-- Urges the CDC Youth Wing to be issues driven in their criticism
The Chief Executive Officer and head of Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA) has defended his recent post of what appeared to be a sumptuous dish at a local restaurant.
On the OK FM 99.5 Morning Rush yesterday, Nagbe said eating food and posting it on Facebook should not be anything to judge him by except for acts against the law or the manifesto of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), which is about the masses who are poor and need upliftment in their living standards.
“What guides all of the public officials, mainly working within the Executive Branch of Government, is the Code of Conduct. It forbids us from posting nudity (nakedness of man or woman), use of vulgar language (insults) and a number of other things.
“But there is nowhere in the Code of Conduct we are forbidden to eat and run our social life as we want to. That is the fact and I think the Youth Wing has started a good mission but missed the mark by trivializing the purpose of constructive criticism,” he said.
The CDC Young Wing last week chastised Nagbe for uploading several pictures of himself “eating luxurious meals” at some of the country’s premier restaurants with the caption, “Food versus Man.”
Nagbe’s action, according to the CDC youth league, is a betrayer of the essence of the Pro-Poor agenda and raw provocation and sheer arrogance of the living conditions of the people.
They added that Nagbe undermines the sense of belonging that the party has envisaged for the people as a grassroots movement especially when the President “is making a serious effort in the fight against the COVID-19 and, at the same time, endeavoring to address the economically challenging situation of the citizenry.”
According to Nagbe, the Youth Wing of CDC is a great force of the political revolution but it should focus on public officials’ performances or deliverables in the offices they serve.
He said: “If I am not performing, they should jump on my head. They have been scrutinizing officials of the government, mainly those from the Coalition, but I think I am doing my best. I am running a major business for the government and we are generating profits.”
Nagbe, who previously served as Information Minister, added: “The masses are angry because they want the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) to serve them well. They want the LEC (Liberia Electricity Corporation) to serve them as it should. This is why the President appointed Monie Captan to chair the board at LEC. They are not complaining about the Maritime Affairs losing customers or not generating enough money that we are supposed to contribute to the national revenue.”
He pointed out that he respects the youth of the Coalition because they are in the majority and are the gatekeepers of the struggles of the CDC.
The Maritime boss said the cost of his plate of food was US$11.00 and later rose to US$14 because he offered a friend but, in all fairness, that should not have become an issue to judge him by.
About his car which has also made rounds of criticisms on social media for what appears to be its probable huge cost, Commissioner Nagbe said falsehood was spewed about the cost of the vehicle.
“The vehicle is the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe model and its cost starts at US$49,000. It was bought in America and shipped at the price of US$59,000. That is the truth as compared to the lies alluding to US$87,000 or US$90, 000,” he explained.
According to Nagbe, it was not a good idea for him to have gone for a 2020 model at a higher price when he could get a 2021 model at a lower price.
“I inherited a budget and in it there was an allotment for a car for me. If I had gone to the Toyota car sales point on Bushrod Island, I could have paid not less than US$87,000 or even more for a 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser. The only reason my car issue has become an issue is because of its design. It is beautiful and built,” he explained.
He added: “A Nissan Patrol costs over US$75,000, but I did not go for all of those expensive ones. I picked the cheapest 2021 vehicle through the Public Procurement and Concession Commission’s Act (PPCC).”
Nagbe said he is not allowed by the PPCC Law to buy any car above US$65,000 and, as such, his critics should find something else to talk about.
Lenn Eugene Nagbe assumed office as head of Maritime following his appointment on October 1, 2020 by President George Weah.
Prior to him taking on the new post, he served as Minister of Information Culture and Tourism (MICAT) and, prior to that, as Minister of Transport and Minister of Youth and Sports, as well as the Secretary General of the former ruling Unity Party (UP).
About his office’s accomplishments and challenges, Nagbe said he was happy that his predecessor, Dr. James Kollie, started the construction of the headquarters of the Liberia Maritime Authority.
“Dr. Kollie secured a parcel of land and began the construction of the headquarters. But, as the President has mandated me to go there and make a change, mainly by ensuring that the government no longer rents from anyone, I made it my duty to complete the structure, with some changes to give it the modernity and worth,” he explained.