Mr. Moses Owen Browne, Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the International Organization on Maritime (IMO) and Director of the Department of Marine Environmental Protection, Mr. Daniel Tarr, were arrested by the South Korean security for allegedly raping underage girls at the weekend.
The act alleged act, which has since been condemned by the Government of Liberia (GoL) through the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA), was said to have been allegedly committed by two government officials, who had gone to attend the IMO GHG SMART Practical Training and Study Visit slated for September 19-23, 2022.
“The Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA) has received with grave concern reports of the arrest on allegations of sexual assault and rape by two staffers of LiMA in the Port City of Busan, South Korea,” a statement issued in Monrovia by the LiMAA said.
The LiMA, in its statement issued at the weekend, vowed zero tolerance stance on any and all types of sexual and gender-based offenses, noting that it views these allegations of the conduct of its Officials as most egregious and has no place in any civilized society.
“Liberia Maritime Authority will fully cooperate with the Government of the Republic of South Korea in the investigation of this incident and vows to take appropriate actions, pursuant to national and international laws,” the statement added.
The latest allegations come on the heel of recent designations of three former Liberian government officials by the US Government through its Department of Treasury Office of the Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
The three former government officials Nathaniel McGill (Minister of State for Presidential Affairs), Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus (Solicitor General) and Mr. Bill Twehway (Managing Director of the National Port Authority) resigned their positions amid public pressure to do so.
And amid ongoing investigation against the three former officials for their alleged acts of Public Corruption for which they were sanctioned by the US Government through its Department of Treasury Office of the Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the latest allegations seem damaging for the nation’s repetition to the international community.
Permanent Representative Browned has since been embattled for the inception of his appointment as predecessor Atty. W. Jackson cited irregularities to the decision, who cited Article 89 of the Constitution as well as Part II, Section 7(4) of the Maritime Act of 2010 in naming a replacement for his position.
IMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating shipping. The organization which comprises 174-member-states and three Associate members, was established in Geneva, Switzerland in 1948 following a UN conference and came into existence 10 years later, with its headquarters in London, the United Kingdom.
“Regrettably, my appointment does not fall under Article 54 of the constitution. I am protected under Article 89 0f the Constitution, and in keeping with Part II, Section 7 (4) of the Maritime Act of 2010. The President is totally wrong – his action is not supported by the Statute law creating the Maritime Authority – my position is tenured for five years,” Attorney Jackson told FrontPageAfrica in 2018 following the appointment of Mr. Browne.
In a related development, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social
Protection (MGCSP) has welcomed the statement from LiMA affirming its’ full cooperation with the Government of the Republic of South Korea on allegations of rape of minors by two Liberian government officials.
In a statement, the Ministry says it finds the allegations of rape disturbing, distressing and a matter that goes completely against the mores of Liberia’s commitment to fighting the scourge of sexual and gender-based violence. As is known, Liberia has a Presidential declaration on rape as a
national emergency. As such, MGCSP condemns these alleged sexual misbehaving acts by government agents and considers same as unacceptable and inexcusable. If confirmed, this will have the propensity to further undermine Liberia’s fight against rape and poses a setback in achieving Goal 5 of the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which highlights the urgent need to ending violence and exploitation of women and girls.
The Ministry appreciates LiMA for reaffirming its' zero tolerance stance on any and all types of sexual and gender-based violence cases as contained in the September 23, 2022 press release: "Liberia Maritime Authority unequivocally maintains a zero tolerance stance on any and all types of sexual and gender-based offenses, and views these allegations of the conduct of its Officials as most egregious, having no place in any civilized society."
The Gender Ministry calls on the Liberia Maritime Authority to where applicable, immediately recall these Officials, and if found guilty, LiMA should not hesitate in taking appropriate actions against them, to include dismissal and the pursuance of sentencing, as is allowed
under the laws and jurisdictions of both South Korea and Liberia.
MGCSP admonishes all government officials and the Liberian populace at large, to be circumspect in daily interactions at home or abroad, and to continue to join hands with GoL in the fight against Sexual and Gender-based Violence.