MONROVIA – The National Legislature is demanding an explanation from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning on several budgetary items. The lawmakers are debating the proposed 22\23 national budget.
During the debate, questions were raised about several items which include the over US$80 million included for domestic debt payment, the Pro-poor media for which it has earmarked US$125,556, etc.
The Ministry of Finance is still finding it difficult to explain what the Pro-poor media is.
This has drawn investigation from a segment of the local media.
According to an investigation conducted by Smart News Liberia, the item was placed in the budget to allegedly pay surrogate Liberian media.
Investigation revealed that over US$125,000 was budgeted by the Ministry of Finance to pay some independent media institutions which have in recent times turned into surrogates and propagandists for the government. Smart News Liberia obtained this information from top officials at the ministry.
The investigation revealed that Finance Minister Samuel Tweah has allegedly been paying some media that were earlier critical of him.
He has diverted the cost of the monthly obligation from himself to the government by placing it in the proposed national budget under the title: Pro-poor Media.
Investigation further revealed that as a means of stopping the media from exposing alleged government excesses, he entered a marriage with some independent media who are being paid huge sum of money monthly.
Some opposition figures in the country have voiced their opposition to the approval of some of the items that also include the alarming domestic debts item.
This followed widespread rumors that the Weah government has purchased several SUV vehicles for some local media editors.
Top sources have said that recipients of this scheme allegedly include some talk show hosts, media editors, and media managers. They vowed to release the list of beneficiaries.
The communication officer at the Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Patience Senkpeni Kumeh denied a blotted budget at the Ministry and could not say whether media editors are on the ministry’s payroll.
But some media editors have been seen riding newly purchased used vehicles in recent weeks.
It is not clear whether these are some of the swags from the Weah Government’s goodwill.
Couple of weeks ago, a talks show host of President George Weah’s privately owned Kings FM Radio, lambasted Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah and other government officials of paying independent media to conceal excesses in the government.
The radio said Tweah and other have abandoned the station and are allegedly paying independent media institutions to cover up alleged excesses being committed against the people of Liberia.