Liberia: UP Government Should Come With Clean Hands

Circumstances surrounding the expenditure of US$650,000 for the poorly organized inaugural ceremony of President Joseph Nyumah Boakai have a very high likelihood to taint the image of the new administration that campaigned on integrity and accountability to ascend to power if nothing is urgently done to set the record straight and erase suspicions both within and outside the ruling UP.

By every account so far, nothing seems to be clear on how funds allotted for various aspects of the inaugural ceremony at which people fainted because of severe heat and dehydration, were expended, with tales of diverse shades being told.

Hell broke loose when a total of US$365,000 allotted by President Boakai for ordinary citizens to celebrate his inauguration in all 73 districts across the country with each district apportioned US$5,000 is greeted with noise and discrepancy. As if this was not enough, the woman who headed the President’s inaugural committee, Aunty Miatta Fahnbulleh, told a media briefing Thursday, January 25, 2024, in Monrovia that she was never in control of activities for which she reportedly received huge cash.

Rather, she blames the former administration, security officers, protocol personnel everyone else, but herself, as head, for everything that went wrong on Inauguration Day, January 22, 2024, which was characterized by severe heat, lack of seats, and water for guests, which nearly turned fatal for President Boakai himself!

Aunty Miatta has yet to account clearly how funds received for the program she presided over was expended, with people she claimed to have given money for specific activities, such as media, US$50,000, and several thousand to an entertainment group “Kukatono” (we are one) refuting that they received far less than the amounts announced.

Addressing the Ministry of Information’s regular press briefing on Thursday, January 25, on Capitol Hill, she pointed fingers at the former Director-General of the General Services Agency (GSA) Madam Broh, revealing that the former GSA boss allegedly received funding for the renovation and preparation of the Capitol Building where the inauguration was held, but due to the poor management, progress was only halfway.

According to her, every time she tried to inquire, the consistent response she received was that the responsibility fell on the GSA.

She narrates that prior to the ceremony, she decided to confront Madam Mary Broh, but the meeting ended in deadlock, alleging that Broh obstructed preparations for the inaugural ceremony.

But reacting on Spoon Talk last week Thursday, Madam Broh said she didn’t receive a dime, contrary to allegation by Aunty Miatta that the former GSA boss received a larger chunk of the US$650,000 inaugural budget for logistical purposes. She explains that she has in her possession vouchers for cars that were rented for the occasion.

Besides, the National Chairman for the now ruling Unity Party, Rev. Dr. Luther Tarpeh is vividly struggling to account for the US$3650,000 allotted by the President for the 73 electoral districts to celebrate. Without consultation with other party executives in Monrovia, Chairman Tarpeh explains that UP county chairpersons from all 15 counties requested some of the money to have their celebrations, so he authorized disbursement of US$1,000 from the amount to each county chair for said purpose.

It is hard to comprehend how a party that preached equity, accountability, and moral leadership throughout the entire campaign could entangle itself and have its hands stained in the disbursement and expenditure of the first public money it handled right from the onset of its six-year rule.

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