Rainbow Coalition Questions Weah Donations to Local Govt -Wonders about Procurement Processes, Funding Source

MONROVIA – President George Manneh Weah, during his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on January 24, 2022 informed Liberians that his government would be empowering local governments across the country with 30 pickups, 150 motorcycles and 15 ambulances. The next day, true to his words, President Weah presented the goodies to the traditional leaders of the country. But the National Executive Committee of the Rainbow Alliance is picking serious bones with President Weah’s “donations” to local government, calling into question the source of funding of President Weah’s donation, the total amount, whether the donations were captured in the national budget and whether the procurement of the logistical items were done in line with the public procurement processes.

In separate communications addressed to House Speaker Bhofal Chambers, Senate Pro Tempore President Albert Chie, and the Media, the Rainbow Coalition on February 5, 2022 noted that President Weah’s donations to local government authorities contravened Article 34 Section (d) (ii) of the Liberian Constitution which states that “No monies shall be drawn from the treasury except in consequence of appropriations made by legislative enactment and upon warrant of the President: ……. An annual statement and account of the receipt and expenditure of all public monies shall be submitted by the office of the President to the Legislature and published once a year.

In its carefully worded position statement, the Rainbow Alliance further called on the Liberian Legislature to clarify the source of funding of the 30 double cabin pickup trucks, 150 motorbikes and several ambulances, and whether such purchases were captured in the 2021 national budget?

“If so, please indicate the exact line item allotment in accordance with Article 34, Section (d) (ii) of the constitution. Were the funds which the president used to purchase the 30 double cabin pickup trucks, 150 motorbikes and several ambulances captured in the 2022 national budget? If so, please indicate the exact line item allotment in accordance with Article 34, Section (d) (ii) of the constitution referenced above,” the Rainbow Coalition postulated, further wondering whether the procurement of these items follow PPCC procurement regulations and competitive bidding process’ or whether the bidding was single-sourced.

The Rainbow Coalition also wondered as to the name of the vendor, payment methods, vouchers, delivery note, and official receipts to indicate the total cost for the purchase of the 30 double cabin pickup trucks, 150 motorbikes and several ambulances.

“Moreover, we recall that during the president’s nation-wide tour in 2021, he made promises to provide pick-up trucks and motorcycles to local government officials as his personal gift. If this is the case, we call on the Legislature to cause the president to declare his assets for the 4 years of his presidency (2018 to the present).

“We want to assure you, Hon. Speaker and members of the Legislature that this request for clarification is not unreasonable, as it simply seeks to uphold our constitution, and ensure that there is transparency in our governance structure,” the RA statement signed by its Chairman Reginald Goodridge indicated.

To harmonize the issues raised in its query to the National Legislature, the Rainbow Coalition therefore suggested that the Legislature conduct hearings on the aforementioned matter, and lay questions to the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, and the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia.

“The Rainbow Alliance will exercise its constitutional rights to request that the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) undertakes a forensic investigation into this matter,” the release sternly noted.

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