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Friday, July 19, 2024

CRITIC SLAMS SPEAKER KOFFA FOR SHUTTING DOWN LPRC LOAN INVESTIGATION

Date:

Liberian political commentator and journalist Togar Alexander Bealded has expressed strong disapproval of Speaker of the 55th National Legislature, Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa, regarding his conduct during the June 25, 2024, session that discussed the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation (LPRC) loan saga. In a critical opinion statement titled “Wrongful Proceeding in the LPRC Loan Saga Hon. Speaker Cllr J. Fonati Koffa,” Bealded did not hold back in his condemnation of Koffa’s actions.

“I watched Tuesday’s session minutes ago and I felt sorry for Liberia,” Bealded began. “Even though an opposition Speaker, lawyer, and astute statesman, Hon. Koffa terribly let the public down by his action. The reason for balance of power and his election being celebrated by activists, civil society actors, and well-meaning Liberians is because people expect a lot from him, especially in holding the Executive accountable on excesses that tend to undermine the constitution.”

Bealded pointed out that, in blatant disregard of Section 41 of the Public Finance Management (PFM) Law and Article 34 D of the constitution, LPRC Managing Director Amos Tweh secured a $7.4 million loan from ECOBANK Liberia Limited without consulting or involving the Legislature, which is constitutionally mandated to originate such loans. He noted that this disregard for legal procedures is not isolated but rather symptomatic of a broader pattern of behavior across other government sectors.

“With the appearance of the LPRC Managing Director, all eyes were now on the House of Representatives to do the right inquiries and bring to book the management of LPRC and others to begin respecting our constitution and actors thereof,” Bealded said. However, he expressed disappointment with Speaker Koffa’s handling of the situation. “Days before the hearing, I began to get some unpleasant information about some unorthodox happenings that could have stalled adequate questioning of the nominee. I disregarded my information until now. True to that, the Speaker seized the floor and before deliberations and inquiries could begin stated, ‘The MD has given me a dossier of documents that require review and investigation, and so we will take this to committee…’ thereby shutting down any word from the MD amidst outcry from some colleagues.”

Bealded criticized this move as undermining the integrity of the Legislature. “I think this is unfortunate and tears down the sanctity of the Honorable Legislature; the Liberian people deserve better, Hon. Koffa. Over the periods, my admiration for people like you, Hon. Speaker, has grown but your action yesterday is a complete disappointment, and I like to register this publicly. It’s unacceptable and unfortunate, and you have to double up to continue to have the people trust your judgment and that of the Legislature you preside over. Let’s hope such constitutional violations are adequately addressed and violators reprimanded and not swept under the carpet as was done! Kindly double up!”

Bealded’s statement emphasizes the frustration and disappointment felt by many Liberians regarding the apparent lack of accountability and adherence to constitutional processes within their government. The criticism of Speaker Koffa highlights the need for greater transparency and integrity in the legislative process to restore public trust.

Socrates Smythe Saywon
Socrates Smythe Saywon is a Liberian journalist. You can contact me at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or reach out via email at saywonsocrates@smartnewsliberia.com or saywonsocrates3@gmail.com.

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