Assets Declaration ‘My Privacy’

President Weah told a BBC interviewer in February 2019 that his asset declaration is his privacy and is concealed from public view in order to protect his family.

-President Weah tells BBC why his net worth is concealed from public 

President George Weah has said he cannot declare his assets since the exercise began last year due to his need to protect his family.

Speaking on a wide range of issues in an interview with BBC published on Monday, the President said many of his ministers have declared their assets but he cannot make his assets declaration public because “it is my privacy.”

“I have kids and families to protect. So I gave them access to all my banks, so they have to protect me. Information about my assets cannot be made public. For those government officials who have not yet declared their assets, I have told them to do so because they have to abide by the law.”

He however avoided answering a question as to whether he intends to compel his officials to publicly declare their assets or face penalties for not doing so.

And such a statement by the president, according to anti-corruption activists, clearly shows the president’s weakness or lack of interest in fighting corruption in a transparent way.

On the current inflation, which skyrocketed from 12.44 percent in 2017 to 24.5 percent in 2018, President Weah told the BBC that he does not have a definite answer on the cause of the high inflation rate in the country because “I am not a financial expert.”

Hear him: “I’m not a financial expert but what I try to do is to make sure that our people get their needs and wants. What I tried to do is to speak to those importers, informing them the rice is expensive and we are a pro-poor government, so you need to lower your price. But again, they found a reason to keep their prices where it is.”

Many Liberians who heard the president’s interview felt that President Weah was not sufficiently prepared and informed about what is going on in his government to deliberate on such an international platform. Many perceived that the President’s officials should have better prepared him for the interview by preparing talking points based on questions to be posed by the BBC correspondent.

When the BCC reporter asked him for his proudest achievement since taking office a year ago, President Weah said: “It is the pavement of a roads and construction of a school in Clara Town.”

“For me, it is about giving the community I lived in for so many years a road and to see that they have a school and the announcement of free education at all public universities and colleges across the country, which benefits a lot of citizens from Clara Town.”

President Weah did not mention the name of the school that he has built for residents of Clara Town, but apparently, he was referring to the Mavin Sonii Elementary & Junior High which has been in existence for over forty years. The road in question, which connects Clara Town to Doe Community, was rebuilt by his predecessor, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to serve a population of over 30,000.

On the high rate of unemployment in the country, President Weah described it as worrisome and explained that his government is working out modalities to address it.

“We are trying to create jobs through agriculture. If you look at your index, we have created more than 7,000 jobs and we are doing our best to make sure the problem is solved,” he said. However, President Weah did not explain what ‘index’ he was referring to, and the 7,000 jobs that he said he had created he did not also explain what kind of jobs they are. The 7,000 jobs that he claimed he has created could be the padding of government ministries and agencies with hundreds of non-skilled CDCians (partisans) who have been absorbed by the government for their role in bringing his government to power.

Finally, on the issue of the War Crimes Court, President Weah explained that, thought he has not yet made up his mind, his government intends to heal the pains of the war through reconciliation.

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