The Office of the First Lady of Liberia, Mrs. Clar Duncan Weah has issued a strong worded response, terming it as baseless, reckless and misleading, allegation by Mr. James Salinsa Debbah, an ex- international footballer and a cousin of President George Manneh Weah in which he accused the First Lady of receiving more money from the national budget than the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS).
In a release well circulated to media houses in Monrovia, a copy of which was served THE ANALYST, the Office of the First Lady descended on Mr. Debbah for failing to provide the exact amount allotted from the national budget to the first lady to substantiate his claims, and warned Debbah to refrain from making falsehood and groundless comments against the First Lady, to rather face the reality of the defeat inflicted on him in the recent District # 9 Representative By-elections.
Though the release also felt short of stating the exact amount Mrs. Weah received from the 2020/21 fiscal budget, it stated that budgetary allotments to the office of the First Lady which are properly legislated, go towards personnel salaries and projects targeting the needy which she supervises. As of date, according to the release, the First Lady was able to embark and complete the some projects such as, the full rehabilitation and refurbishing of many orphanages and schools in several counties, provide regular food and non-food supplies to over 30 orphanages in Montserrado, Margibi, Grand Bassa , Bomi, among others, carried out the construction of a modern home, and complete full renovation of two residents of extremely poor elderly and disabled persons in Montserrado County.
The release also pointed to scholarships awarded several young ladies, including various universities, secondary and elementary schools, and also named the ongoing construction of a modern vocational training center for wives of members of the Armed Forces of Liberia, as well as support to the National Female Soccer Team.
Mrs. Weah further named provision of nearly 80,000 packages of food rations for over two years to the elderly under the elderly feeding program, provide livelihood support as part of COVID-19 response, targeting several communities in the hardest hit counties including Montserrado and Margibi counties, and conduct other humanitarian outreach initiatives, etc.
The release further said that due to the huge humanitarian needs of the country which the resources made available to her office cannot handle, the First Lady out of her passion and affection for Liberians, established her own initiative – the CLAR HOPE FOUNDATION, as a non-political and non-for-profit organization aimed at enabling an equitable society in Liberia where women and children are educated, healthy and fully empowered to lead independent lives.
Funded exclusively by private individuals and organizations including Liberians who believe in the First Lady, according to the release, the Foundation has been able to facilitated the skill training of thirteen Liberian teen agers in China, covering their tickets to and fro, their accommodation and other expenses; did the construction, furnishing and operation of a modern self- contained 30 bedroom old folks home in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County; implement the construction of an entire village known as City of Hope in Marshall, Margibi County to educate and transform less fortunate Liberians including over 200 girl children of ages beginning from age 4, provide vocational and technical skills and accommodation to street girls and other disadvantaged youth among others.
The releases also noted that Mrs. Weah is pleased that hundreds of Liberians are being impacted by the many initiatives of her office and foundation, but will remain focused on extending to as many needy Liberians as possible.
Meanwhile, THE ANALYST in its usual way of delving deeper in her reportage found out that since from 2018 when her husband became President of Liberia to 2020, the First Lady has received the total of $2,200,000 (two million and two hundred thousand United States Dollars) which can be broken as 2017/2018 Recast budget $500,000.00, 2018/2019 budget $1,000,000.00 and 2019/2020 $700,000.00.
Though the figure for the 2020/2021 could not be independently confirmed as at the time of going to the press, it can however be confirmed that for the current fiscal budget, the amount of $4,052,304 was allotted to the Monrovia Consolidated School System which Mr. Debbah had stated received less than what was allocated for the Office of the First Lady.