer these types of infrastructure services.

The issue here is the services being requested, cannot, in any way, be considered “a large public infrastructure project.” The requirements in the Request for Proposal, are vague, specious, devoid of any over-arching technology philosophy. Reading the RFP, it is obvious it was SPECIFICALLY WRITTEN by a specific “vendor” with a “specific vendor” in mind.

This contract will essentially ensure, for the next 10, 20, 30 years that some group, family, cartel will get a percentage of each and every Liberian visa issued.

Imagine this: if there are 50,000 visas issued annually and the “cartel” gets $50 per visa, the “cartel” collects $2.5M annually. Extend that over a 10 – 30 year period, the amount balloons to $25M - $75M.

Why do people believe they must “soak” the Liberian people in perpetuity?

FYI, the Maritime contract with LISCR was a BOOT contract. The GoL did not spend the money to build the data infrastructure, as a result, the infrastructure is owned by LISCR and the price for turning over that infrastructure is so exorbitant, it is unaffordable.

So the question is why would the Unity Party government be in such haste, to commit to a long term contract, for a project that will not be implemented BEFORE 2018, tying the hands of the next government? This is a question I would actually like BOTH the President, and the Vice President to answer.

Sadly this is not the only such “contract” being entered into.

The National Identification Registry is embarking on a $6M USD, biometric ID card project in October (the election month). Their plans call for them to build two (2) datacenters, even though there is an unutilized data center at LIBTELCO. According to the NIR, they will register 50 persons a day. At this rate, it will take 252 years, to provide IDs to 4.7 million people. They are obviously in it for the long haul. Haul being the operative word.

The NIR has contracted with a Kenyan company to provide the service. The software and technology is not developed by the Kenyan company. They are simply the vendor who will implement the service.

Then there is the NEC, which has reportedly hired a Ghanaian company, to do/manage database work for them.

How is it that the most important, private data, data with national security and privacy implications is being given to foreign companies, as if there are no Liberians, anywhere in the world, with the capability.

Government agents standard arguments is people “have to be on the ground.” Since when did Kenya, and Ghana become “on the ground” in Liberia? Is it simply that they are planning for their lives outside Liberia? The people of Liberia will continue to suffer, while past leaders make money off them for the next 30 years.

What is obvious, in these contracts, is there seems to be a concerted effort, to direct all of the GoL information technology contracts AWAY from Liberians and Liberian companies. This hinders the development of the sector in LiberIa. How many Liberian companies are there working for the Ghanian Election Commission or the Kenyan Biometric Registry?

The VP/UP Problem
The problem for the Vice President, is he cannot run to continue the Unity Party governance, while at the same time, claim he has been oblivious to these types of shenanigans.

Analysis of the E-Visa Request for Proposal

The term service provider is actually the “integrator,” and speaks to a lack of understanding of the types of vendors that do this kind of work.

1) The Service Provider must have been in the Software Engineering business for at least 10 years.

This is a lark, because these e-visa packages are not “developed/engineered” by the service provider. The developer of the software, and the software itself should meet those standards, not the “service provider.” This is like demanding the Toyota dealership have 10 years in the car manufacturing business.

2) The Service Provider must be accredited in the key software technologies used in the development of the Web Based Online Visa Application CMM Level 5 Certification is preferred.

Again, this continues to conflate the actual developer of the software with the “service provider.”

3) The Service Provider shall demonstrate experience in the development of large and comparable software systems in the government sector. Experience working with the Liberian government will be an added advantage.

These are software packages that are purchased. If the government of Liberia were actually serious and committed to the development of the ecosystem for these types of services, it would not contract with a separate vendor for the National Identification Registry, the Biometric/e-passport, and the e-visa.

This is death by a thousand contracts, where each contract is a vehicle for some person and/or group to CHOP.

Financial Criteria:

The turnover of the company should be more than $10 million. How many Liberian IT companies “turnover” $10M. This should tell the reader, there is no intention to allow Liberian companies to qualify for such a bid.


The government is determined to solicit multiple solutions for several requirements that can be addressed by a single integrated platform. This is yet another example of spending large amounts on a solution that can be purchased at a fraction of the cost.

What is even more painful, is the determination of this government, to develop a vibrant internal software services sector, which would further create learning opportunities for Liberian youth.

It is my hope that the next government will do an audit of ALL the technology projects, including those sponsored by aid dollars, and where there is malfeasance in contracting, it will go after, those “former officials” with malice, no matter where in the world they try to hide.

Integrity is not the solution for Corruption in Africa

"Show me a country with poor record keeping systems, and I will show you a poor country every time" 

The fight against corruption, in Liberia, is not about integrity. It is about having RECORD SYSTEMS that can adequately track all transactions. Most African nations, Liberia included, are woefully deficient in their record keeping systems.

How come Liberians who exist in the West seem to not have these "integrity" problems? As soon as they get to Liberia, their "lack of integrity" shows up. Because in the West, record keeping systems exist that will catch them more often than not, so they do not risk committing the offenses.

