…. Reportedly Spends US$3k on 1st Class Ticket
MONROVIA –It has been established from multiple sources that the suspended Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency-EPA, Nathaniel Balama’s recent trip to Europe which led him to contracting the virus, violated the president’s directive given to all appointed officials early last year.
In late May last year, President George Weah issued a presidential directive to all appointed officials not to travel on first class ticket and must show proof of any travel of sponsors; should be known before any trip is made. But this was not followed.
The presidential directive states among others that: “all presidential appointees should provide evidence indicating the sponsors of their trips, period away from the country, along with their travel request letter.
It also requires that, as of July 1, 2019, ministries, agencies, and commissions eligible to attend statutory meetings or events in foreign countries must submit to the minister of state, schedules of the meeting or event and any intended quarterly travel plan for approval by the president.”
The directive became necessary after President weah’s government has been seeking ways to ensure financial discipline. In addition to that, many of the officials were spending huge sums of money on foreign travels.
The president instructed authorities of the Liberian Immigration Service to ensure full compliance with the travel restriction for his appointees.
A source close to Mr. Blama residence in Old Road told this paper on Wednesday that he went to Italy after the conference in Switzerland on a private visit.
“I think it was where I contracted the virus from,” he was quoted as saying. He was not available for comment.
But Mr. Blama rather took US$3,400(Three thousand four hundred United States dollars) from the entity’s account to purchase a business class ticket on SN Brussels. This was in violation of the president’s directive. The amount is reflected on a copy of the ticket from the airline. It is not known whether the conference reimbursed the entity.
It can be recalled that prior to his trip, he granted interview to this paper in which he explained about his trip but failed to give financial disclosure.
Upon his return from the trip, he violated health protocols and led the virus spreading to other people in the country. He told a newspaper recently that did not bring the virus to Liberia.
“I agree I requested to be tested so I was the first who was tested positive, but I didn’t bring Corona to Liberia because all of the other cases are not attached to me, Blama told Daily Observer recently. TNR