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» 22.04.2010 - President Ellen in Liberia poll headache
» 15.02.2010 - IMF commissions a mission to Liberia
» 22.12.2009 - First female wins Liberia's youth leadership award
» 18.12.2009 - Liberia exempted from arms embargo
» 17.12.2009 - Media rights group condemns arrest of media players
» 01.12.2009 - Liberia pledges support to small farmers
» 07.10.2009 - Young Liberians to audition for top music award
» 02.10.2009 - West African biodiversity corridor high on Abidjan meeting

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Politics | Society

Liberia minister quits over sex scandal

afrol News, 27 February - Liberia's most senior minister, Willis Knuckles, admitted being shamed over the publication of pictures by a local newspaper, 'The Independent', proving that he was having sex with two women. He was left with no option other than tendering his resignation in a country that accepts no sex scandals among political leaders.

Liberia's President Ellen Johnson-Sieleaf said she was regretting the resignation of her efficient acting Chief of Staff with four decades of public career. She however said her government could not condone improper behaviour, especially by a senior official.

President Johnson-Sirleaf described Mr Knuckles as a long time close friend and associate.

"I believe that Minister Knuckles brought to his family and friends much pain, but one which should not be allowed to tarnish his long years of service and commitment to our beloved country," Ms Johnson-Sirleaf said.

The shamed Minister apologised to his wife, family and the public for misbehaving. The major scandal, published last week, threw Liberians into shock and disbelief.

Most people blamed 'The Independent' for intruding into the personal life of an individual by publishing explicit pictures, enough to destabilise Mr Knuckles' character and family life.

The Liberian government also faulted the newspaper for disregarding the country's penal code, which outlaws the publication of such materials for public consumption.

Sex scandals among top government have been common in most West African states, although few are reported. As speaking about sex in public remains a taboo in most local societies, most countries in the region outlawed publication of sexual materials, but press freedom activists argued that public officials have no right to privacy in such cases.

But it is still uncommon in the region for public officials to resign over sex scandals, making Mr Knuckles' fall a possibly groundbreaking event.

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