Momoh In Sex Crime Allegation
-LWSC’s Image Dented
-Gender Ministry Awaits Police’s Probe
It is still unclear when the Liberia National Police (LNP) will generate the mettle to unveil investigative report into sexual abuse allegation characterized by misuse of official power; an accusation that is fascinatingly hovering over Liberia Water & Sewer Corporation’s Deputy Managing Director for Administration, Mr. Moseray Momoh.
Recently, the Minister of Gender, Children & Social Protection (MGCSP), Mrs. Williametta Saydee-Tarr, reaffirmed how the MGCSP was taking seriously the allegation of sexual exploitation and abuse reportedly committed by Mr. Momoh of the LWSC who, according to the report, used his official power to commit such a crime, which in fact is against some provisions of the code of conduct for public officials.While expressing deep dismay over such an appalling alleged sexual crime, Min. Tarr declared that the Ministry was in close contact with the victim, adding that a formal complaint from the victim has already been recorded; according to her, the Ministry was also providing counseling, protection and routine follow ups with the Liberia National Police (LNP) on the preliminary investigation.
She made the assertions recently during a special press conference held at the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs & Tourism (MICAT) when she responded to journalists’ inquires about the allegation of sexual exploitation and abuse ostensibly committed by the LWSC official.
Earlier, the Ministry announced how it was deeply distressed by the allegation and was pressing forward to remain engaged until the results of the police investigation were made available in an effort to determine further legal action.
Although government promised to remain engaged on the investigation, it is indefinite when a pragmatic action would be taken by the ministries of Gender and Justice amid the declaration of President George Manneh Weah who has volunteered his services to champion the rights and protection of women.
The Ministry has categorically condemned the upsurge in sexual exploitation and abuse being perpetrated, not only by ordinary people but officials of government who are reportedly using their offices, official power and cash to molest women and young girls amid national and international efforts to end all forms of violence against women and children.
Sources closed to some diplomatic missions, including the US and Swedish embassies near Monrovia have confided in this paper that these diplomatic missions are deeply concerned about delay in the investigation; the embassies, according to the sources were closely watching how the Government whose President has conferred on himself, a title of “Feminist-In-Chief” will translate words into action.
Critics say, international best practice require that a caliber of government official who is under such allegation must do an honorable thing to step aside until he can be exonerated but, an employee at the LWSC who preferred not to be named in print said, Mr. Momoh remains confidant of the President and enjoys presidential protection, something according the employee, is contrary to the President’s “Feminist-In-Chief” title.
“Sexual harassment and exploitation are serious human rights violation, and they should have no place in our society,” Gender Minister said in a rather uncompromising disposition. She accentuated the need for bold, urgent and much-needed action to curb the act of sexual exploitation and abuse, a scourge which according to her, permeates workplaces and local communities.
“For this reason, combating this menace and helping those who have been scarred by these egregious acts continue to be key priorities for the Ministry and its partners. Every victim deserves justice and the fullest support of the society,” MGCSP Minister added.
“We cannot allow the unspeakable acts of a few to cause irreversible harm and discredit the effort of National Government as well as local and international rights groups, who uphold, the values enshrined in international protocols, to protect our women and girls from all forms of exploitation and abuse,” Min. Tarr declared.
“The Ministry would like to reaffirm its commitment in ensuring that allegation of sexual exploitation and abuse is thoroughly investigated and that perpetrators, if found to have engaged in sexual exploitation or sexual abuse, through an investigation, be duly prosecuted under the laws of the country,” she asserted.
“In this context, MGCSP is working to expand its workplace and community-based reporting network for sexual exploitation and abuses in order to ensure that further information on any new or past allegations is communicated as soon as possible. We would also like to assure all victims that MGCSP fully stands with you in your pursuit of justice because every victim deserves justice and the fullest support of the society. MGCSP assures further that it would continue to render moral assistance to victims until their cases come to final conclusions,” she noted.
However, while President GeorgeManneh Weah is being adored at home and abroad for intensifying efforts to strengthen national crusade aimed at combating, if not ending all forms of violence against women and children, critics however think,it was inadequate to make a public declaration in favor of protecting the rights of women and girls while some officials of his administration were undercutting his energies without a corresponding repercussions to serve as deterrent.
Speaking at the opening of the SHEROES Conference in Monrovia, the Liberian leader on Wednesday, October 17, 2018, turned what others described as “another historical page” in his presidential strategies by conferring upon himself the enviable appellation of “Liberia’s Feminist-In-Chief.”
By the declaration, the President reaffirms unwavering commitment to pursuing the feministic ideals that guarantee the rights and wellbeing of all women, including girls.
“In closing, allow me to share a story with you. During a discussion about this conference that I had a few days ago; one of my colleagues “accused” me of being a feminist, under the mis-impression that only women can be feminist,” the President told the gathering at the opening of the International SHEROES Forum at the Monrovia City Hall.
However, the reported action of Mr. Momoh of LWSC has put the President’s sincerity on the line and the public is watching whether he would translate words into action or allow his official to go with impunity while he (President) takes the lashes from rights defenders and critics.
According information, the alleged sexual crime against the victim was carried out at a local hotel in Sinkor, Monrovia around the 14 Street belt.
Meanwhile, the media is following closely with subsequent details coming up soon!