The DEFAULT proposition is "you will be caught." In Africa, the DEFAULT proposition is "you will NOT be caught."

In other words, people in the West ARE FORCED to be honest, whether they want to or not, BECAUSE of the systems in place.

Another thing that forces honesty, in the West, is the REDUCED USE of CASH for financial transactions. Those credit/debit card transactions force the transactions into RECORD KEEPING SYSTEMS.

In Africa, the vast majority of the transactions are cash transactions, which leave room for theft, at every collection point of the transfer of said transaction.

As long as we continue to look at it as an "integrity" problem we will miss the mark. It is a lack of systems problem.

You can have systems of Accountability without computer systems

What process is used to standardize the collection of data for people requesting or receiving a government service/benefit?

It is not just about "computer systems."

The PAPER FORM is the most BASIC CONSTRUCT for data collection and management. In developed countries, people requesting something from the government must fill out a form. Design of those forms and their elements are controlled by a central entity and the agency requesting the benefit/action is being requested.

In the US, that federal agency is the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
-The elements and/or wording on those forms can only be altered after a rigorous process between the agency and OMB.
-Any computer systems which capture the data from those forms must be updated before a new version of the form is put into circulation.
-PUBLIC NOTICE must be given, as to the changes to the form.
-These notices and regulations are published in the Federal Register.

Once a new version of a form is released, the old version CAN no longer be used to request or submit information to the government.

So I am not speaking only about computers in any discussion of DATA SYSTEMS. Data systems include all instruments used to collect data.

Why Obamacare is Necessary

The 1986 Emergency Medical Treatement and Active Labor Act, makes medical care A RIGHT, as it mandates

"hospital Emergency Departments that accept payments from Medicare to provide an appropriate medical screening examination (MSE) to individuals seeking treatment for a medical condition, regardless of citizenship, legal status, or ability to pay. There are no reimbursement provisions. Participating hospitals may not transfer or discharge patients needing emergency treatment except with the informed consent or stabilization of the patient or when their condition requires transfer to a hospital better equipped to administer the treatment."

What does this actually mean? "There are no reimbursement provisions" means the hospitals and/or doctors bear the COST of treatment of an uninsured person requiring emergency care. How do you remedy this?

At the core of ObamaCare is something called the "individual mandate." The Individual Mandate requires every person to purchase health insurance. As with auto insurance, a portion of the coverage is for taking care of the owner of the vehicle; a portion also serves to INDEMNIFY the owner against the financial harm he/she would cause to others. In plain English, it ensures the damage you cause to someone else is covered.

The individual mandate is also at the core of Republican objections to ObamaCare: they claim the government should not "force" people to purchase health insurance. However, the individual mandate is not some socialist construct, dreamed up by a socialist Kenyan.

"The concept of the individual health insurance mandate is considered to have originated in 1989 at the conservative Heritage Foundation. In 1993, Republicans twice introduced health care bills that contained an individual health insurance mandate. Advocates for those bills included prominent Republicans who today oppose the mandate including Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Robert Bennett (R-UT), and Christopher Bond (R-MO). In 2007, Democrats and Republicans introduced a bi-partisan bill containing the mandate. " ~ The History of the Individual Health Insurance Mandate 1988-2010

The second accomplishment of the individual mandate, is about how insurance functions. Insurance functions by the pooling of premiums to cover the actuarial risks. This means we all pay our premiums to cover the small percentage of us who would have catastrophic losses. While those risks can be mitigated, in the case of drivers, by regulations such has control of driver's licenses, it is not the same for healthcare. The older people get, the more likely they will have one or more catastrophic health and thus financial events.

So with the individual mandate, requiring every person to buy health insurance, THE POOL of younger, healthier people is greatly expanded, and allows for the coverage of the older persons, with greater risks of catastrophic illness.

The Fly in the Ointment

There is however, a fly in the ointment, private insurance companies.

The massive role of the insurance company in health care serves no purpose other than to transfer money from the health care providers to a group of people who provide no services, yet saddle practices with mountains of paperwork and regulations. Yet these are the very same "industry people" who consistently complain about "government regulations."

Private health insurance, is the sweetest business proposition in the history of business. They insure people just up to the actuarial age, where they are most likely to have a catastrophic health event, 65. After which the patient is turned over to "the government" Medicare.

Persons with expensive kidney failure, who have private insurance, are automatically turfed to the government Medicare system.

So this leaves us with a government run medical insurance program, which by definition, insures the sickest people.

The Remedy

The remedy of this is to lower the Medicare eligibility age, to bring healthier people into the pool.

Let me be clear, this is not "socialized medicine," it is a single payer system. The services provided to patients, insured by Medicare, are provided by physicians in private practice.

This contrasts with an actual socialized medicine program like the Veterans Administration, where the government owns and runs the entire system.

There are those who will argue that a government run system is inherently a bad system. My own experience tells me differently. My experience as a practice administrator, informs me Medicare is the most efficiently run insurance plan out there.

