Maritime, Others admit to ‘Big Gov’t Spending’

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The Maritime Authority, Ministries of Finance and State for Presidential Affairs have admitted championing government public relations machinery to the outside world, according to Representative Dr. Bhofal Chambers.

The Maritime Authority, the Ministries of State for Presidential Affairs and Finance, as well as the Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR) are being probed by the House of Representatives for allegedly spending over US$260 million of public funds on Unity Party led government international public relations between 2006-2012.

At a news conference over the weekend in Monrovia, the Maryland County lawmaker announced that at the start of the hearings into the matter, the Ministries of Finance, State for Presidential Affairs and the Maritime Authority showed up and admitted to being the frontrunners for selling government’s image to the international press. Accord to Dr. Chambers, the three entities agreed to the allegations published by the United States State Department, but maintained that the figure announced was incorrect.

“They told us that they were responsible for such obligations but said only US$50,000 was expended annually between 2008-2012,” Dr. Chambers disclosed. He noted that LISCR —as one of the accused entities involved— did not show up for the hearing on grounds that the head of the institution is on medical leave and could not be present at the hearing.

The former Unity Party now Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) lawmaker assured the public of Legislature’s proactive approach to reaching to the bottom of the U.S. report, describing it as an “eye opener for all Liberians on the performance of their government.” He used the medium to warn against an unprecedented manner of sharing opposing views on national issues and encouraged critics to look beyond just the issues and consider the interest of all Liberians when discussing critical matters.

The plenary recently voted mandating its committees on Judiciary, Public and Autonomous Agencies to investigate the U.S. government report on Liberia. The matter was flagged by Rep. Chambers in a communication to the plenary, the highest decision making body of the House of Representatives. The Ministries of Finance, State and Presidential Affairs and the Maritime Authority's appearances over the weekend was the first hearing to be organized by the committees. Meetings have been planned to hear from the absentee.

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