The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) has clarified that it has in no way violated the Revised Travel Ordinance of 2016/2017 on the Finance Minister’s official trip to China as reported in the Thursday, September 6, edition of the FrontPage Africa Newspaper under the caption “Liberia: ‘Pro-poor Gov’t Minister Pays US$16,000 to Upgrade from Business to First Class for Beijing.”
According to the Ministry’s Release, the purchase of the Minister’s ticket to Beijing, China was in accordance with the Government of Liberia Revised Travel Ordinance of 2016/2017, which changed the traveling class of Minister Samuel Tweah as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gbehzongar Findley from Economy to Business Class.
Economy class, also called coach class, is the lowest travel class of seating in air travel, while Business Class is a cabin designed to be conducive to business travelers or for very important persons, including high level government officials, providing facilities that can allow them to continue work during their flight. The step above business class is first class.
In its press release, the ministry also clarified that officials or employees of government traveling on official government business abroad are free at their own will, and expense to upgrade their ticket with absolutely no financial burden to the government or on the tax payer.
Further, the ministry said it has no knowledge of the purported ticket published by FrontPage Africa that the paper claims belongs to Minister Tweah, and was purchased from Worldwide Air Service in Osu, Accra, Ghana, though it carries the Minister Tweha’s travel particulars.
However, the Finance Ministry has said that contrary to this alleged deliberate “falsehood” being peddled by the FrontPage Africa, the authentic ticket purchased by the Ministry for Minister Tweah’s trip to China was purchased from Jos Travels and Tours, Incorporated in Monrovia.
The Ministry also adds that contrary to the concerns raised by the newspaper’s story about adherence to the Procurement Policy, all procurement compliance requirements were met.
Meanwhile, the Ministry has added that under the stewardship of Minister Tweah, “the ministry will vigorously drive the Pro-poor Agenda of the government, and is committed to ensuring the upholding of financial standards, and regulations that guide against waste and abuse of public resources with the ultimate goal of effectively utilizing public resources in order to narrow the gap between the rich and poor.”