The administrative costs of dealing with private insurance can be as high as 14% of annual revenue. As a practice administrator, whose practice saw nearly 70% Medicare patients, and 30% private insured patients, we incurred a cost as high as 7% just to be able to submit our bills to these private insurance companies. Let me repeat, the 30% of our patients who are privately insured are in fact responsible for nearly 90% of our billing related expenses.

One study has shown the average administrative cost to practices to deal with insurance company pre-authorizations, referrals, and drug approvals is $80,000.

Related to the above, every insurance company has its own set of rules. Every insurance company has its own set of tricks to delay and/or avoid payment to a physician for as long as they can. One such trick is the "we need your Tax ID number trick." This usually occurs at least once a year, from a company that has been sending the practice checks for the past 8 months. How is it, all of a sudden, they need the Tax ID before they can send out the next check? Did all the Tax ID's in their computer system get erased by the IT intern? I doubt it. Every doctor in private practice will tell you the same story: there is no greater threat to their existence than the Health Insurance Industry.

This systematic delay of payments is based on something financial people call "float." Imagine purchasing a Visa gift card as a Christmas gift today. The card is not actually used until after New Years. This allows Visa to hold and invest your money on the short term market. Companies can forecast the average number of days it takes a person to use some/all of these types of funds. The same concept it at work here.

Reimbursement to primary care physicians has not increased at all in the past 20 years; at the same time the cost of health insurance is up 131% over the last 10 years.

To get a grasp of the shocking amount of money sucked out of the health care marketplace by insurance companies one only has to look at the retirement package provided to former United Health care CEO "Dollar" Bill McGuire, who was walked away from his health insurance company with more than $2 billion in his retirement package. This same pattern is par for the course in private health insurance companies. The median CEO pay in 2010 was $10 million dollars.

Click to see list of Compensation Leaders for Healthcare

If one places this income inequality in the context of the recent CBO report, it is easy to see the stark contrast in the health care industry when you compare the income gap between the "providers of health care services" to that of the insurance company executives, with the providers being to do more and more for their patients, while the insurance executives compensation continues to escalate.

Policing: I call bullshit on that!!!

No we don't "all need to change." I expect criminals will continue to be criminals. I expect police, whose job it is to fight crime, will do their jobs in a manner consistent with the constitution in a way that is not criminal.

What is going on with bad policing, has been going on for decades: 30+ years ago Richard Pryor satirized it when he say "it says right there in the manual "you can break a nigger."" 35 years ago Marvin Gaye, in his song "Inner City Blues (make me wanna holler)" sang about "trigger happy policing."

What HAS changed is the proliferation of video recorders, be they dash cams or cell phones, which provide additional perspective than the police "I feared for my life" narrative. Now that the misconduct is recorded and visible, the police position is "you don't know what it is to be a police officer."

Do I need to be a police officer to know that you don't shoot a fleeing Walter Scott 8 times in his back, try to plant your taser next to his body, and file false reports?

Do I need to be a police officer to know you don't fire your weapon in to a crowd and kill Rekia Boyd?

Do I need to be a police officer to know you don't arrive on a scene where there are several other police officers and SIX seconds after arriving you EMPTY your weapon into LeQuan McDonald?

Do I need to be a police officer to know you don't shoot Tamir Rice within TWO SECONDS of arriving on the scene?

Do I need to be a police officer to know, if you "fear for your life" you don't climb on the hood of the "suspects" car and fire 15 shots through the windshield killing Timothy Russell and Melissa Williams?

Do I need to be a police officer to know Officer Robocop of the Inkster police, who had been sued 4 times for excessive force, should not have been on the force, but for the consistent defense by other "good officers?"

Maybe I don't know what it is to be a police officer, but the officers in these instances definitely don't know what it is to be rational law abiding human beings!

No we don't "all need to change." I expect criminals will continue to be criminals. I expect police, whose job it is to fight crime, will do their jobs in a manner consistent with the constitution that is not criminal.

How exactly was Philando Castile supposed to change? He applied for and was granted a Conceal Carry Permit. He attended the required classes. Yes he had been ticketed 52 times in that past 8 years, with 35 of the charges dropped. Those numbers by themselves would suggest that he was either a very bad driver, or they are the result of targeted policing/ticketing. However, when coupled with the fact that 7% of the drivers in St. Anthony's are black, but that 7% receives 50% of the tickets, they tell a different tale.

So is it unreasonable to believe that this was simply another "good ole boy harassing stop of a black man" with a "wide set nose?" The officer claims he thought they were armed robbers, yet they did not execute a "felony stop?"

But what I am hearing from cops is not about their failure to follow procedure, but it is "he could have been a criminal." I call bullshit on that!

In Liberia: NOCAL, No Cash Available for Liberia

Liberia Oil Basin

NOCAL paid nearly $4 Million USD to the Liberian Legislature over the past 18 months. The company paid $1,000,000 for the nation wide tour for the legislators to consult with their constituents.

I previously posted a check made out to Sen. Sando Johnson for $31,000.00 immediately after The Legislature passed the last oil block lease.

