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Saturday, July 20, 2024

PRESIDENT BOAKAI WRITES SPEAKER KOFFA REGARDING CONTROVERSIAL ACQUISITION OF EARTH-MOVING EQUIPMENT

Date:

MONROVIA – Following months of controversy surrounding the acquisition of 285 earth-moving machines, President Joseph Boakai has addressed the issue in a letter to the Speaker of the 55th Legislature, Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa. The letter, dated July 9, 2024, aims to clarify the process and intentions behind obtaining the equipment, which has drawn substantial public and legislative scrutiny.

In his letter, President Boakai assured the Legislature of the transparency and integrity guiding the acquisition process of the equipment, commonly referred to as “Yellow Machines.” The President acknowledged that some members of the Legislature have raised concerns about the acquisition process and emphasized that the government is adhering to principles of transparency and good faith.

The initiative to acquire these earth-moving machines originated from a conversation between President Boakai and a long-time friend committed to the ARREST Agenda. Motivated by solidarity and a desire to expedite development, this friend offered to provide the equipment based on a gentleman’s agreement.

President Boakai emphasized that the process is currently in the negotiation phase, with no formal agreement or contract signed. He stated that no financial commitment has been made by the Government of Liberia (GOL) and no public funds have been utilized. The first batch of equipment arrived at the supplier’s expense, ensuring that the GOL has not incurred any transportation or acquisition costs.

Should negotiations fail, the supplier retains the right to reclaim the equipment, sell them within the Liberian market, or re-export them. This provision ensures that the GOL is not financially or contractually burdened.

President Boakai acknowledged the Legislature’s role in the ratification process and assured that once negotiations conclude and a formal agreement is reached, the necessary documents will be promptly submitted for consideration and ratification.

The President’s letter, which went viral on social media, particularly Facebook, has raised further questions and criticisms. Some critics questioned why Minister of State without Portfolio Mamaka Bility was seen with the equipment that the President claims does not belong to the Liberian government. Others speculated whether the President was acting as a brand ambassador for the company that provided the equipment, noting that the machines bore his picture and the Liberian flag upon arrival.

Political commentators have highlighted contradictions in the President’s letter, raising concerns about the transparency and accountability of the process. Despite these criticisms, President Boakai reiterated his commitment to maintaining open communication with the Legislature and ensuring the nation’s infrastructural development.

As the negotiations continue, the public and legislative scrutiny will likely persist, emphasizing the need for clarity and accountability in the acquisition of these critical assets for Liberia’s development.

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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