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Friday, June 14, 2024

MOUNTING CONCERNS OVER PRESIDENT JOSEPH BOAKAI’S USE OF PRIVATE JET FOR GUINEA BISSAU VISIT

Date:

MONROVIA, LIBERIA – On Wednesday morning, May 15, 2024, President Joseph Boakai was seen boarding a private jet, tail number CN-SYA, bound for Guinea Bissau. The Minister of State for Presidential Affairs informed reporters at Roberts International Airport that President Boakai was on a one-day working visit to meet with Guinea Bissau’s President, Umaro Sissoco Embaló, to discuss issues affecting the ECOWAS region.

This development has sparked controversy, especially considering that President Boakai, during his time as the opposition leader, heavily criticized the former administration under President George Manneh Weah for using private jets. The opposition Unity Party, led by Boakai, condemned such practices as extravagant and a misuse of taxpayer money.

However, it appears that the use of private jets has continued under the Unity Party-led government. The trend began with Vice President Jeremiah Koung, which drew significant public criticism. Many argued that adopting the very practices they once decried was hypocritical and premature. Now, President Boakai himself has joined this trend, using private jets for international trips at the taxpayers’ expense, a move seen by many as a blatant disregard for the principles he once championed.

In addition to the criticism of using a private jet, there are concerns about the purpose of President Boakai’s trip. Questions have been raised about why he would discuss ECOWAS issues with President Embaló when Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu chairs the regional body.

An investigation into the jet revealed that it is registered as a private aircraft, with the owner’s information remaining confidential. Flight records show that the jet arrived in Monrovia from Morocco late Tuesday night, coinciding with President Boakai’s return from the United States. The jet then took him to Guinea Bissau, making brief stops in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Attempts to contact the President’s Press Secretary, Madam Kula Bonah Nyei Fofana, for comments on how the private jet was acquired for this trip were unsuccessful. The lack of transparency has further fueled public skepticism and criticism.

As the administration faces mounting scrutiny, the public remains watchful of the government’s actions, expecting adherence to the principles of accountability and transparency that the Unity Party once advocated.

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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