31000 x 102 = 3,162,000

It is my studied opinion, that NOCAL fronted the money to the legislators directly out of its coffers.

The lease signed with Liberty Petroleum, which had never ever drilled an oil well, fell through when Liberty could not flip the lease (which they tried to do 48 hours after getting it), and NOCAL was not able to collect it $25 million signature bonus. Out 4 million dollars with nothing to show, the President wants a restructuring.

Global Witness warned that Liberty Petroleum was unlikely to perform.

Global Witness: Liberia Has Burned the Furniture to Warm the House Feb 27, 2015

 A major oil contract, offshore Block 16, was recently handed to a coalition of three companies. One of these appears to lack sufficient funds to operate the oil block, and another has close links to some of Liberia’s worst tax dodgers. 
(1) On 18 December the first, and so far only, of these contracts was finalised. Block 16 was awarded to US-based Liberty Petroleum, Nigerian-based Pillar Oil, and Liberian-based New Millennium Oil and Gas, who together paid US$ 22 million in signature bonuses and other payments. 

(2) US-registered Liberty holds a 90 percent stake in the contract. Yet the company has only seven employees and a 2014 declared turnover of just US$ 3 million.

(3) In contrast, assuming that Liberty’s contract complies with the Liberian government’s new model contract (the Block 16 contract is not yet public), Liberty and its junior partners must invest US$ 53 million in the next seven years in oil exploration.

(4) Liberty is part-owned, through a series of intermediary companies and trusts, by US Congressman Trent Franks, a Republican representing Arizona’s 8th District.

(3) In contrast, assuming that Liberty’s contract complies with the Liberian government’s new model contract (the Block 16 contract is not yet public), Liberty and its junior partners must invest US$ 53 million in the next seven years in oil exploration.

(4) Liberty is part-owned, through a series of intermediary companies and trusts, by US Congressman Trent Franks, a Republican representing Arizona’s 8th District.


Just as Global Witness had previously warned, on June 16, 2015, FrontPage Africa reported:

The President confirmed that US oil company Liberty Petroleum, and Nigerian oil company A-Z failed to stump up US$25 million in cash they promised for four oil licenses that they agreed to purchase in the oil auction. These initial payments are known as "signature bonuses" in the oil industry.

The President said her son, Robert Sirleaf had reorganized NOCAL and left it strong. Now less than two years after he left, the President is saying the staff needs to be cut to 50? 

Why didn't Robert Sirleaf's reorganization cut the staff?

Unless the President is telling us the staffing increased from 50 to 300 AFTER Robert Sirleaf left it is clear their claim, his and hers, they reorganized the company is patently false!

Because the legislature has been PAID every step of the way, is the reason you do not see them clamoring for an explanation of what happened to the company.

This, my fellow Liberians, is the damage this woman has done to the country: she has completely destroyed the separation of powers and has corrupted and conscripted the legislature as her crime partner.

The Reorganization Team

President Sirleaf also disclosed that an Interim Transition Team (ITT) composed of the current Chief Operating Officer, the Vice President for Finance and the Vice President for Technical Services will hold over in the transition period, with severance pay delayed until the period is over.

I find it curious that the interim transition team includes the Chief Operating Officer & VP for Finance both executives who should have been managing the finances and operations of the organization.

The Chief Operations Officer, Althea Sherman (nee Eastman) was Robert Sirleafs best friend and classmate at CWA, Class of 1978.  She was brought in as his direct representative.  The Vice President of Finance, Karmo D. Ville was hired by Robert Sirleaf. Two of the three people being held over, are direct hires of Robert Sirleaf.

The entire thing is being stage managed by the president. Her son was Board Chair. She appoints his best friend to run the day to day operations of the company. The company fails. The president says fire everybody EXCEPT my sons friends, the same people who ran the day to day operations and the finance of the company that was poorly managed, are now going to lead the transition?

The Friends & Family plan works for AT & T, but it does not work for a country. 

I seriously fear for the future of this country.

In Liberla: A Disgraceful Government


"The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it" ~ George Orwell

I read with the utmost amount of shame and disgust, the recent 17 (seventeen) page missive, by a national security operative of the Government of Liberia, Grant Solomon, against the former Justice Minister of Liberia, Christiana Tah. Three months after Madame Tah resigned from the Sirleaf government, the government is still undertaking an intense effort to discredit her. To me, it is evident the President and her National Security Team feel the need to impeach her credibility, to preempt and discredit anything she may say about her time in government.

I have included in this paper, an extensive bibliography, to demonstrate to the "security researcher" that when you write a 17 page document, you should include information which can be verified.

The manner of Madame Tah’s resignation, and the insight it provided into the President’s actions in obstructing investigations, was unlike any other resignation in this government.i

That fear was evident and confirmed in a letter to Madame Tah by the National Security Council, in which the government believed it was necessary to "admonish" Madame Tah, a lawyer, of her obligation not to divulge "state secrets."

Ironically, the people demanding she maintain secrecy, are now spreading gossip, not only about the workings of the Ministry of Justice, under Tah, but about her place of birth, her family life.

