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Misleading! Grigsby didn’t appoint Wolo as Chief of Protocol at Ministry of Presidential Affairs

Claim: Activist Martin Kollie has alleged that the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Sylvester Grigsby, appointed Antoinette Wolo, whom he shares a child with, as the Chief of Protocol for the ministry he is superintending. 

Misleading! Grigsby didn’t appoint Wolo as Chief of Protocol at Ministry of Presidential Affairs

Verdict: Misleading. Checks by DUBAWA indicate that Grigsby did not make the appointment. President Joseph Boakai did, and the appointment was to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and not to the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs.

Full Text

After the dissolution of the George Weah-led government after the last election, the new president, Joseph Boakai, has been constituting a new government.

One of his appointments is Mr Sylvester Grigsby, who was appointed Minister of State for Presidential Affairs. Not too long after his appointment, a social activist and staunch supporter of President Boakai, Martin Kollie, is alleging that the new Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Sylvester Grigsby, has appointed Antoinette Wolo as the Chief of Protocol of the same ministry he is superintending. 

The Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs coordinates the Office of the President’s activities and operations, among other things.

On Facebook, Martin Kollie stated: “Breaking News… The Minister of State Sylvester Grigsby just appointed his baby mother, Antoinette Wolo, as Chief of Protocol. Grigsby and Wolo have one biological daughter. Is this the change? Grigsby has hijacked the PEOPLE’s revolution.”

Misleading! Grigsby didn’t appoint Wolo as Chief of Protocol at Ministry of Presidential Affairs
A shot of the Facebook post 

Kollie went beyond his Facebook post to repeat the same allegations on the Spoon Network, which could be heard from 1:51:37 to 1:53:11.

As at June 24, 2024 when DUBAWA checked Kollie’s post, it has attracted over 1.1k reactions, 1.3k comments, and 110 shares.

In his criticisms, Kollie raised a potential conflict of interest allegation by accusing Sylvester Grigsby of appointing Madam Wolo, with whom he shares a child, to a ministry he oversees. 

The social activist also stated that the minister’s alleged action was an act of nepotism. Comments about the post have been divided.

Verification

While it is important to flag issues of conflict of interest and nepotism in governance, it is also crucial for allegations of conflict of interest to be hinged on truth and factual information. 

For this reason, DUBAWA sought to investigate two issues that stood out from the allegations made by Martin Kollie:

  1. Who appointed Antoinette Wolo?
  2. Which office was she appointed to?

To start the investigation, DUBAWA checked the Liberian constitution to find out what it says about government appointments.

Article 54 of the 1986 Liberian constitution clearly states who has the appointing power and how it is exercised.

“The President shall nominate and, with the consent of the Senate, appoint and commission…,” the law states.

As provided by the constitution, only the president of Liberia has the power to appoint government officials, and he/she does that in consultation with the Liberian Senate. 

In furtherance of that law, the president, in a publication on June 13, 2024, announced the nomination of additional government members, including Madam Antoinette Wolo, Chief of Protocol, Republic of Liberia. 

The opening paragraph reads: “His Excellency Joseph Nyuma Boakai, Sr., President of the Republic of Liberia, has nominated additional members of the Government affecting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA).”

Misleading! Grigsby didn’t appoint Wolo as Chief of Protocol at Ministry of Presidential Affairs

Image of the publication 

On the list of officials nominated, Madam Wolo is under the Foreign Ministry as the only person shortlisted for that ministry. 

Conclusion

Activist Martin Kollie’s assertion that Minister Sylvester Grigsby appointed Antoinette Wolo as an employee in the Ministry of State is misleading. 

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