President cites corruption, gov’t interference
The executive members of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC) have for the second time suspended the much anticipated 67th annual general meeting and election, this time for undisclosed reasons.
Originally scheduled for Tuesday, April 3, 2018, the LCC announced around the end of March that, due to concerns about possible poor turnout, the LCC Elections Committee had taken the decision to postpone the elections to Monday, April 30, 2018.
However, on the afternoon of April 30, members were dismayed to learn that the election would be again postponed, this time for reasons undisclosed and to a date unknown.
Ahead of the April 30 election date, LCC could confirm only one of the candidates in the election — Wendell Addy, who spent the previous week calling on Chamber members to support his presidential bid. Other names, such as former Finance Minister Lusine Kamara and incumbent LCC president Charles Ananaba, were speculated to be in the race. Yet, it wasn’t until 5 p.m. on Monday, April 30, the hour the election was expected to begin, that those vying for the LCC presidency were made known.
At election hour, Kamara was revealed as a contender against Addy. Shortly after, president Ananaba told the Daily Observer that he would not seek a second term.
According to him, LCC is now sinking in corruption as a result of government interference.
Mr. Ananaba revealed to the Daily Observer via mobile phone that corruption, lack of cooperation is now hampering the institution and it urgently needs attention.
However, Mr. Ananaba said, LCC which is one of the leading business organizations in the country and representing the interest of the private sector, is not being recognized by the current government.
“So, I don’t think whether this government is ready for business, because they are not recognizing the efforts of the organization,”he said.
Ahead of election day, an LCC release said: “only Members who were approved by the Executive Council and are in good financial standing will be allowed to vote or contest in the Elections on April 30th, 2018. Applications for membership received after the last regular Executive Council Meeting, which was held on March 6, 2018, will not be eligible to VOTE or CONTEST in Monday’s elections. The last voters Roll published on April 27, 2018 is null and void. The final Voters Roll will be published at 1pm on Monday April 30, 2018.
According to chapters 17 and 18 of the Articles of Association & Bye-Laws of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce:
17. Candidate for membership in the Chamber must sign a written application and an agreement to be bound, if accepted, by the memorandum and Articles of Association and Bye-Law. This application must be accompanied by a recommendation signed by two members of the Council, starting the candidate is a proper person to be accepted as a member of the Chamber.
18. This application should be brought before the Council at their next or some subsequent meeting, when the majority of the member of the Council then present may accept the candidate as a member. Such acceptance, together with payment of the entrance fee and subscription, will constitute membership.
“All completed proxy forms must be verified by the Secretariat by 12pm, Monday April 30, 2018. Payments for Membership received after 12PM on Monday April 30, 2018 will be applied the following day. Meaning you will NOT be eligible to contest or vote in the elections. On behalf of the Elections Committee and the Secretariat, we apologize for any confusion, misleading information, or inconvenience,” the Chamber announcement said.
Meanwhile, no new date for the conduct of the LCC election has been announced.