President Boakai must come clean

President Boakai must come clean
President Boakai must come clean

By Othello B. Garblah

Africa-Press – Liberia. They say he who comes with equity must come with clean hands. So, President Joseph Nyumah Boakai is being demanded to come clean about the 285 pieces of earth-moving equipment.

For the last six years, President Boakai and his Unity Party criticized the former ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) for massive corruption, human rights abuses, and a flagrant violation of the rule of law, and rightfully so. Now barely six months into office, President Boakai appears to be treading similar path-entering deals and committing the country to surreptitious transactions that have left citizens asking more questions than getting answers.

On May 14, 2024, during his first cabinet retreat in Monrovia, Boakai’s Minister of State Without Portfolio, Mrs. Mamaka Bility, announced that the government had secured 285 pieces of earth-moving equipment. She explained that the equipment, including yellow machines and trucks, is to be distributed evenly among Liberia’s 15 counties.

What has been more puzzling to Liberians at home and abroad was her further pronouncement that the machines had already been turned over to the government through a visual ceremony attended by her, Minister Sylvester Grisby, and Public Works Minister Giddings.

She added that the machines were already en route to Liberia. At the retreat, a video showing dozens of earthmoving machines emblazoned with President Boakai’s photos and the Liberian flag was displayed, captioned “Handover ceremony—Presidential infrastructure program—President Joseph Boakai.”

The announcement of the 285 pieces of earth-moving equipment, which at first appeared to surprise President Boakai and some cabinet members at the retreat, at least from their expressions, has raised questions about transparency within the Boakai administration.

Until the arrival of the first batch of the 285 pieces of equipment on Saturday, July 6, the Boakai administration has remained tight-lipped about providing details about the processes leading to the purchase, leaving room for more speculation.

The unfolding doesn’t speak well of President Boakai, who has preached transparency and good governance over the years and is even on record for criticizing his former boss, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, for her failure to fight corruption in her administration.

There are discouraging reports that the Baokai administration is manipulating Public Procurement Commission and Concession documents to indicate that the government has met all procurement requirements.

Reports further suggest plans to bribe lawmakers into ratifying a backdated version of the purchase agreement for machines and trucks.

Such speculations require President Boakai to disclose the details surrounding such a transaction and not just speak through a surrogate minister whose explanation could raise more doubts.

Critics of the Boakai regime have begun comparing the CDC EBOMAF/ETON deals to Boakai’s 285 Yellow Machines, the details of which are still sketchy.

All that is known about the Boakai 285 Yellow Machines is that on May 14, 2024, while presenting at a three-day Cabinet Retreat, Minister Bility displayed a video to the surprise of President Boakai and other cabinet ministers. This sparked an immediate controversy, with some questioning the processes and procedures leading to this agreement.

The government had since remained silent on the yellow machines deal until recently when it emerged that SANY Group, the Chinese company supplying the machines, had started transporting them to Monrovia.

Source: Liberia news The New Dawn Liberia, premier resource for latest news

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