There are so many things that are disgusting and false about this piece, it is difficult to even begin to organize my thoughts. Some of the things that jump out at the reader, are not only the venom and vitriol in the letter, but the pettiness.

The piece does not simply deal with Madame Tah’s tenure at the Ministry of Justice, but delves into her personal life and attacks her marriage and her children. This is something low class people do. Mr. Solomon writes:

"She is married to Dr. Tah, a gynecologist, and almost twenty years her senior. The union is blessed with two children, a young lad, of less significance to society, and a budding young lady who is a caricature of her mother’s dual personality."

How is the age difference in a person’s marriage the concern of the national security agency? Mr. Solomon refers to Madam Tah’s son, who is autistic as "a young lad, of less significance to society." Thankfully, the young man is a citizen of a country, America, which values all of its citizens, even the ones with disabilities. What kind of human beings, let alone a President, and her National Security Team, attacks an autistic child to go after his mother?

Solomon goes on to say of Tah’s daughter "a budding young lady who is a caricature of her mother’s dual personality." This young lady has excelled with multiple degrees from some of the top universities in the world.

Although Mr. Solomon states Tah has the following academic credentials:

  1. Masters in Sociology / Corrections – Kent State University
  2. LLB Law Degree – Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law
  3. LLM Law Degree - Yale Law School

He attempts to diminish her credentials by suggesting she graduated from the Grimes Law School with a 2.1 GPA, when in fact she graduated Magna Cum Laude.

According to the Yale Law School website "Applicants for the LL.M. program must have completed their law degree at an accredited U.S. law school or a non-U.S. law school with substantially equivalent standards, and must have a strong record of academic accomplishment."ii

We are to be convinced that a person with a 2.1 GPA met the "strong record of academic accomplishment" required by Yale Law School.

The leaves one to wonder, why are these people so insecure that they seek to diminish the accomplishment of others.

It also begs the question: why would the President, not once, but twice, appoint a person of such low academic standing, first as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and later as Justice Minister?

The answer to the first question can be found in the President’s autobiography, "This Child Will Be Great." This is a woman who has been able to con the world that she is a "Harvard trained economist" over the past 12 years, when in fact, she has a 2 year degree from Madison Business CollegeIV, described in Wikipedia as:

"Madison Business College was the name of a business college in Madison, Wisconsin, founded in 1858. It was also known as Northwestern Business College and School of Shorthand, Capital City Commercial College, Madison College, Madison Junior College, and Madison Junior Business College; it closed on September 22, 1998."

She was able, through her work with the Government of Liberia, to parlay that 2 year degree into a 9 credit certificate program designed specifically for people from third world countries, by Harvard. Lawrence Summers, the former US treasury secretary, is a Harvard trained economist.

It is also noteworthy that this president has managed to drive out of her government just about every woman of qualification and substance including Antoinette Sayeh and Olubanke King-Akerele. Imagine a woman president who despises competent women; quite the contradiction.

The NSA robs Korean Businessmen

What seems to strike a raw nerve with the President and her entire National Security Team, was the public disclosure by Madame Tah, of the President’s refusal for the Ministry of Justice to investigate allegations of robbery against agents of the National Security Agency made by Korean businessmen.

Madame Tah’s allusion to this incident, in her resignation statement, so irked the President, that New York Times writer, cum Sirleaf biographer[i], Helene Cooper attempted to cast aspersions and derision on it, in her October 30, 2014 article.  Ms. Cooper wrote:

Ms. Tah, used her resignation news conference to accuse Ms. Johnson Sirleaf of trying to block a corruption investigation into Liberia’s National Security Agency, which is headed by another of the president’s sons. Ms. Johnson Sirleaf denied the charge; it was the same son, Fumbah Sirleaf, who helped American agents pull off West Africa’s largest drug bust in 2010.”

The crime was initially reported on extensively by the National Chronicle, in a series of articles:

  1. In Alleged Organized Crime "Gold, Diamond Deal":NSA, Lebanese National Rob Koreans Of US$284,000
  2. After Sharing Korean Businessmen’s US$284,300: NSA Aids Lebanese Man To Escape

On August 14, 2014, officers of the Police Support Unit (PSU) barricaded and tear-gassed the offices of the National Chronicle, seized computers and arrested its editor, Phillibert Browne. On September 9, 2013, the Police Director, Christian Massaquoi barred Mr. Browne from traveling. The raid was ordered directly by the President of Liberia, bypassing the Ministry of Justice.

The Ministry of Justice’s attempts to take hold of the investigation were thwarted by the Executive Mansion. In a letter dated July, 11, 2014 the Deputy Minister of Justice for Administration and Public Safety, Wheatonia Y. Dixon Barnes wrote:

"We are indeed very concerned about the legal implication this issue poses to the Government of Liberia (GOL), and the potential negative impact it may have on investors. In this connection, therefore, we advise that you forward this matter to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) for a thorough investigation in conjunction with the NSA. To protect the integrity of the process, we further advise that the amount in question be deposited into an escrow account until the legality of this issue is determined. Additionally, we request that you stay all forms of investigation with respect to this case pending our joint sitting."

