|Chairman of the Transitional Government of Liberia|
14 October 2003 – 16 January 2006
|Preceded by||Moses Blah|
|Succeeded by||Ellen Johnson Sirleaf|
|Born||17 January 1949|
|Political party||Liberian Action Party|
Charles Gyude Bryant (born 17 January 1949) is a Liberian politician and businessman. He served as the Chairman of the Transitional Government of Liberia from 14 October 2003 to 16 January 2006. The installation of the transitional government was part of the peace agreement to end the country's second civil war, which had raged since the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rebelled against President Charles Taylor in 1999. Bryant was previously a businessman and was chosen as chairman because he was seen as politically neutral and therefore acceptable to each of the warring factions, which included LURD, the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL), and loyalists of former President Taylor. He is a prominent member of the Episcopal Church of Liberia, and was critical of the governments of Samuel Doe (1980–90) and Taylor (1997–2003).
In January 2007, Bryant was questioned by police regarding allegations of corruption during his time in office.1 On 27 February 2007, Bryant was charged with embezzlement. His government is alleged to have embezzled more than US$1 million.2 On 12 March a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was not immediately arrested because he was said to be absent from Monrovia and in Lofa County instead,3 but on 13 March he was arrested and released on bond shortly thereafter.4 In court on 25 April, the defense argued that Bryant constitutionally enjoyed immunity for actions taken as head of state, while the prosecution argued that he did not because his appointment resulted from the Accra Accords in August 2003 and occurred outside the constitutional framework.5 On 24 August 2007, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the prosecution's argument, enabling Bryant's trial to continue.6
Bryant was arrested on 7 December 200778 after failing to appear in court earlier in the week.79 He had said that he was boycotting the court because of his belief that he enjoys immunity.9 As he was being taken to a prison in Monrovia, he said: "This is a very, very, dark day for Liberia. This is the reward we get for restoring peace and democracy to our country."8 He was released from the central prison in Monrovia on 8 December after he signed a commitment to appear in court on 10 December.10
On 30 April 2009, Bryant, along with four others, was acquitted of stealing US$1 million from the state oil refinery.11 Additional charges regarding the alleged theft of US$1.3 million from the state were dropped on 24 September 2010.12
Born in Monrovia during the early years of the Tubman era, Bryant is a member of the Grebo people. He matriculated at Cuttington University in 1972, and in 1974 he married the former Rosilee Williams; together they are the parents of three children. Before becoming the chairman of the interim government, he operated a company that supplied machinery for the Freeport of Monrovia, and he was the chairman of the Liberian Action Party,13 which has since merged with President Sirleaf's Unity Party.14
- Jonathan Paye-Layleh, "Liberia ex-leader probed on graft", BBC News Online, 19 January 2007.
- "Liberia's ex-leader 'stole $1m'", BBC News Online, 28 February 2007.
- "Liberia to arrest ex-interim president", AFP (Independent Online), 13 March 2007.
- Naomi Schwarz, "Former Liberian Transitional President Arrested for Corruption", Voice of America News, 13 March 2007.
- "Liberia: le parquet général dénie toute immunité à l'ex-président Bryant", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), 25 April 2007 (French).
- "Liberia: la Cour suprême donne son feu vert pour juger l'ex-président Bryant", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), 24 August 2007 (French).
- Nico Colombant, "Liberia's Former Leader Bryant Is Arrested in Corruption Probe", VOA News, December 7, 2007.
- "Ex-Liberia president arrested", Al Jazeera, December 7, 2007.
- "Liberia's ex-president held", News24.com, December 7, 2007.
- "Ex-Liberian president released from jail", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), December 8, 2007.
- "Ex-Liberian president acquitted of theft", Sapa-Associated Press (IOL), 1 May 2009.
- "Reconciliatory Gesture Or Political Compromise? Why NTGL’s Bryant Walked. ", FrontPageAfrica, 24 September 2010.
- Weiner, Tim. "A Man Without Enemies: Charles Gyude Bryant". The New York Times 2003-08-22. Accessed 2013-01-26.
- Fahngon, Jimmey C. "UP, LAP, LUP Merged: Ellen Says It's A Dream Come True". Liberian Journal 2009-04-02. Accessed 2013-01-26.
|Chairman of the Transitional Government of Liberia
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf