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An Open Letter to Gyude Bryant

July 3, 2005

Dear Chairman Bryant:

On behalf of the Staten Island Liberian Community, I am writing to you in this public manner to request your immediate withdrawal of your appointment of Mr. David K. Johnson to the Governance Reform Commission.

As you may have heard by now, Mr. Johnson is a Liberian national who pride himself in scamming and stealing from innocent Liberians living at home and abroad, especially older Liberians who do not have the capacity to pursue him legally. Because of his successes in this kind of business, Mr. Johnson recently scammed the Staten Island Liberian Community out of more then $9000 which were intended to be used to ship relief goods to families in Liberia . Further investigation reveals that Mr. Johnson was fired from his employment because he engaged in similar behavior, victimizing other Liberians. This issue is currently being handled by the Detectives Division of the New York Police Department (NYPD) and the Richmond County District Attorney (DA).

I must warn very seriously that should you choose to ignore our request, you would not only send the message that the government of Liberia is out for business as usual, but you would be obstructing justice and aiding career criminals to impose their will on the innocent people of Liberia.

Corruption has plagued Liberia for generations since the republic gained her independence in 1847; the degree of corruption has crippled economic and social development and stifled attempts at reform. Your leadership, which won power on a reformist platform, is widely viewed in the world as Liberia ’s last chance to defeat the spread of corruption and create a stable economy and law-abiding society. It is our hope as Liberian abroad, that your administration will lead us in the right direction.

While your intentions to engage and encourage qualified, patriotic Liberians to go home and contribute to the development of Liberia are welcome, it is your administration’s responsibility to ensure that corruption at all levels and criminals like Mr. Johnson have no place in Liberia. We must never endorse criminals by rewarding then positions in the government or any public entity. The people of Liberia are tired of corruption!

In your letter to Mr. Johnson, you indicated that your decision was based on recommendations from respected institutions and individuals. I am not sure which of the well respected individuals and institutions your staff contacted with regards to Mr. Johnson’s professional profile, but if you ask me, many of those individuals and institutions including ULAA, are aware of his behavior and have received grievances. However, because they are friends with Mr. Johnson and perhaps encourage that kind of behavior, they have chosen to give him good references.

As we wait to see the end result of our protest and the current legal actions against Mr. Johnson which is pending in New York , it is my recommendation that in the future, you encourage your staff to perform proper background check of individuals seeking public office. The background check should include basic interviews with the community in which these individuals lived and worked.

Enough is enough! Now is the time to start shaping the future of Liberia . Please lead the way by saying no to corruption.

May the Almighty God bless and guard the people of Liberia . Long Live Liberia .


J. Weah , MSW, VRC, CLD

Walters James Weah,

Acting Chair, Board of Directors

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