Those instructions were never carried out, even though, by law, the Director of the National Security Agency is required to "report to the President through the Ministry of Justice on all Matters affecting the work of the Agency, as circumstances may require or as directed by the President." The law further requires the Ministry of Justice to "issue orders and regulations with the approval of the president with regards to the performance of such additional function as circumstances may dictate for securing the safety of the State." The National Security Agency can give no account of the money, seized by its agents.

Solomon, who claims he is a "security researcher" has obviously never heard of the internet. He tries to pin the dismissal of Deputy Minister Barnes on Madam Tah, when the Executive Mansion website, on September 13, 2014, posted a list of three deputy Ministers from Justice who were dismissed by the President being "out of the country without an excuse."

Why concoct a fantastical lie, when the information is readily available?

The fact is the President dismissed three of Minister Tah’s Deputies even after Minister Tah submitted medical excuses and pleaded in person for mercy for the three Ministers. The real target of the dismissals at Justice was Wheatonia Barnes, because of the instructions she gave Fumba Sirleaf, noted above. The President could not stomach the idea that any person would instruct her son to hold on to evidence of a crime. The other two ministers were simply collateral damage.

We are supposed to believe that 5 rogue agents, seized nearly $250,000 dollars and that money was never turned over to the authorities within the agency?

Madame Tah’s assertions were vindicated when the Special Independent Committee set up by the President, to bypass the Ministry of Justice, and "to investigate accusations of money laundering, counterfeiting, illegal arrest, and conspiracy to defraud" the Korean businessmen made 3 findings and recommendations, which were:

  1. Appropriate administrative actions be taken against the operatives of the National Security Agency (five in all) who were directly involved with the arrest of the Korean and Sierra Leonean nationals immediately.

  2. The operatives of the National Security Agency (five in all) who were directly involved with the arrest of the Korean and Sierra Leonean nationals, and their co-conspirators (two who do not work with the NSA) be handed over to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution in order to clear the name and image of the National Security Agency.

  3. The Government of Liberia refunds to the Korean nationals the full amount of US$247,500, which they withdrew from the International Bank of Liberia (IBLL) on July 8, 2014, and which they proceeded with directly to the City King Hotel, immediately thereafter, and were arrested shortly after their arrival. Liberian Observer 11/10/2014

The President’s attempt to shield her son, and obstruct justice cannot go unnoticed, especially when one considers that one of the NSA agents involved in this robbery, Terrence Doe, has an extensive criminal record in the United States. Doe was tried and acquitted on double murder charges in New Jersey. The question on everyone’s mind, is how, did a career criminal become an agent of the National Security Agency? Perhaps, her son, Fumba Sirleaf can answer that.

NSA robs Nigerian Businessman

Incidentally, this is not the first time agents of the NSA have robbed foreign businessmen in Liberia. In September of 2006, NSA agents confiscated $508,000.00 from a Nigerian businessman, under the guise that the Nigerian was a drug dealer and counterfeiter. The businessman, Valentine Ayika, went on to become a member of the Nigerian parliament. Mr. Ayika sued the government of Liberia in the ECOWAS Court, and in the case Valentine Ayika v Republic of Liberia, the court "ordered the return of $508, 200 dollars by the Liberian Government to Mr Valentine Ayika.

The presiding judge, Justice Hansine Donli, held that the plaintff, Ayika, was exonerated from drug trafficking and money laundering by an investigative team in Liberia.  Donli said Ayika was not indicted by the investigative team and that Liberian Government had no legal justification to confiscate the said money."

President Sirleaf stubbornly refused to obey the ruling of the Court until Liberia’s seat on the Court was denied.

How does one explain, the same agency, committing two of the same kind of robberies, yet expect us to believe the head of the agency knew nothing about it? 

The Cockrum Meeting

Again, Mr. Solomon, the security researcher, tries to place the blame for the Cockrum tapes on Madame Tah. I know both Melvin Johnson and Ellen Cockrum, and I know they have never met with Madame Tah.

The Golden Child

It seems the President and her minions, are still trying to wrap their heads around the terrible election thumping of her golden child, Robert Sirleaf, at the hands of George Weah. This 78% - 11% drubbing of the golden child, has left the President and her inner circle in total shock and disarray. They understand that this was a vote that says the President has no legacy. For all of the love and adulation, they twice showed the President, she has abused them, abused their trust to please her golden child and minions. Coupled with the complete collapse of the healthcare system when the Ebola epidemic hit, after 9 years in office, the Liberian people want nothing to do with anything or anybody named Sirleaf anymore.

Sadly, rather than working to salvage what is left of her tattered legacy, the President is hell bent on settling scores with her former Justice Minister, and anyone she imagines an enemy. This is unwise, and ill advised. I will encourage Madame Tah to speak to the Liberian people, at the time and place of her choosing. 

