Justice Minister Accused, But…

Justice Minister Accused, But…

A painstaking investigation conducted by the Independent Authoritative Heritage has gathered that the Minister of Justice (MoJ) and Attorney-General, Cllr. Frank Musa Dean, has supposedly usurped the functions and responsibilities of other ministers at the MoJ.

​The MoJ encompasses the courts system, the prosecuting office, the offices of the executing authority, the Attorney General, legal advice to all government departments and is responsible for the enforcement of criminal law by means of the Prosecutor General's office.

The investigation, which is backed by multiple independent sources, divulged that Minister Dean has allegedly assigned the functions of the Deputy Minister for Administration and Public Safety to Dayou Allen, his close confidant and a non-presidential appointee to perform all of the functions of the minister.

This paper also gathered that claims attributed to Minister Dean that his position is being eyed by the Solicitor- General, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus are far from the truth.

At the same time, this paper further gathered that it is Minister Dean who is said to be furious over the appointment of Cllr. Cephus, contending after the dismissal of Cllr. Daku Mulbah, the President should have asked him to select someone of his choice rather Cllr. Cephus.

During the investigation, our reporter was privileged to have talked to a number of employees at the ministry all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being punished.

In their various statements, the employees accused Cllr. Dean of running the Ministry like a ‘private entity’ at the detriment of other officials appointed by President George Manneh Weah.

In one account the employees cited the case of Ms. Juah Cassell, the Deputy Minister for administration and public safety whose functions and responsibilities have been allegedly usurped and assigned to Dean’s confidante Dayou Allen.

The investigation further revealed that Dayou Allen is neither an employee of the ministry nor a presidential appointee, but is being used by Cllr. Dean to perform the role of the Deputy Minister.

The investigation also found evidence that Dayou Allen has two brand new vehicles assigned to him by Minister Dean while some minister do not have vehicles and are using very old vehicles. The two brand new vehicles, according to the employees, are parked in the yard of Dayou Allen and are used to run private errands for Minister Dean.

Our investigation also discovered that the office of the Solicitor-General has been completely marginalized to the extent that the Solicitor-General is personally buying office materials, including sheets, printer cartridges, files from his own pocket, while Cllr. Dean and Allen have everything in their offices.

Further information gathered also revealed that the only reason why Cllr. Dean has not been forceful ensuring that ‘would-be protesters’ first obtain permit before carrying out demonstrations is because of what he can get as “security operations funds”.

The Liberian Legislature in 1975 passed a public order Act titled: "AN ACT REQUIRING THE OBTAINING OF PERMITS FOR PUBLIC MARCHES AND DEMONSTRATIONS” to regulate and control street protests.

Our investigation shows that section (1) of the Act gives the Minister of Justice the power to issue permits for all marches and demonstrations within the Republic. But Cllr. Dean because of what he can get from the “security operations funds” has been adamant or reluctant in enforcing section (2) of the Act which makes mandatory to obtain a permit prior to staging the demonstration.

The investigation also unraveled that the letter written by Cllr. Dean to the Council of Patriots(CoP) rejecting the holding of the street demonstrations on December 30, 2019 was a complete charade as he already advised the officials of the CoP to insist that they did not need a permit to exercise a democratic right long before the letter written.

Some employees also told our reporter during the investigation that Cllr. Dean recently boasted that the Coalition for Democratic Change(CDC)-led Government headed by President Weah needs him(Cllr. Dean) more than he needs them.

“ I resigned the other day, and they were running all over the place begging me to be their Justice Minister,” Cllr. Dean was heard by a source of bragging about his position.

When our reporter contacted minister Cassell, she could not be reached for comment, but an employee in the department of administration told our reporter that her boss is treated like a paper and is not allowed to even sign any document.

“Everything is done by Dayou Allen in Musa Dean’s office. Dayou is treated as ‘super Minister Two above all the other ministers who have been appointed by the President even though he has no appointment letter,” the employee who spoke on condition of anonymity asserted.

The source added that the real problem at the Ministry of Justice is Cllr. Musa Dean’s alleged behavior to “treat other ministers as children”.

Further information gathered during the investigation also revealed that Dayou Allen and Cllr. Dean in order to justify money that is being spent from the ministry’s coffers decided to hire a contractor to paint the building.

The investigation unearthed that even though the maintenance department has 36 employees who are available to work, Minister Dean decided to handpick a contractor who is related to him to paint the building without the knowledge or involvement of any minister.

“ My brother, this ministry is dying, and Dayou Allen and Dean are doing things that are not good for this ministry,” our source further divulged.

However, when the Heritage contacted Minister Dean via mobile phone yesterday evening( Sunday, February 11, 2020), he denied the investigative account of this paper that he has supposedly usurped the functions and responsibilities of other ministers at the MoJ.

Minister Dean, who described as “blatant lies” all of the allegations levied against him, nevertheless, admitted that Dayou Allen is in the employ of the ministry, but is not playing the role of the Deputy Minister as being gathered.

The attorney general further explained Dayou Allen was hired as a security consultant and that he is working as a security consultant in the Ministry. On the other hand, he categorically rejected this paper’s investigative account that Dayou Allen has two brand new vehicles assigned to him by him(Minister Dean) while some ministers do not have vehicles and are using very old vehicles.

The MoJ boss said Dayou Allen has only one vehicle and that he is using his assigned vehicle to carry out the work of the Ministry and not he (Minister Dean) personal work as claimed.

“For the record, all those appointed to positions at the MoJ by the President work at his will and pleasure. No one’s job has been usurped by me and I have not marginalized anyone. My office has not received complaint from any minister or the solicitor general about their positions being usurped by me as you have gathered,” Cllr. Dean, among other things, accentuated.

Meanwhile, during the investigation, the Heritage contacted the Solicitor General, Cephus concerning its report.
Solicitor-General Cephus admitted that Cllr. Dean has spoken to the Honourable Liberian Senate accusing him of running a parallel ministry and taking unilateral decisions but noted that he has received a formal invitation from the Liberian Senate to present his side of the story and therefore refused to make any further comment.

He said he has taken oath before becoming a Counselor of the Supreme Court of Liberia and other international criminal courts never to lie under oath and promised to provide what he termed a clear and concise version of what transpired prior to entering a nolle prosequi in favour of Madame Ellen Cockrum without prejudice to the state.

He dismissed absolutely groundless newspaper reports that he is eyeing the job of his boss and said that those who are carrying the false news around should try to countercheck their facts prior to publication.

This paper will bring detail reports on who hired a lawyer for Madam Cockrum to represent her interest and what transpired prior to filing the motion.

Our investigation continues.

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