By Alvin Worzi and David A. Yates
Following a damning preliminary audit of the Private Sector Development Initiatives (PSDI), which accused several Liberian businesses including Sanvee Holdings, the group’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Benjamin Sanvee has taken a sabbatical as chairman of the Liberty Party to afford him time to settle his arrears.
The PSDI established in 2014 was intended to provide loans to Liberian-owned Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) with the aim of creating access to financial stimulus for businesses across the country and encouraging inclusive growth and job creation.
However, preliminary audit findings show that out of an initial amount of US$1,991,900 disbursed to thirty-six (36) customers, only US$282,500 has been recovered.
At a news conference at his party headquarters in Monrovia yesterday, Sanvee said his decision to step aside as chairman of LP is intended to allow him to work with relevant authorities to ensure that his loan is repaid.
Sanvee said: “I have asked the standard bearer of my party, Counselor Charles Brumskine, who has been so supportive from the interim to where we are today, along with the vice standard bearer and executive committee of the party for a leave of absence because I want an opportunity to have some time to work with the relevant authorities to restructure this loan and make it right.
“We are at a pivotal juncture, and I will do nothing to be used as a distraction to take the Liberian people’s attention from the real issues. Hopefully, once we are able to put this aside, I will resume my duties as chairman of the party.”
He explained, “I received US$45,000 to be repaid over a 26 months period. We have not made any payment since we took the loan because the business has not been doing well due to competition and other hurdles.
“I invested it into a business entity called Sophie Dreams, the importer of Bavaria Beer, and did not at any point set up a bogus company to siphon government’s resources to use for my personal benefit.
“What I did was what any other business entity would do. I have defaulted on the loan and I am not proud of that because it was never my intent, but due to the economic climate and competition in the market the beer was not able to take off.
“I have closed up because I realized that I was (operating) at a loss and I needed to recover; and I will not apologize for being a Liberian. I received a legitimate loan through the Private Sector Development Initiatives. I am going to put myself in the position to correct those wrongs and I have spoken to my family members who are shareholders and we will do what we have to do,” Sanvee divulged.