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CENTAL says it is deeply troubled by the government’s alleged failure to disclose fully the acquisition of the earth-moving equipment, which contrasts with Boakai’s professed anti-corruption commitment.

By Lewis S. Teh

Monrovia, July 11, 2024: A leading Liberian pro-transparency group says President Joseph Nyuma Boakai’s government’s acquisition of 285 earthmoving equipment without proper disclosure contradicts his commitment to the anti-corruption fight.

Addressing journalists on Wednesday, July 10, 2024, in Monrovia, the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) Executive Director Mr. Anderson Miamen wondered what was stopping the government from disclosing the details of the deal.

Mr. Miamen called on the Boakai administration to fully disclose how the government acquired the much-talked-about yellow machines.

“CENTAL is deeply troubled by this development, which contradicts the president’s professed anti-corruption commitment and respect for the rule of law and good governance requirements,” said Miamen.

Mr. Miamen also demanded that the government disclose the equipment’s cost, the source of funding, and the supplier (s).

He wondered why the Ministry of Information is still allegedly tight-lipped on the issue.

It can be recalled that on Saturday, July 6, 2024, the Liberian Government paraded several pieces of the equipment through the principal streets of Monrovia.

Various media outlets have quoted government sources as confirming the equipment’s importation as the first consignment of the much-discussed 285 machines.

Regarding the development, Miamen said it has been over a month since the Liberian government confirmed plans to acquire the equipment.

But he lamented that the government has only provided little or no tangible information.

The CENTAL boss indicated that the circumstances surrounding the acquisition of the yellow machines are still unclear despite persistent public outcry and demand for information from state authorities.

“The source, cost, nature of the deal, payment modalities, and other vital details are still [the] top secret of the government despite the Freedom of Information, Code of Conduct for Public Officials, and other laws and policies requiring full disclosure of such information,” Miamen argued.

He wondered why a government that premised its campaign on transparency and accountability would choose to shred the issue of the importation of such a huge quantity of equipment valued at millions of dollars in secrecy.

“We can only wonder. If the R component of the government’s ARREST Agenda truly means respect for the rule of law, then the government needs to do the needful by ensuring the right processes, including the Public Procurement and other tendering, are fully respected,” said Miamen.

According to him, this does not seem to be the case as things stand with the equipment acquisition. Miamen noted that this is not the first time the government has engaged in an opaque and non-competitive process.

He recalled how the Ministry of Public Works awarded over 20 million USD worth of road contracts to various contractors without competitive processes, only to admit wrongdoing and apologize to members of the Legislature.

“Liberians and development partners are seeing a similar trend with the yellow machines. Like the road contracts, the Liberian Government is violating her own established procurement, due diligence, participation, and other processes in procuring goods, services and works,” he said.

“This is highly troubling, especially for [the] President and Government portrayed as being experienced in leadership and governance,” Miamen continued.

He detailed that the reports that the company and individuals behind the deal have business interests in Liberia make the saga more concerning.

Miamen contended that if there is a lack of transparency and due diligence at this early stage of their engagement with the Government of Liberia, it says a lot about their future investments or relations with Liberia.

“We urge President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, Sr. and his officials to respect the laws of Liberia, especially Public Procurement and Concessions Commission’s Guidelines on negotiating and contracting works, goods, and services for Government and the Country,” CENTAL said.

Source of original article: Liberia news The New Dawn Liberia, premier resource for latest news (thenewdawnliberia.com).
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