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False! Gongloe didn’t threaten to prosecute Urey for stealing 

Claim: Smart News Liberia, an online media Institution, has reported that a former presidential candidate, now an associate of the opposition Unity Party, has vowed to prosecute former maritime boss Benoni Urey for stealing the government’s money. 

Verdict: False! The famous reporter, Nathaniel McClain, has consented to a disclaimer made by Gongloe in his article, stating that his newspaper will publish it (the disclaimer) in its Monday edition. Also, Tiawan Saye Gongloe has refuted the claim, saying at no point did he have such a conversation with the reporter. 

Full Text 

Just a few days before the presidential run-off elections in Liberia, there have been unsubstantiated claims about the intentions of politicians and their parties who aligned themselves with the two candidates in the Nov. 14 elections. 

On Oct. 26, 2023, Tiawan Saye Gongloe, political leader of the Liberian People’s Party (LPP), endorsed the Presidential bid of Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai in the run-off elections. Mr Benoni Urey, political leader of the All Liberian Party and a break-away friend of Boakai on Oct. 30, 2023, also endorsed the Presidential bid of President George Weah

However, on Nov. 5, 2023, Smart News Liberia reported that the current Unity Party ally, Mr Gongloe, in a social gathering, vowed to prosecute Mr Urey and others for embezzlement of public funds. 

According to the online media report, Gongloe, in his statement, emphasised his threat to take legal action against Urey, stressing that nothing can stop his decision. 

“Renowned Liberian lawyer and human rights activist Tiawon S. Gongloe has said that even heaven will not save former Maritime Commissioner Benoni Urey and others who have allegedly stolen from the Liberian coffers. Mr Gongloe vowed to take legal action against former Maritime Commissioner Beneno Urey and others for allegedly looting Liberian Maritime funds and other financial resources during the administration of former President Charles Ghangay Taylor,” the report said.

Smart News Liberia, in the article, also said that Gongloe accused Urey of funding the country’s 14 years of civil war that claimed the lives of many in Liberia. 

“He accused Benoni Urey of using Maritime funds to allegedly sponsor the almost 15 years civil war that devastated every fabric of the Liberian society,” the report further said.

The article’s writer gives the impression based on Gongloe’s current relationship with Amb. Boakai that he (Gongloe) can use his influence to prosecute Mr Urey if Boakai emerges President of the Republic of Liberia. The report appears to have created a sour relationship between supporters of Mr Gongloe and Mr Urey. This led DUBAWA to fact-check the claim. 

Verification

In verifying the report, DUBAWA cited a press release issued on Nov. 8, 2023, by Cllr. Gongloe, in which he refuted the assertions made in the article. Mr Gongloe, in the statement, said at no time did he ever discuss this issue, much less with a reporter.

“For public information, Cllr. Gongloe categorically refutes Smartnewsliberia’s dissemination of him. He said not even in his staunch stance on rights issues, he has ever spoken in the manner that has been ascribed to him. Therefore, he asks the public to ignore and disregard the poor publicity. Already, Cllr. Gongloe has phoned Mr Urey and disclaimed the report, which he terms a groundless propaganda intended to soil the good relationship political leaders of the Country have,” the statement reads.

The researcher also contacted the reporter Nathaniel McClain about the story published on the Smart News Liberia website for evidence to support his story. According to the Journalist, Mr Gongloe made the statement at a social gathering where he (Nathaniel) was present but didn’t record the conversation. 

Additionally, he has agreed with Gongloe’s disclaimer on the story. He (McClain) promised to publish the rejoinder in Smart News Liberia’s Nov. 13, 2023, edition.

“I don’t have a recording; I don’t want to go forward with this. Yes, that’s the party’s position on the matter, so we will carry it on Monday in the news,” McClain said. 

Conclusion

Based on our findings, the report about Mr Gongloe stating he will prosecute Mr Urey for stealing money is false. 

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