Pres. Weah Submits US$426M Pre-financing Agreement to Legislature

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CEO of EBOMAF Mahamadou Bonkoungou (right) is the Burkinabé businessman and friend who President Weah (left) claims provided the jet plane for his personal use

-Commissions AFL Deputy COS, 2 Ambassadors

President George Weah has submitted a new Pre-financing Loan Agreement of US$426 million entered into between the Government of Liberia (GoL) and Group EBOMAF to the Legislature for ratification, according to a release from the Executive Mansion. The group EBPMAF from Burkina Faso is reported to have strong ties to ex Burkinabé dictator Blaise Compaore who, according to sources, has long since been suspected of in money laundering activities on behalf of jailed Liberian President Charles Taylor.

Under the Agreement, according to the release, the loan will be financed by EuroBond, redeemable after 15 years, with a five-year grace period and a 10-year interest only on payment.

A eurobond is an international bond that is denominated in a currency not native to the country where it is issued. Also called external bond; “external bonds which, strictly, are neither EuroBonds nor foreign bonds would also include, foreign currency denominated domestic bonds. It can be categorized according to the currency in which it is issued. London is one of the centers of the EuroBond market, with Luxembourg being the primary listing center for these instruments. EuroBonds may be traded throughout the world—for example in Singapore or Tokyo.

The loan, when ratified, will be used for the construction of 256.2 kilometers of paved roads and bridges in Monrovia and major corridors of the interior.

Group EBOMAF, a Burkinabé Civil Engineering Company, will begin pre-financing the road project within three months after the agreement is ratified. The company is, according to sources, owned by Mahamadou Bonkoungou, the businessman and friend who President Weah claims provided the jet plane for his personal use amidst public speculations that the plane was bought by President Weah at a cost of US$30 million.

At this point, it remains unclear whether the proposed pre-financing loan agreement requires the placement by the government of Liberia, of a collateral as a guarantee of payment or a guarantee from the Central Bank. But according to observers, the Central Bank, itself indebted to local banks may find itself hard-pressed to provide such a loan guarantee.

Under the loan scheme, the roads to be constructed upon ratification through this agreement are the Sinkor to Kesselley Boulevard elevated Road, Zwedru to Greenville, Toe Town to Ivorian Border and the Tappita to Zwedru Highway.

With the acquisition of this pre-financed agreement, coupled with the agreement to pave 503 kilometers of roads connecting the coastal cities as well as parts of Western Liberia, President Weah’s administration may be poised to construct more paved roads within his first term as president than the entire kilometers of paved roads that have been constructed by all previous administrations combined within the over 170 years of Liberia’s existence as a sovereign nation.

This is indeed a tall order according to observers and given the huge amounts of public money which have been spent in recent time on many other construction projects which remained uncompleted owing mainly to the misappropriation or misapplication of funds, skepticism runs high about the possible misuse or virtual theft of such funds. A very important point being stressed is whether government officials are going to declare their assets before the acquisition of the loans or after.

Meanwhile this decision, the Executive Mansion release said, has been fully endorsed by the Cabinet and by virtue of it, Liberia stands to gain a great deal of economic growth through jobs creation as well as a significant increase to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), although the statement did not say how many jobs will be created as well as how government intends to create the jobs it says it will create.

In a related development, the president has commissioned Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) Deputy Chief of Staff (DCOS) and two Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary with the authority to execute their respective duties and functions as representatives of government.

Those commissioned by the president are Brigadier General Geraldine Janet George, DCOS, Edwin Faseyen Sele and Geraldine Bass Golokeh: Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Egypt and France respectively.

President Weah performed the commissioning ceremony on Friday, June 1, in the Cabinet Room at his Foreign Ministry Office in Monrovia.

Earlier, the Commissioned DCOS George thanked the president for her preferment, while highlighting the challenges associated with her duties, but promised to do her best with the help of the chain of command.

“As a career soldier, a wife and mother, I accept the task with humility. My appointment shows that the AFL is A Force for Good,” said Gen. George, who happens to be the first female officer to serve at the hierarchy of the AFL.

To the Ambassadors, President Weah stated how difficult it is to represent the interest of a sovereign nation, but urged them to perform their duties with diligence in the interest of Liberia.

“You are now Ambassadors of Liberia; you have to do your best to represent the country well,” the president challenged the commissioned officials.

“Make sure your credibility is not at stake. Before we came to power, there were so many things happening at the embassies, you have to change that.” President Weah admonished the officials to always come home to seek counsel from their bosses when there are issues beyond their control.

