Liberian Nobel laureate quits over government corruption

* Gbowee accuses president of failing to fight corruption

* Liberia government says disagrees with criticism

MONROVIA, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Nobel prize-winning rightsadvocate Leymah Gbowee has quit her post in Liberian PresidentEllen Johnson-Sirleaf's government, criticising her fellowlaureate for corruption and nepotism, her spokesman said onMonday.

Gbowee and Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa's first freely electedfemale head of state when she came to power in 2005, were namedjoint winners of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for their workpromoting peace in Liberia.

Gbowee, who helped Johnson-Sirleaf get reelected to a secondterm last year, is credited with helping to end Liberia's civilwar by organising 'sex strikes' among the wives of fighters.

She had been serving as head of Liberia's Peace andReconciliation Commission.

Omecee Johnson said that Gbowee resigned over concernsJohnson-Sirleaf had failed to root out corruption and nepotismin her government, but he declined to elaborate.

"Leymah Gbowee has resigned her post as head of the Peaceand Reconciliation Commission, and the government of Liberia hasaccepted her resignation," Johnson told Reuters by telephone.

Liberia's government confirmed Gbowee's resignation and saidit disagreed with her criticisms. Johnson-Sirleaf has three sonsin top government posts but she has denied charges of nepotismand has said ending graft is a top priority.

Liberia is one of the world's poorest and least developedcountries and is seeking to fund its recovery by drawinginvestment in its rich natural resources, which include vastiron ore deposits and offshore oil.

Rights advocates have expressed concern, however, that manyof Liberia's resource deals are marred by fraud and do notprovide the state with adequate revenue.

Global Witness said in September that Liberia's forestrydepartment had given out a quarter of the nation's land tologging firms over the past two years in a flurry of shadydeals.

(Reporting by Alphonso Toweh; Writing by Richard Valdmanis,editing by Diana Abdallah)

((richard.valdmanis@thomsonreuters.com)(+221 33 864 5076))


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