Senate Probes ‘Mismanagement’ of Japan Grants

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The Plenary of the Senate has mandated its committees on Foreign Affairs, and Public Accounts to conduct a full scale probe into the alleged mismanagement of several grants from the Government of Japan.

The decision was prompted by a letter from Grand Kru County Senator, Dr. Peter Sonpon Coleman, in which he requested his colleagues to investigate the mismanagement allegation, a situation he claimed, “has the propensity to deprive the people of Liberia of future donor funding, if not corrected.”

Senator Coleman recalled the recent media reports of the mismanagement of the Japanese grant, and the subsequent dismissal of two senior officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The two dismissed officials are claiming to be innocent and described themselves as ‘sacrificial lambs’ for the higher ups at the Foreign Ministry and other officials of Government,” he said.

The Grand Kru County Lawmaker reminded his colleagues that Liberia is a third world and developing country that is literally reliant on donor funding for major infrastructure projects; to name a few, the Red Light to Ganta road pavement, Harper-Fish Town pavement, two HFO Electricity Power Plants, Mount Coffee Hydro Power Plant Rehabilitation, and the Somalia Drive pavement. All of these projects are funded by the World Bank, African Development Bank, Japanese, Norwegian, German governments and the European Union.”

Senator Coleman maintained that “given my personal experience, after many years of interacting with multilateral and bilateral donors, where there is evidence of corruption in funding provided by one donor, it has the propensity to affect funding from other donors.”

He emphasized the importance for the Government to conduct a full scale investigation on the alleged mismanagement of the Japanese Government grant, especially in the wake of claims and counter claims at the Foreign Ministry, and what he described as “window dressing” intervention by the Executive.

“Madam Presiding and distinguished colleagues, it is in this light that I would like to appeal to the Plenary of the Senate to mandate the Committee on Foreign Affairs to conduct a full scale probe into this very embarrassing scandal so as not to deprive our people of future donor funding,” Coleman said in his letter to plenary.

Meanwhile, the two committees have been mandated to report to plenary within one week.

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