‘I Challenge Anyone To Produce Evidence’ -Pro Tempore Chie Denies Donating Vehicles, Bikes to UP

MONROVIA: Pundits are still perhaps pondering the basis of the viral reports that the, purchased and donated conflicting numbers of campaign vehicles and motorbikes to the opposition Unity Party. The reports have been so widespread on the social media and in street corners that it has got some traction amongst every segment of the population, particularly those in Monrovia. If there is any basis at all for this it is one thing that some citizens are saying: that once upon the time the ruling Party Executive member funded a senatorial opponent who was contesting against a CDC candidate a couple of years ago. Otherwise, the reports generally remain a gossip and hearsay thus prompting the accused, Senator Albert Chie, to issue a strongly worded denial statement in which he is asking for evidence from his accusers. The Analyst reports.

Grand Kru Senator who is the Chief Administrative Officer of the Liberian Senate and an official of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change, Hon. Albert Chie, has described as “totally untrue, baseless, and unfounded allegations in many quarters of the public space that he had donated vehicles to former ruling party, now in opposition, Unity Party to boost that party’s campaign activities.

He is the allegation is intended to distract the attention of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

The social media and a section of Liberia’s traditional media have been rife with reports that the CDC official had donated a horde of campaign logistics, including vehicles and motorbikes, to the CDC’s most serious opponent, the Unity Party.

But in a statement to the media, Senator Chie said: “At no time have I purchased any vehicle for or made donation of any kind, directly or indirectly, or requested any individual or business, directly or indirectly, to make a donation to the Unity Party or any other opposition political party, institution and individual.”

He described the allegations as “lies started as the result of panic by some persons when information was posted on the social media that the Unity Party had acquired 15 pickups and 73 motor bikes.

“This situation is now being exploited by some opportunists who are constantly placing more inciting information on social media to confuse and laugh at the CDC and nourish confusion among its rank and file. The opposition Unity Party is quite aware that I have made no donation to its institution.”

Meanwhile the Senate Pro Tempore has put up a challenge to “anyone in this country to provide evidence that I have made a donation of vehicles or any item, directly or indirectly, to any opposition political party.”

He said if anyone has got such an evidence, “please provide it to the press for publication. I do not sneak and I have no need whatsoever to sneak.”

The Grand Kru Senator reiterated his full commitment to the CDC and used the opportunity to thank many Cdcians and other supporters of the CDC “who have expressed, both privately and publicly, that they don’t believe the false allegations against me and have named some of those behind this false accusation and black lie”.

He was quick to call attention to his recent speech in which he had forewarned citizens to be aware of vicious lies and propaganda this year due to the ensuing presidential and general elections.

He recalled: “On May 16, 2023, if you can recall, I left you with a caveat while delivering my opening statement at this second segment of the sixth session, stating, ‘My fellow Liberians: We are in an election year. Be careful to digest well what you hear and read, before you believe. Political lies, character assassinations, rumors, fabrication with the intent to deceive the masses will be the order of the day’.

“Within a fortnight, precisely last week Thursday, the 25th of May, 2023, I was appalled by news that social media and a few radio stations have been parading with information alleging that I purchased certain number of vehicles for the Unity Party. Some said 8, others 10, 15, and up to 25 pickups. Opportunists have just added 73 bikes to the list and may add more items before the week ends.”

To his fellow CDC partisans, Hon Chie said: “Let us avoid intruders from dividing us to achieve their goals; let us remain focused and steadfast in achieving our mandate. Remember, as the Swahili proverb states ‘Unity is strength, division is weakness.’

“Let me thank the Press again for this interaction and seize this opportunity to thank all Liberians for their contributions to nation building.”

Other National Issues

Senator Chie used the statement to comment on critical national issues, amongst them the issue of elections and the need to ensure it is held peacefully and fairly.

“As we have reiterated, we commit the Liberian Senate to the promotion of free, fair and transparent elections in October and non-violence leading to these elections,” he noted, adding: “Political actors and the general public should note that election violence has many forms; and making statements which could incite partisans against other partisans or non-partisans or which could incite any member of the general public is no exception; hence it is prudent to desist from said acts and adopt a violence free approach that will enhance peace, stability and security for all of us.”

The Economy

The CDC official also indicated that since the 2023 National Budget was enacted into law, the Senate has noted signs of a bit of sluggishness in the economy leading to challenges that include depreciation in the exchange rate, little struggle completing payment of salaries on time as well as agencies and institutions complaining of delays in getting funds for their various activities and programs.

In view of the above challenges, he said, the Senate has begun discussing the economic matters with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the recent mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He also noted that the Liberia Revenue Authority has not been meeting their quarterly targets.

According to him, the IMF has also indicated that revenue from Customs is not performing despite the increase in the volumes of imports.

Slowness in the economy is not strange in an election year in developing countries due to many factors associated with elections, including the laissez faire attitude of taxpayers, he said and added: “The Executive and Legislature are working together to remedy the economic challenges and hopefully by the end of July, significant progress will be made.

“Some of the measures that may have to be taken quickly are to cancel some of the incentive agreements which have been entered into between the Government and some private entities, most especially the ones without legislative ratification; and the cancellation of certain duty-free privileges, especially on fuel.”

He further said there is a forecast of a finance gap in the 2023 National Budget in the tone of approximately 44 million US Dollars and there are plans to prepare and enact a Recast Budget in order to cut spending.

National Census Results

Regarding LIGIS works, Hon. Chief said LIGIS has written the Senate and indicated that the final census results will be available by the end of this month. Once the results are received, he said, the Legislature will act in accordance with the Constitution and other laws.

On this festive occasion commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the founding of the Kingdom of Sweden, it is my distinguished pleasure and honor, on behalf of the Government and People of the Republic of Liberia, and in my own name, to extend heartfelt congratulations and warmest felicitations to you, Mr. Ambassador, and through you, to His Royal Majesty King Carl the 16th Gustaf, King of Sweden, and to the Government and friendly People of Sweden, as you celebrate this major milestone in your country’s history.

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