By Socrates Smythe Saywon
Monrovia – An investigation conducted by Smart News Liberia and the Liberian Listener reveal that President George Weah’s first leg of county tour received a budget of US$900,000.00 with an unspecified amount of Liberian dollars, with hardship and critically needed funds lacking for hospitals, schools, and key infrastructure in the country.
The amount, the source said, was disbursed through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, where one of the President’s confidants, Samuel D. Tweah is the minister. The funds were made available without proper scrutiny through the budget department of the ministry. The amount was provided in cash to the office of the President amidst tough economic hardship facing Liberians.
Before the President’s nationwide tour, the MFDP or the office of the President failed to inform the public of the budgeted amount for the tour. The decision by the two gov’t entities not to reveal to the public the amount budgeted for the president mounts to corruption according to political observers.
The President’s nationwide tour
The tour, which lasted for 14-day, started on February 12, 2021, was aimed at ‘strengthening the President and citizens relationship according to Executive Mansion sources. During the tour, the President held town hall meetings with locals, county caucuses, and administration, as well as the commissioning of projects including roads, administrative buildings, and housing units.
The President toured Bong, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Maryland, and Grand Kru Counties. In Nimba, an agent of the Executive Protection Service (EPS), Melvin Earley reportedly shot himself in Tappita, Nimba County amid President George M. Weah’s earliest County tour, the family of the officer is however disputing the fact and circumstances surrounding the death of their beloved one. According to preliminary reports, the long-serving EPS agent shot himself at about 06:03 a.m. on Friday, February 19, 2021. He was on duty during the time of the incident, according to the statement issued from the EPS.
President Weah visited and interacted with the people of the Gbi and Doru settlement, where according to the report the President has a farm, in the county. Observers are also concerned that the president who was never a farmer will now have a farm. “These political agricultural farms do not help our country to be self-sufficient. What we need, is proper investment in agriculture, not political posturing, on the issue of farming.
Meanwhile, the exorbitant amount spent on the county tour, by President Weah of taxpayer’s money has raised eyebrows and murmurs in several quarters. Liberians are calling on the national legislature to look into the matter, by calling Minister Samuel Tweah to the Assembly so that he explained, to the Liberian people the circumstances surrounding the matter.
Main Photo: President Weah /Chatham House