-As President Weah Recalls Five Ellen’s 4G Bills
By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.
It seems that things are beginning to fall apart between former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and current Liberian leader, President George Weah.
Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf & Current President George Weah
It can be recalled that during the just ended 2017 Presidential and Representative elections in the country, there were claims and counter claims about then President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf support to the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) candidate, Ambassador George Weah.
Even though former President Sirleaf denied several times that her support was for her vice President and standard bear of the opposition Unity Party (UP).
Following the elections, the former Liberian leader was seen at almost every function or event with President Weah, a move many Liberians, particularly members of the CDC see as dangerous for newly elected President Weah.
But many were very shocked last week when President Weah recalled five of former President Sirleaf Bills, specifically concession agreements which were passed into law at the eleventh hour of madam Sirleaf’s tenure as President of Liberia.
Some political pundits see this action on the part of the Liberian leader as a gradual end to the long standing ‘political ‘marriage between the two Liberian leaders.
Those agreements recalled by President Weah are Dangote Cement Liberia Ltd, TIDFORE/(LICEMCO), Nimba Rubber Incorporated Inc., Liberia Traffic Management Inc. and Amendment to the amended firestone agreement.
“Honorable Pro-Tempore, I hereby recall these agreements from the legislature for reassessment by the National Investment Commission (NIC) to enable them meet fully procedural and substantive requirement, as well as value-for-money test, to assert the benefit of the Liberian people before possible resubmission to the legislature,” President Weah said in a communication to the Liberian Senate.
According to a communication sent to the Liberian Senate dated May 7, 2018, President Weah said that his decision to recall those concession agreements was as a result of the findings from the special Presidential concession review committee submitted to him.
It can be recalled that the Liberian leader upon taking over as President of Liberia setup a special committee to review all concession agreements in the country.
This move by President Weah was intended to access and ascertain whether all concession agreements were in compliance with the procedural and substantive requirement of Liberian law and to also evaluate the justification including benefits to the Liberian people and the nation for the tax and other incentives granted.
According to the committee’s report as being quoted by the President’s communication to that august body, the legal requirements in those agreements were not fully adhered to.
“For examples several provisions of the amended Public Procurement and Concession Act of 2010 were violated,” the President highlighted in his communication to the Liberian Senate.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Republic of Liberia furthered “all categories of tax relief (import, GST, turnover, presumptive, fuel and gasoline, withholdings on interest, dividends and third parties service, etc.) were either partially or fully granted to the concessionaires without any showing of measurable benefits to Liberia and its citizen.”
President Weah indicated within his communication to the Liberian Senate that most of the agreements seem not to have been meticulously prepared, thus, there are numbers of avoidable typos and misinformation, while exhibits reference in the agreements were not attached.