Public Ministry of Public Works says its Minister Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan has not left the country since the COVID-19 outbreak began in late December 2019 in Wuhan, the People’s Republic of China. According to the Ministry, Minister Nyenpan’s last trip out of the country was in August 2019, when he was part of a presidential delegation to Japan, Tokyo to attend international conference on African development.
Warning against stigma and rejection, as the virus does not identify institutions, lest to mention political parties, the Ministry in a press release of April 4, 2020 said it is saddened over the reported COVID-19 SIXTH CASE IN LIBERIA in which Assistant Minister for Planning and Research, James Reynolds has tested positive.
“While we empathize with Assistant Minister Reynolds during these vexing times of global pandemic, the Ministry informs the Public that Min. Reynolds and a host of other high-ranking officials of government including Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue and Transport Minister Hon. Samuel Wlue traveled to Stockholm, Sweden for the Third Global Ministerial Conference held in February.”
According to the release, the conference which was held on February 19-20 this year, was the 3RD GLOBAL CONFERENCE IN STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN under the MANO RIVER UNION ROAD DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSPORT FACILITATION PROGRAM (MRU/RDTFP) for the Pavement of the Karloken to Fish Town (80KM) Corridor Road in Maryland and River Gee Counties respectively.
A Public Works press release said upon his return to the country, Minister Reynolds on Tuesday after the holiday [March 17] reported in the Ministers’ chatroom on WhatsApp that he will be away from work due to illness, and that he needed to seek medical attention.
“So, in effect, Assistant Minister Reynolds has not been at the office since the 13th of March, thereby making it implausible to have had any official contact with the workforce, including Minister Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan who has not left the country since the COVID-19 outbreak began in late December 2019 in Wuhan, the People’s Republic of China,” the release indicated.
The Ministry of Public Works said in its release that, like other government-run institutions, the ministry remains committed to the fight against the novel Coronavirus pandemic and calls on the Public not to panic.
“The Ministry will therefore continue to abide by health protocols recommended by the relevant health authorities, the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) and the Ministry of Health (MOH),” the release furthered.
The Ministry’s clarification comes in the wake of local report that had the tendency to stigmatize Minister Nyenpan, who the report said was also listed to be on the trip to STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN.
But Minister Nyenpan told this paper in an interview that his name was cancelled from the list on the eve of the trip by President Weah who had asked him to stay in the country for the groundbreaking of the Robertsfield highway expansion.
Minister Nyenpan, in conclusion said his ministry is prepared to proceed under the direction of NPHIL. “This is a medical matter, they’re the professionals, they’re the experts; we have availed our and we will follow their lead. Whatever they decide, we’ll do. Our part is to make available to them every information as we know it and they will make a determination as to whether or not they want to lockdown the ministry or further reduce our staff,” he asserted.