CENTAL cautions Boakai

CENTAL cautions Boakai
CENTAL cautions Boakai

Africa-Press – Liberia. A Liberian integrity watch institution cautions President Joseph Nyuma Boakai to exercise restraint in negotiating foreign deals.

The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) expresses dissatisfaction with the Government of Liberia’s recent pronouncement about acquiring 285 pieces of earth-moving equipment for road construction across the country.

CENTAL Executive Director Anderson Miamen says the hullabaloo surrounding the acquisition of the 285 pieces of earth-moving equipment is worrisome, cautioning President Boakai to proceed with extreme care in obtaining donations.

“We urge President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, Sr. and his team to look into the history and proceed with extreme caution in initiating discussions around potential support from individuals and groups, especially those with business interests in Liberia,” Mr. Miamen said in a news conference held at CENTAL head office in Monrovia on Thursday, May 30, 2024.

“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the Press, fellow Liberians, greetings to all. Last week, the Government of Liberia (GoL) held a Three-Day Cabinet Retreat during which the Minister of State Without Portfolio, Madam Mamaka Bility announced that 285 pieces of earth-moving equipment had been presented to the Government of Liberia in a virtual turnover ceremony attended by her, Hon. Sylvester M. Grigsby, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Hon. Roland Layfette Giddings, Minister of Public Works”, he notes.

According to him, the pronouncement has been greeted with mixed reactions from the public. On social media and other platforms, Liberians have welcomed the development but called for transparency, accountability, and full compliance with procurement and other related laws in acquiring the equipment.

Maimen recalls during a press briefing held at the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs, and Tourism on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, Information Minister Jerolinmek Piah said the announcement made by Minister Bility was not as a result of an agreement reached but rather an update on plans of the government.

But CENTAL says it has closely followed developments and discussions surrounding the saga, especially the Government of Liberia’s official position, as the Minister of Information communicated.

“We wholeheartedly welcome the Government’s plans to acquire multiple key assets and logistics to facilitate works and development in different sectors, including road/infrastructure in this instant case.

If used for the intended purpose (s), this will help to bring much-needed development to the Country and transform the lives of Liberians in the wake of increased levels of poverty and infrastructure deficit”, says Maimen.

Maimen continues that CENTAL is appalled by the government’s official response, which leaves more questions than answers, observing that “First, Minister Bility’s pronouncement lacked the required details to adequately inform the public about the process.”

He argues that the government was not compelled to speak on the matter since it claims that the arrangement is premature or in its formative stage.

“Yet, if the video presented by Minister Bility is anything to go by, the pieces of equipment have already been marked with the photos of President Joseph N. Boakai, decorated with the Liberian Flag, and in motion as if en route to Liberia.”

Meanwhile, the CENTAL Boss draws the President’s feet to the fire, reminding that the ‘no business as usual’ promise of President Boakai should be applied in this instant case.

He says as important as the procurement of these equipment may be in alleviating the deplorable road constraints faced by citizens, the lack of transparency around the acquisition, source of funding, and tendering may paint a dark picture and erode public trust and acceptability of the project.

“We call for more transparency, competition, and inclusiveness of processes around the transfer of our national assets as well as the acquisition of equipment for road, agriculture, and other critical sectors and activities. We urge President Boakai and his team to comply with the PPCC guidelines in any procurement-related matters fully”, he underscores.

He calls on the 55th Legislature to lead by example and be robust and independent in performing its duties, especially through ensuring transparency, accountability, and integrity around this and other related critical matters.

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