Acting Public Works Minister Rejects Social Media Claims, Warns against Extortionists Posturing as Journalists
By: Emmanuel Dekontee Roberts
Acting Public works Minister Ruth Coker Collins has clarified misleading social media posts that without evidence accused her of acquiring new properties since her appointment.
Unity Party operative Rufus Paul is among those who recently took to Facebook and alleged that Mrs. Collins was building many properties overnight and had acquired “several of these properties in separate locations on the Roberts-filed Highway and the Marshall belt in Margibi County”.
Paul failed to name the properties on the “highway” or in the “Marshall belt” but posted pictures of the acting Minister‘s longtime home in the Bonjal community, which she has been constructing since 2005.
Like Paul who failed to substantiate claims including “using Public Works Equipment to pave roads leading to her house”, Charles Yates, another so-called self-styled journalist made a similar post which he later deleted.
While several Facebook accounts have been reacting angrily to what they called “a shameful, reckless attack” on the minister, Mrs. Collins has taken the time to lay the allegations to bed.
In an appearance on State Radio ELBC on Friday, she clarified that the claims are nothing but “complete falsehood” that cannot be proven because these so-called journalists themselves in the full view of the public failed to show proof for all they said against her.
“I was very shocked to see that someone will wake up in the morning and just post something like that on Facebook with no evidence”
She continued, “This is a woman who owns a construction firm with a turnover of US$ 500 thousand, over 200 acres of rubber farm, and does business with Firestone.”
“I own a cocoa farm and I worked for the United Nations as a local and International staff for more than 10 years before I was appointed by the President.”
The acting Public Works Minister who is an engineer, and a businesswoman for over 20 years before her appointment also made it clear that allegation that she either owns any property in Marshall or has a chain of stores in Bonjal as misleadingly reported by Unity Party Rufus Paul and Charles Yates.
She said these claims are part of the wider misinformation and misinform campaign targeted at anyone who enters government to rub them of public popular support and make the public believe that “we are all criminals in public service”
Meanwhile, the acting minister said she will not be taking any legal action against this wave of character deformation as the situation of “blackmailing” by a few who purport to be journalists with the ultimate aim of exploiting money is not strange development to the Liberian people.
“The Press Union of Liberia must act” she demanded adding “It must bring these people to book and make them understand that’s not journalism for someone to just publish lies about another person and in the end, they will call and ask you so what you?”
Speaking on other developments, the acting minister revealed that the government of Liberia has committed 1.1 million towards the construction of the bridge linking the Grand Bassa University to the port city of Buchanan.
The money comes from the road fund and will help intervene to solve the problem of movement to and from the campus which has for years been impeded by a damaged bridge.
According to her, the government’s road agenda is in full swing with many road projects ongoing in most parts of the country.