Tweah Responds To Konneh’s Allegation on HPX Deal -Says Konneh Has “Plain Ignorance of Finance”

MONROVIA: What could be described as finally dismantling the series of allegations being meted against him by the incoming Senator of Gbarpolu County, Amara Konneh that he proceeded wrongly with the HPX mining deal, Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel D. Tweah Jr has vehemently discounted the allegations, insisting that all necessary due processes according to the laws of Liberia and international best practices were followed to the hilt and described Konneh as someone who has “plain ignorance of finance”.

The touch talking Minister came smoking out Konneh from his vantage point with the allegations which he has been posting on his verified facebook page in which challenged handling of the HPX mining deal in which the company committed $37m to in a concession agreement for the usage of the Nimba rail, stressing that “only a ratified concession agreement is considered valid under Liberian laws and that framework agreements carry no such legal weight or financial authority under the public procurement and Concessions Act or the Public Financial Management Act”

“I have a copy of the GOL’s Framework Agreement with HPX, shared below, and it is no different. It gives the company no rights to any government assets but sets out a roadmap to ratification. Without a disbursement of funds, it would not be legally binding.

“But then you took $37 million from HPX and made it so. And now, HPX has reason to believe it has a right to the agreement’s swift ratification, failing which they can potentially sue.

“Liberia did not need the added reputational harm that you have caused here. This is at least the third time you have admitted to taking illegal measures to cover holes in the payroll because of your bogus “harmonization” policy that made the nearly 70,000 civil servants to vote against your boss”, Senator Amara Konneh posted on his wall with the caption, “Welcome to Fiscal Governance 101”.

But in his swift reaction, Minister Tweah who said he was attaching the signature page and heading of the 2022 Framework agreement “so it is clear this was a Government wide transaction and not ‘through Samuel Tweah’ as Amara tried to falsely portray”, summarized all the legal steps in the said transaction, including that the “HPX engagement with Liberia grew out of a ratified international bilateral agreement reached between Guinea and Liberia on transport of Guinean ore through LIBERIA, that PPCC approved a procurement of port concession for HPX which  was issued a concession certificate, which is prepared by MFDP and that the Liberian Cabinet endorsed this procurement”.

Providing more information on the transaction, Minister Tweah said HPX and Government then entered a framework agreement in 2019 and that both sides agreed to work on Concession and Access agreement to be ratified by the national Legislature.

“HPX in this agreement agreed to pay $7 million to Liberia’s Consolidated Account through the Central Bank of Liberia. This was part payment of future payments the company  would make if it got a concession agreement. This $ 7 million would be refunded if an access agreement was not reached by both parties. HPX would make request for this refund to be made”, he said

Minister Tweah who was one of the signatories of the deal said both parties amended and restated the 2019 Framework agreement in 2022 where the terms were similar with other revisions but this time the Company agreed  to pay $ 30 million  and to consider the original $7 million not due just as it was also stated that if a concession could not be reached by a specific date Liberia agreed to refund hpx by a certain date upon request from HPX.

“The repayment date has since come and gone  but HPX has deferred the application of the clause on repayment in the spirit of Government reaching agreement with both HPX and ArcelorMittal without which the Access Agreement cannot happen. These letters are available for the new administration.

“The new Administration will continue to work to secure an agreement with all sides. If this is not possible HPX would make a request for repayment as agreed in the framework and the Government would refund”, Tweah stated further..

While insisting that no Liberian laws were violated IN the processes as he outlined in his response, he said he did not explain all the processes because “we don’t run Government in the public this way”, stressing “however when politically motivated individuals aim to mislead the public we are forced to respond this way”.

Minister Tweah said the signatories to the agreement were the Minister of Mines and Energy, the Chair of the National Investment Commission and the Minister of Finance and Development Planning and attested by the Minister of Justice.

“So Mr Konneh this is not ‘SAMUEL TWEAH OPERATION’ as you tried to mislead the public. You owe an apology to us signers, the Legislature you accused and HPX you are trying to indict.

“We await your apology. Again think before writing! all references you made today about PPCC laws were met and we could not go to the legislature because we don’t have an agreement yet to carry them there.

“For those asking for accountability on 37 million, this money plus all other Government monies are discussed in GOL expenditure reports. No separate account can be given for a single revenue source. Monies go into the pot and are spent for salary, roads and other public goods”, he said.

Addressing the issue of the framework document of the agreement which Konneh had posted, Tweah said Konneh did not understand it, “and knowing you I don’t expect you to understand”, and summarized the document in what he called “simple English” for Konneh to understand.

