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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 February 2007, 14:27 GMT
Minister quits over sex scandal
Willis Knuckles (Photo: The Analyst www.analystliberia.com)
Mr Knuckles expressed his regret to his wife, family and the public
Liberia's top government minister, Willis Knuckles, has resigned over a sex scandal, the president has said.

Last week a local newspaper printed graphic pictures of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's most senior minister having sex with two women.

A BBC correspondent says people in the capital, Monrovia, have been shocked by the scandal.

The president said she regretted Mr Knuckles' resignation, but could not condone improper behaviour.

The BBC's Jonathan Paye-Layleh says it is rare for officials in Liberia to resign over such issues.

Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf said that her presidential affairs minister "has been a friend and close associate for many years".

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
The president said she could not condone improper behaviour

"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," she said in a radio address on Monday evening.

After the publication of the pictures in The Independent, Mr Knuckles expressed his regret to his wife, family and the public.

The Independent has also come under fire for publishing the explicit photos.

The government, meanwhile, said their publication was a violation of the country's penal code.

Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf became Africa's first elected female head of state last year, promising to rebuild the war-ravaged nation after 14 years of civil war.

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