Following claims by the International Justice Group (IJG) as it relates to the alleged involvement of Monrovia City Mayor, Mr. Jefferson T. Koijee’s wanton abuse of power and his alleged involvement into the country’s 14 years of civil upheaval, a former official of the defunct Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has termed as a complete falsehood any information linking the young mayor to such crimes.
According to Mr. Ezekiel B. Freeman, who worked as an Inquiry Officer of the TRC, there has never been a time where Mr. Koijee name was mentioned in any of the body’s hearings by perpetrators and victims of the war.
He said, considering at the time, his experienced of working directly from the offices of the TRC Chairman, Cllr. Jerome Verdier, there have never been cases or testimonies where victims and or perpetrators of the war point accusing fingers at Mr. Koijee by linking him to a particular warring faction nor a particular warmonger.
Mr. Freeman, in his published online article, described as “unfortunate,” the repeated claims by the IJG, which was recently elevated by a ranking member of the United States House Subcommittee on Africa, Congressman Chris Smith.
The IJG, which is headed by former TRC Chairman, Jerome Verdier said recently that it was investigating cases linking Mr. Koijee of being one of the followers of jailed Chucky Taylor- a militia warrior in Liberia and the son of former President Charles G. Taylor.
Mayor Koijee has since denied such allegation and has termed the IJG reported investigation against him as a “political propaganda” only intended to muddy his hard-earned reputation.
Freeman wrote: “I must in this public manner apprise you with arguments defending the character and integrity of Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee. Indefatigable it bemoans me and aggrieves vibrant spirit for and of the truth, to hear and read of vile spews, maligns, innuendos, willful misinformation, disinformation, character assassination, false and dubious allegations against Jefferson T. Koijee, ‘that the Monrovia City Mayor committed war crimes and other atrocities during the brutal Liberian Civil War, 1989 to 2003’ and other allegations.
Individuals and groups resigning to these false assertions against an innocent Jefferson T. Koijee, falsely maligning his character seem to befoul the TRC war crimes investigative processes and the calls for war accountability in Liberia if not checked. It is so disheartening that because of hate or because of some sinister political aggrandizement, individuals and groups sink to such a level of low ebb and disparagements against an astute, energized brilliant young Liberian. I worked for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia (TRC) in various positions from June 2006 to September 2009.”
Freeman, who claimed to have been involved with major activities of the TRC process, pointed out that at no time anyone did mention, link, refer or allege the current MCC boss to the war.
“I significantly functioned within the TRC from 2006 to 2009 and helped the TRC in its investigation and determination of responsibility for ‘egregious’ domestic crimes, ‘gross’ violations of human rights and ‘serious’ humanitarian law violations. I was and remained a working encyclopedia for the workings, processes, procedures, policies, decisions, programs, engagements, internal wrangling, and political conundrums at the TRC. I worked with local and international interns, provided consultancy to international consultants, investigators, and researchers on the Liberian TRC process,” he furthered.
“I briefly served as Program Assistant in the office of Commissioner Gerald B. Coleman in 2006. By the end of 2006, I became an Administrative Assistant in the office of TRC Chairman, Jerome J. Verdier, Sr. (Cllr.). While in the Office of Chairman Verdier, for a period spanning over a year, I sat in Commissioners’ meetings, recorded minutes and read the minutes and other communications vital to the TRC’s mandate,” Freeman indicated.
“I coordinated ‘TRC’s peoples with special needs project’, investigated the St. Peters Lutheran Church and J. J. Roberts United Methodist School Massacres, and Coordinated the Memorialization program of the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church Massacre.
I investigated the Phebe Hospital and the Phebe School of nursing massacre, the Kpolokpallah, Samay, massacres, the Charles Chucky Taylor and Gbartala Base Atrocious operations, and I am fully knowledgeable on the St. Thomas Episcopal Church massacre, Poor River Massacre, the Maher Bridge Massacre, the April 6 Fracas, the capture and murder of Samuel Doe amongst other investigations conducted by the TRC. I researched, investigated and provided the preliminary report on the impact of the war on the Liberian Children.
According to him, in all or any of these cases, instances and incidences, not a single individual linked Mr. Koijee to any one of these crimes enumerated. I visited horrible sights of massacres and spoke with direct victim and survivors of the most horrific atrocities. At no time did anyone mention one or any Jefferson Koijee as the perpetrator, an accomplice, an instigator, a supporter or contributor to any the atrocities,” He added.