“First the argument  that the GOL can only receive money after ratification is just  plain ignorance of finance. In 2013 you issued LRD  $6 billion   Treasury bills to Commercial banks. At today’s exchange rate this is about US$ 32 million that came into the Government treasury. Show me the ratification by the national legislature? There was none.

“What this means is that all receipts into the central Government do not have to be ratified. Financial instruments  that bring in monies for treasury or monetary purposes are not. The Legislature merely approves a debt limit under the budget to get this done.

“This same legislature approved the 30 million in the budget based on the Framework agreement, which is a short term instrument for a specific purpose. Like a 3 month T bill, the Framework u posted says HPX will advance some money to the Government upfront and will pay other monies after access concession is ratified. If the ratification does not happen HPX can request repayment. This is perfectly legal or else HPX, an experienced global company, would not be writing such an agreement”.

 

Debunking the other major point about the claim of lawsuit, Minister Tweah said the agreement says if the gol does not give concession, HPX  will request ‘liquidated damages’ from GOL. “An Amara Konneh hearing ‘damages’ thinks this is ‘ damages’  to be awarded by a judge. You see how you lack understanding! GOL and HPX agree to something called ‘liquidated damages’. He said it was the amount paid plus some interest and other charges as defined in the framework document, adding “so GOL risks no damages it is not already aware of; The Attorney General signed these documents”

“The other important related point is that HPX has written that it does not want payment yet. Ok let’s make it simple for Amara. I owe Amara 10k. It was due yesterday. Amara writes that I don’t want you Tweah to pay me because you may not have to once we reach some other agreement so let’s keep pushing the due date. Then how would  Amara go to court to sue Tweah for 10k? Hell No. Tweah will simply show the judge Amara ‘s letter saying Tweah should not pay yet. So all talk about damages to be paid to HPX are foolishly ignorant and hogwash!

“In short HPX has made no request yet for payment and has written GOL to postpone application of the clause in the framework surrounding repayment. How then can they sue GOL?. HPX announced  it was meeting President- Elect  JNB in Washington. This meeting is to understand how the new administration plans to engage on this issue”, he said.

Providing more clarity on the allegations from Konneh, Tweah questioned the rationale of Konneh asking for the specific spending of the $7m and $30m, asking “how could you ask this as a former finance  minister, this shows you knew nothing about the running of that ministry”.

He said all revenues to the GOL which included but not limited to HPX, ArcelorMittal, Firestone, Bea Mountain, Personal Income Taxes from Government workers, Import duties. fuel levies, budget support from the World Bank, EU or AFDB are all emptied  into one big pot called consolidated revenue account.

“Now which $100 dollar bill comes from HPX  and which one comes from Arcelormittal in that pot? These dollar bills do not carry the names of those paying into the account. All monies go to fund public goods under the budget. Amehn! How do you ask me to say what I did with $37 million when this was added to more than $500, all of which were spent under the budget? There are annual audited fiscal outurns that answer your question.

“Now I see why you were dismissed for incompetence by the World Bank. Totally understandable. But I already knew your level having worked with you. It was no surprise.  Now go tell the public how you owned a farm with a value of $7 million in Gbarpolu. How you acquired $ 3 million in property in Philadelphia. I must talk about plenty of other things I know?

“On question of fiscal governance our records are there and it is not me who will say it. Go to the MCC scorecard and read many reports under the IMF program and from the World Bank.

“Mr. Konneh you have long been coming after me and now you have me. I am leaving the office and you will have me to contend with. Since you believe I prevented you from running on a CDC ticket in the 2020 Senatorial election, we can now talk all here. To win Gbarpolu you trucked 7000 Liberians against public law and you can go talk about ‘sanctions committee’?

“Here I am combining all the issues: HPX, fiscal focermcev, your million dollar properties and oh I forgot that you lost $ 10 million in Lebanon due to the banking crisis there”, he concluded.

2 Comments
  1. Jake Doe says

    Amara Konneh does not actually know a damn thing about finance proper. A creature and a stooge of Ellen, he is simply one of those DILITTANTES Ellen picked up and placed at Finance, CBL, and Foreign Affairs, Since she chose to be President, Finance Minister, Foreign Affairs Minister, and CBL Governor at the same time from 2006 to 2017. Peruse the resume of Minister Tweah and that stooge of Ellen Konneh. You will see that the displayed ignorance of Amara Konneh here is obvious.

  2. gArRrE says

    does priligy work This man was by all definitions 100 percent sterile, and it was my unfortunate job to explain to this otherwise wide- eyed, cheerful young couple who were looking forward so much to having a family that they couldn t have children

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