He then called on them to do their best, though no one does more than his best.

“In the presence of your family members, let me urge you to be your best; there are others who want to be where you are,” the president told the officials.

Amb. Sele thanked President Weah on behalf of his colleague for the confidence reposed in them to represent the country.

Sele hailed President Weah as a “modest leader” who has fathomless love for his people and country, the reason for which he is always admired and why God will bless him to succeed.

According to him, it was not a surprise that the president introduced the pro-poor agenda concept, because he has the Liberian people at the center of his heart.

“I hope the Liberian people will understand, because you mean well for this nation,” Amb. Sele.

“As ambassadors, we are foot soldiers willing to sacrifice to enhance the government’s ‘Pro-poor Agenda,’” he said.

The ceremony was graced by senior government officials, including AFL Chief of Staff General Prince C. Johnson, Defense Minister Daniel Ziahkhan and scores of family members of the honorees.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Why kill the story by placing another story in it? I was enjoying the analysis until it came to “in another development. ” That could have been another story.

    • I felt the same way. I tried to read the FrontPageAfrica version of this story and it was very bad. It was actually very sad that someone had released it on the internet. It lacks neutrality. I was really enjoying my read then… that interjection happened. Lol all in all I’m sure there’s more to come. To be honest, at this point I don’t so much care about where the money comes from. As long as it’s in good faith and beneficial to the Liberian People I am ok.

  2. Unsurprisingly, the missing link in a seeming calibrated-opposition to the funding agents of the loan is that contrarian voices have not suggested alternative lending solutions. Not to mention that even if Liberia were debt-free, neither World Bank nor IMF was going to loan her US $1b for the southeastern road project, despite potential long-term enormous economic impacts.

    For in a geopolitical jungle New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moyniham admitted to have been once assigned by the US State Department to ensure that the UN remained ineffective, and powerful countries don’t mind spending billions of dollars overthrowing – without regard for resulting human toll – leaders of poor nations they disagree with, perforce countries like Liberia ought to chart thier own developmental paths and find funding for them.

    (Needless to say ants survive and thrive where elephants dwell. It is about using wits, not happily baring naked buttocks for others to bloody like one were living in Alabama of the 1800’s).

    That’s why many of us support using any available legal means to bring into the economic mainstream a wide space which contains vast natural resources and an abundance of profitable marine biology. While some prefer that Liberia remains underdevelop and poor, ‘semi-illiterate’ President Paul Kegame of Rwanda, whose country has become the brightest star in our Dark Continent, would probably pay US $10 billion for the southeastern region to join his landlocked country.

    Before leaving this topic, it would be amiss were I to not mention the continual hypocrisy of few journalists when it comes to Weah, and the frantic ploys in holding him to different standards:

    First, few media outlets and the EJS government engaged in a continual hostile relationship despite crowning her champion of press freedom. But less than two months of Weah taking over, there were screams of jounalists being under attack, and stories concocted lionizing a cowardly BBC stringer and connecting the murder of a young journalist to his administration. Second, the war crime court angle which the scheming BBC stringer brought up; as if on cue, became a ‘patriotic’ enterprise. Third, details of the loan and additional financing arrangements were presented to the Legislature. And not that Weah bribed legislators as acknowledged during passage of the first and second oil laws; nonetheless, convoluted opinions have been substituted for facts.

    To end, others can act blind though noticing an elitist- centered anti-Weah attitude. I see it. And saw the same prejudice in the early 1980’s by the same enlightened crowd, who were ironically lauding coup-maker and bloody dictator Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings. Which suggested, then, that they didn’t mind soldiers ruling elsewhere, but, most likely, wanted back power at home for mainly economic reasons.

    For heaven’s sake, the elections are over, and 2023 seems faraway. Lets not allow the covert political calculations of a small segment of society unlawfully arrest development in the most backward, yet resource-rich region of our country. Liberians should leave pre-2018 loads and worries in the past, and move on together for a better life. Otherwise nothing enabling is going to emerge, thus discontent, anxiety, fear, poverty, and ceaseless crises would be the cross to bear: “To be forewarned is to forearmed”!

  3. Now we see what was behind this expensive 30 million dollar “gift”( the aircraft) given by this businessman. He wanted a contract and he got it with going through the bidding process as provided for by law.
    It is therefore wrong for a leader to accept expensive “gift” from anyone hoping to exploit the “gift” for commercial or business purposes.

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