— Says Weah’s critics are clueless in their attacks all because they hate him.
Information Minister Eugene Nagbe has defended the action of President George Weah to demolish and reconstruct his 9th street home, which is now been upgraded to presidential mansion status.
In a rather tough reply to the President’s critics about his 9th Street’s property in Monrovia, Minister Nagbe said the Weah’s critics are clueless in their attacks all because they hate him.
“He gained that property in 1993. In fact, someone else came and claimed that land, causing the President now to spend another US$75,000 to reclaim it. The value of the property has now climbed up to US$500,000,” Nagbe said.
Min. Nagbe added that Weah, not yet President then, entered a business deal with now Bomi District #1 Lawmaker, Edwin Melvin Snowe by using his 9th Street property as a hotel but later on the business ended because of the war.
However, Nagbe did not elaborate further on why the business with Rep. Snowe could not kick off after the war.
He also fails to talk about why President Weah did not redo his 9th street home while in the opposition for 12 years or after retiring from football instead when he became president.
“Some of them, I don’t know why they keep making so much unnecessary noise. Why have not they complained when Weah paid their school fees, including university degree expenses? He was not a rogue, but now he is. This is funny because the President has always been careful in using his money,” he said.
Min. Nagbe further defended President Weah’s construction of his Baptist Seminary real estate property along the Roberts Field highway.
According to Nagbe, the properties in question were undergoing construction before President Weah ascended to the presidency.
“Building takes time. Imagine it is almost two years now since he started rebuilding his property on 9th Street,” Min. Nagbe added. “If he was stealing money as claimed by his critics, he should have done with it since.”
Min. Nagbe defense of the President occurred during a phone-in interview with Kwame Weeks, Director General of the Liberia News Agency (LINA-government owned) and Boakai Fofana, Deputy Minister for Technical Services at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICAT) on the Super Morning Show on state radio ELBC.
Min. Nagbe also challenged President Weah’s critics to come out with the facts if they have or use the relevant agencies and institutions to call for an audit of the finances used for the construction of the President’s private homes and business centers.
“The President’s accusers should just go through the rightful process. No one is stopping them from using the law to call for the audit of the President. The Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs is open to audit. In fact, the entire Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)’s government is open to any legitimate audit,” he said boastfully.
Min. Nagbe who spoke from the COVID-19 treatment center, the 14 military hospital is one of the top government officials who have come down with the coronavirus after coming in contact with the deceased boss of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency.
Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean and Deputy Inspector General for Administration at the Liberian National Police (LNP) are among several people being attended to at the 14th Military Hospital by health workers.
Before Min. Nagbe’s defense of President Weah, social media, and other platforms had been inundated with a barrage of criticisms against the President for spending vast sums of money in acquiring properties and constructing a string of apartments while millions of his people go to bed hungry.
On his official Facebook account, Mr. Isaac Tukpah Vah, former Chairman of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), USA, wrote: “Mr. President, People are hungry and dying and you are building mansion?”
Earlier, Deputy Press Secretary, Smith Toby told the public that Weah’s property on 9th Street belongs to his son, Timothy Weah but before long, Smith again resurfaced with a clarification that the property belongs to the President himself, rather than his son.
“I think to convince you further, we’ll get the transfer documents transferring that property that was demolished—remember that building was demolished and remolded by the current head of the property, so we need now to give you further clarity on it by giving you those transfer documents because that property is no longer in the name of the President,” Toby said.
But in less than 24 hours he was forced to withdraw his statement on the property, noting that “It was not the factual information”.
“Well, Smith did what he did because he wanted the public to understand well. However, I understand there was a challenge in presenting the information, but he did nothing wrong. The property is for the President. Timothy was born in 2000 and there has been no transfer of that property to him by his father,” Nagbe furthered in defense of the President.
According to the Information Minister, George has ever since made enough money from his footballing career and he has several other properties and investments outside of Liberia.
“He owns a huge property in Abidjan. He also owns a number of big properties in America. He has been very careful in using his money,” he said, adding, “The last time I checked I found out that the President owns 38 of the business stores in the commercial hub of Red Light. Imagine him collecting just the rent from those facilities, he is not a poor man.”
“It cost millions of United States dollars to finance a Presidential political campaign. That he never failed when he was in the opposition. At that time, he was not a criminal but now that he has become President and investing his own money right here at home, they have a lot of unfounded things to say. But that is their business. The President remains focused on kicking this coronavirus out of our country and improving the economy for the better life of each of our fellow citizens,” he said.