The reason for highlighting with documentary evidence, unlike our erstwhile security researcher, Mr. Solomon, is to show that he is a liar, a person in a long tradition of government liars which date back to the Tubman era of the Public Relations Officers (PRO’s). They authored documents, wrote "secret memoranda" which they claimed they found in women’s shoes. It is pathetic, that this Continuing Criminal Enterprise which calls itself the Government of Liberia, has decided it will publish lies about a person who has served the Liberian people faithfully

Questioning George Werner’s Nomination

In his recent piece titled “In Liberia: George Werner Unqualified for Minister of Health”, Mr. George Fahnbulleh writes to oppose the appointment and nomination of the designee.  Fahnbulleh makes a strong case against the Minister-designate first by claiming and presenting evidence to indicate that he (the designee) is unqualified to hold the position, and secondly, that he (the designee) lied to bolster his resume. 

That he is not qualified to hold the position should come as no surprise to those who follow the appointment patterns in the present administration. President Sirleaf has demonstrated a strange proclivity for appointing unqualified candidates to prestigious and powerful positions in her government. It would probably be unfair to Mr. Werner to oppose his appointment on the basis of lack of requisite experience. The second charge is, in my opinion, more damaging: He deliberately embellished his professional record. To put it more bluntly, he lied.

I read the article published on the Daily Observer in which Mr. Werner claimed to have been a “therapist” and a “clinician”. See here: Obviously, the words were used loosely here in layman terms. However, Mr. Werner should know the professional definitions of the words he used to describe himself. As Mr. Fahnbulleh points out, one needs professional licenses to practice as a “clinician” and a “therapist”. Mr. Werner chose to deliberately lie to augment his credentials; he should be questioned about his statements and made to provide proof of the claims he makes. Upon failure to do so, his nomination should be rejected.

"A clinician is a health care practitioner that works as a primary care giver of a patient in a hospital setting, pre-hospital setting, clinic setting, or under the Affordable Care Act in home health care. Only a clinician diagnoses, prescribes treatment, treats, and discharges patients from therapy. For example, a physician is a clinician, a nurse is not." 

It could be argued that the political environment in Liberia is so morally contaminated, perhaps it shouldn’t matter that one candidate has lied. After all, doesn’t everybody else? It would be a pointlessly humongous task to point out similar discrepancies in the present administration. Seemingly, such lies and embellishments are the natural order of the day. One could even argue that it is unfair to single out Mr. Werner for scrutiny at this time. After all, the president moves the former Minister of Education to the position of National Investment Commissioner. Some fair questions would be, is the candidate qualified for that position? What are her credentials and professional track record? Is she qualified solely on the basis of the mere possession of a PhD? Does holding a PhD mean she knows anything about investments? The African “book-man-mentality” rules the day in Liberia. Once a candidate possesses a terminal degree that candidate is qualified to hold any position, no matter the discipline. The idea of specialization does not come into play in Liberia, unfortunately.

President Sirleaf has also recently appointed Mr. Gyude Moore to the position of Public Works Minister. Mr. Moore is said to have obtained an MBA (Masters in Business of Administration) from the prestigious Georgetown University in Washington, DC, USA. But is he the best qualified candidate for such a position? If one were to question the president’s preference in this matter, one has to realize the pattern the president has set: She appointed the late Willis Knuckles to the position and later on appointed Kofi Woods to the same portfolio. Nine years after her ascendancy to the presidency she claims that Liberia is still suffering from the devastation brought on by the civil war that ended over a decade ago. But how does she intend to remedy the problem by these senseless appointments?  What did she expect Mr. Knuckles or Mr. Woods to accomplish in terms of improving the state of public works in Liberia besides personally enriching themselves? Nothing. And nothing was accomplished.

In this new package of appointments, one has to also question the motive of the president appointing Dr. Wede Brownell to the position of Deputy Foreign Minister for Administration. After receiving a PhD in Accounting or Business Administration, Dr. Brownell taught at a university in the states for a brief period before accepting a highly acclaimed academic position at the University of Liberia. After a publicly contentious stay in that position, she was forced to flee. All of a sudden Dr. Brownell is named Deputy Foreign Minister? If she were trained to be an academician but miserably failed in that line of work, we are now led to believe that she will perform with stellar acclaim in a setting about which she knows nothing. Astounding logic, one must admit.

Again, in all fairness, perhaps we should not be questioning the appointment of Mr. Werner to the sensitive post while ignoring the rest of the package. After all, Mr. Werner is a very intelligent person with ample academic qualifications as the president’s other appointees; all the president’s nominees should be given equal scrutiny. So what sets Mr. Werner aside? Simple. He lied. His lie is a public lie and deserves the public scrutiny it invites. Mr. Werner should have stayed the course and remained silent on the sidelines as his confirmation battle before the Liberian legislature ensued. But because of over-ambition and reckless boldness, he has overplayed his card to ensure his success; that tactic has backfired. His nomination has been rejected, although he has previously passed confirmation before the same body.

