Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe Criticizes Unity Party-Led Government for Violating Its Own Tenure Laws

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Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe Criticizes Unity Party-Led Government for Violating Its Own Tenure Laws
Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe Criticizes Unity Party-Led Government for Violating Its Own Tenure Laws

Africa-Press – Liberia. Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe said the Boakai-led Unity Party also violated the PFM law by concealing the source of the funds for purchase of 285 yellow machines.
The former standard bearer of the Liberian People’s Party (LPP) and his party have taken a swipe at Joseph Boakai, accusing the Liberian president of violating Liberia’s Public Financial Management (PFM) Law of 2009, when he reportedly requested and received $80K from the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) to purchase vehicles while former President George Weah was still the President of the Republic of Liberia.

Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe said the Boakai-led Unity Party also violated the PFM law by concealing the source of the funds for purchase of 285 yellow machines.

The Honorable Mamaka Bility, Minister of State without Portfolio and Special Envoy of President Boakai, during the May 24, 2024 Cabinet Retreat announced that Liberia had acquired the machines.

Since the May 24 announcement by Minister Bility, the government has remained coy on the source of the equipment, raising questions from Liberians whether the machines are part of gifts or loans given to President Boakai in exchange for any of Liberia’s natural resources, including the Wologisi Mountain.

“The Boakai administration reported within the national budget only $45M as money to be borrowed in 2024, instead of disclosing the actual amount of $296M.

Gongloe: Boakai Repeating Weah’s ‘mistakes’

Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, renowned Liberian lawyer and human rights activist, ran on the ticket of the LPP in the 2023 legislative and presidential elections. Dubbed the broom man, he and his vice-presidential candidate were always seen with locally-made brooms as a symbol of their commitment to “sweep corruption” out of Liberia.

In the first round of the election, Gongloe did not get enough votes to be qualified for the runoff. It eventually ended between then President George Weah and Joseph Nyuma Boakai. Gongloe and his party threw their support behind Boakai, citing Boakai’s experience and commitment to fight corruption as the reasons. Following the election, Gongloe’s vice presidential candidate Dr. Emmanuel Urey Yarkawolo accepted Boakai’s offer to serve as executive director of the Environmental Protection Agency. Gongloe said while he still supports President Boakai, he will publicly speak against the government’s missteps just as he will commend it when it delivers.

Addressing the Center for the Exchange of Intellectual Opinion on Wednesday, Gongloe noted that if the Boakai administration was serious about the fight against corruption, it wouldn’t have been partial and continued to repeat past mistakes of breaching the law establishing tenure positions.

Gongloe termed it as ludicrous for the current Unity Party under Boakai to keep breaching the law establishing tenure positions which they created during their previous regime, and also criticized the Weah administration for violating it.

“The Unity Party is breaching the tenure position statute, which it created during its previous regime, and criticized the Weah administration for violating it,” Cllr. Gongloe said. “We see this attitude as a total mockery of the fight against corruption.”

Gongloe said the mandate given to the Asset Recovery Team, as an ad-hoc body, undermines the functions of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).

He proposed that setting up an asset recovery should be done legally as a department under the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, instead of being a separate ad-hoc body.

This decision, he said, is crucial, because the mandate given to the Asset Recovery Team as an ad-hoc body, undermines the authority of the LACC.

Therefore, he sees it rational that a legislative reform be made in the law establishing the LACC to ensure that officials appointed to public positions are compelled to declare their assets before taking office.

“There are people in government who have already served for five months without declaring assets and there is no assurance that some of the assets declared are government assets they are controlling,” Cllr. Gongloe stressed.

Cllr. Gongloe said he’s irritated that a government he was the first to declare support for during the presidential run-off election will begin to ignore its commitment made to the fight against corruption, by intending to violate anti-corruption laws.

He said this attribute is a typical behavior of West African politicians who get to power on promises fighting corruption, but revert to making excuses at the end.

These excuses, according to him, are at the detriment of the majority of their citizens, while families of politicians in power live better lives, receive advanced medical treatments and their children benefit from quality education, leaving the majority to live substandard lives.

Gongloe is at the same time uncomfortable about why West Africa continues to have drawbacks with economic growth due to corruption when other nations are speedily progressing.

He said: “At one time in West Africa, there were Air Africa, Nigeria Airwave, and Ghana Airwave, but all of these collapsed due to corruption. Today, we rely on Airlines from East Africa and North Africa. With this kind of situation, tourists would not develop West Africa and Investors would feel reluctant to come.”

Launching a new ‘Liberation War’

Gongloe announced that he was launching a “Liberia War” on corruption, which he said is the main impediment to sustained peace, economic development, and political stability.

“Our war against colonization is over and the struggle for democracy has reached a point that we can hold sections”, but he however noted that it is unfortunate that most of these election results are in favor of the corrupt politicians.

Similarly, Gongloe frowned at the attitude of politicians in Africa’s continuous failure to be pragmatic in the fight against corruption, which he declared a peril in Africa.

“At the inauguration, most governments in Africa pretend to emphasize fighting corruption as the number one priority under their policy agenda, but the evidence is that their intent is only good during the campaign,” he added.

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