But if one were to accept the allegation that the national state of affairs in Liberia has degenerated to a morally contaminated environment, why should we care about Mr. Werner’s appointment? After all, it might be a cynical ploy for the legislature to exploit the executive. They could be rejecting his nomination now only to put pressure on the president; they might be holding out for approval until certain bargains are made and they might approve the nomination subsequently. If that is the case, as we have seen before, what will have been gained by opposing this nomination now?

The answer is simple: Our opposition to this appointment must be a matter of record. Other Liberians are free to support Mr. Werner, and I’m quite sure they do and will continue to do so. Our opposition may not matter in substance, but let it be a matter of record; not just for the present-day record, but for the sake of posterity. If anyone were to re-examine or question this appointment in a future generation, let the record show that George Fahnbulleh opposes it and I support Mr. Fahnbulleh. In my particular case, I specifically oppose the nomination because Mr. Werner is on record of lying to the Liberian public; I consider that a grievous offense.



In Liberia: George Werner Unqualified for Minister of Health



At a time when Liberia’s health system has been decimated by the Ebola Virus Disease, and the management has shown inept and incompetent, the President of Liberia, has chosen to name a person totally unqualified to lead in the building of the healthcare system.

Liberians have quickly forgotten, just a few months ago, our President was begging the world for help or the country would die.  The international community has rushed in, and seeing the need to make a change at the Ministry of Health, the President appointed George Werner as the new Minister of Health.

The problem is Mr. Werner has no background in healthcare, zero, nada, zip, nothing!  He has taken to embellishment of his work in a Philadelphia Group Home (6 years and 9 months) and referred to his title as a “Clinical Therapist.”  Much of the information which follows was garnered directly from Mr. Werner’s LinkedIn page, and further research into the institutions he lists.

Sadly neither the Government of Liberia, nor the Liberian newspapers even took the time (all of 3 hours) to research and validate any of the claims made by Mr. Werner.  They have all simply parroted Mr. Werner’s statements and wished him well.

According to Mr. Werner’s LinkedIn page:

June 2003 – March 2010 
Pennsylvania Clinical Schools

Pennsylvania Clinical Schools was a residential treatment facility (a group home) run by the State of Pennsylvania for wayward youth.  The facility was closed in 2010.

Because the facility was closed, there is no way to verify, what Mr. Werner actually did at the facility other than being a group home aid.  There are however, several studied deductions we can make which support the fact that Mr. Werner was not, repeat, was not a “Clinical Therapist.”  

To be a Clinical Therapist, in most US states, requires a state occupation license.  The State of Pennsylvania is one of those states.  Fortunately Pennsylvania publishes the license of every practitioner.  Pennsylvania also grants licenses by reciprocity with other states, and those licenses acquired in other states are documented in the database.  You can search the Pennsylvania License Database here

The Pennsylvania License Database show NO RECORD of GEORGE KRONNISANYON WERNER ever having a license as anything, in Pennsylvania or any other state, let alone a “group/clinical” therapist.

In a 2005 piece written for the Perspective, entitled “Perceptions and Beliefs about Interpersonal Violence” Mr. Werner was already brandishing his 2 years as a group home aid (he began working at PCS in June 2003), and referring to himself as a “clinician.” 

Mr. Werner wrote:

As a clinician, one hopes to help ameliorate the effects of interpersonal violence on society’s most vulnerable and to be a part of discovering the causes of interpersonal violence. However one evaluates interpersonal violence, there are grim consequences for victim, perpetrator, and the wider society. Individuals who commit acts of violence against others, like my father, are human beings in need of some degree of rehabilitation.

This leaves me wondering why Mr. Werner did not channel his expertise to the rehabilitation of ex-combatants in Liberia?

March 2010 – September 2010
Clinical Coordinator
Resources for Human Development, Inc.

Resources for Human Development, Inc. is an organization which among other things, provides staffing and management of group home workers.  A search of employment opportunities from their website (, the job of a Care Coordinator is described here:

The Care Coordinator is responsible for providing supportive services to individuals with mental illness living independently in the community. The Care Coordinator assists the program participant to identify and connect with community resources, monitors the progress of each participant toward obtaining goals, and provides ongoing coaching to support participant’s wellness.

This was the last job Mr. Werner held in the United States, for 7 months.  Can any person read the job description and try to make the case that this job provides the requisite experience to be Minister of Health of Liberia? 

Civil Service Agency:
2013 – Present

Mr. Werner as served for 14 months as the Director General of the CSA.  Somehow after 14 months at CSA, with his other experience shown above, we are to accept that he is qualified to be Minister of Health.

I would challenge Mr. Werner to go beyond phrases like “I was admitted into the prestigious program.”  Being admitted to a program means nothing. Why did he not say “I completed..”

None of what Mr. Werner has presented of his background and experience qualifies him to be Minister of Health.

There are far more qualified Liberians, IN LIBERIA and Internationally whose leadership, experience, and domain knowledge far exceed the group home knowledge of Mr. Werner, who are qualified for the job.  

President Sirleaf needs to take the lives of the Liberian people, and her job, much more seriously.