WFP’s Astronomical Service Fee Infuriates Saah Joseph

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Montserrado County Senator Saah H. Joseph, Chairman, Senate committee on executive

— Is Liberia being robbed?

Ruling party stalwart, Montserrado County Senator Saah Hardy Joseph, has condemned the decision of the CDC-led government to pay the WFP US$9 as service fees to began the distribution of food as enshrined in President George Weah COVID-19 stimulus package designed for the Liberian people.

Such rare reprobation of the ruling party and its standard bearer by Sen. Joseph, who is Chairman on Executive-a position that makes him the third most powerful man in the Senate, comes as a time the country is hugely dependent on international goodwill and loans for COVID-19 protectives health equipment and other resources to fight the virus.

Such a condition, according to political pundits, may have compelled Sen. Joseph to come out to question the rationale behind the government’s decision when it is struggling to raise funds to speed up COVID-19 testing — a process that takes about three days before results are made available.

Over two months ago, the Government of Liberia promised the provision of a stimulus package as a way of easing the enormous economic burdens precipitated by the outbreak of the Coronavirus disease.

However, it came as a shock to many people including Sen. Joseph when the government, a fortnight ago, stated that it was finally prepared for the food distribution after reaching an agreement with the WFP to give it US$9 million to be used as an administrative cost out of the US$30 million earmarked for the project.

The shocking revelation that has left many to question the government’s decision is that the amount earmarked for the administrative cost is more than 33 percent of the cost of the entire exercise.

In support of such argument, Sen. Joseph, in a Facebook post early Sunday morning, said such decision “shouldn’t be happening in a poor country like Liberia.”

He deleted the post later that day probably due to pressure from his party.

He described the agreement as unappealing and not meant for a poor country like Liberia as the money being used for the stimulus package is not “free money but a loan that the state will have to repay,” he said.

Expressing his displeasure about the payment, the CDC lawmaker wrote: “Colleagues, WFP’s $9m charge for 21 food distribution is totally unappealing. This should not be allowed to happen in a poor country like ours. This is not free money! It is a loan that we, the people of Liberia, must pay. #COVID19IsReal #StaySafe #SocialDistance #ProPoorMustSucceed.”

Earlier, Commerce Minister and head of the stimulus package distribution committee, Wilson Tarpeh, made the disclosure about the US$9 million compensation to the WFP during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill recently.

Minister Tarpeh explained to the Senate that of the USD$30 million, USD$20 million will go to food cost while USD$9 million will go toward the operational cost. “This is the plan and distribution will begin this weekend. WFP has informed this committee that because of the road condition they will use sea transport to get to the southeast,” he said.

However, many are of the opinion that the recently commenced food distribution initiative is a recipe for massive corruption as no plan was provided as to how the money will be used and the how the distribution exercise will be carried out.

One of the initial critics of the exercise was Montserrado County Senator, Abraham Darius Dillon, who through a Facebook post claimed that there is a dark cloud of corruption hanging over the entire exercise.

But the popular and ever vocal lawmaker was swiftly rebuffed by the government who said his claim was a “diabolical lie” and an attempt by the opposition bloc to derail the progress of the government.

A local newspaper quotes Information Minister, Eugene Nagbe, as saying that the fund would be in the total control of the World Food Program which would spearhead the food distribution.

The Finance Ministry has already instructed Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to move US$25 million from the government’s account to the WFP to begin the implementation of the distribution.

The instruction from the Finance Ministry to the Central Bank was prepared on June 11. It is expected that the transfer of the amount would be made on June 15.

Minister Eugene Nagbe said the government remains focused on rallying and receiving international support to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on the citizens.

“The fact of the matter is that the government has transferred USD25 Million from the GOL Consolidated accounts at the Central Bank of Liberia to the World Food Program to implement the food support program.

“So, all this is a diabolical lie coming from Senator Dillon and other opposition leaders whose nasty politicking knows no bounds even in the wake of a national calamity like the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Minister Nagbe also disclosed that the government has requested the World Bank and the WFP to refute the claims of the opposition, which he said are baseless.

Meanwhile, many have since begun criticizing the CDC’s Senator Joseph, terming him as a dishonest man that is only pretending to feel for the Liberian people as he was the main proponent of the hasty passage of the recast budget which some are of the opinion that it was not properly reviewed.

The move by the majority Senators at the time infuriated Senator Dillon who walked of the Senate Chamber in anger, subsequently describing his colleagues as “spineless”, “rotten” and “useless” — a statement that put him in hot water with that body.

“This was the same budget issue that Senator Dillon spoke about and his colleagues were upset with him,” one social media commenter said.

11 COMMENTS

  1. So Senator Spineless Joseph “deleted the post later that day probably due to pressure from his party”?? But I wonder what the hell were the people of Monsterrado thinking when they voted for this clown to represent them?? . It looks like he was elected to appease party his leadership!!!

  2. Kissi man says “bhorr khortor” 🤷🏽‍♂️🤷🏽‍♂️
    Like u are hissing your teeth 🦷 or saying “puahhhh”.
    So why Dillon can’t call them “spineless”?

  3. Someone please help me with this math, 30 million for the entire project $20 million to purchase food and $9 million for operational and administrative cost. Total cost is $29 million. The total is $29 million right?

    • Or the 1million is weah Desk fees. Why asking for it? Like u looking for trouble. hahahahaha. this too is lib. The food is coming and will reach everyone in Central Monrovia. Muyah muyah CDC Muyah. Jayjay jayjay CDC Jayjay.

      Oneday all these will come to an end. God will bring the truth leaders for Liberia.
      May God help Liberians endure covid 19 yeaaaaaaa with out protesting. It is my prayer. Amen

  4. I am indeed deeply saddened to see the curate’s egg in which Senator Dillion and few others are compacted. Even the CDC Senator Saah Jospeh has started questioning some common logic and is coming under fire from the CDC-419 machine.
    But to you Senator Saah, there is room and time to repledge allegiance to the flag of Liberia and not to any group. Your Facebook comment is factual, have no complex! If possible, and in a free land, republish your post for all to read.

    Financial institutions adore working with unproductive and meek administrations from third-world countries.
    They had problem with Jerry J. Rawlings and ended all collaborations with him, yet Ghana is a referenced economy in West Africa today.
    They castigated Paul Kagame but today Rwanda is the first African country to go nuclear with its people enjoying one of the highest standards of life in black Africa.
    They wanted to test the resilience of the Ivory economy by constraining Laurent GBAGBO to repay under duress while his country was artificially divided into two. With half of the country under his administrative control, the president honored the country’s commitment and even refused to contract new debts, a situation which curiously infuriated them, creating an inexplicably masquerade from which the country is maturely and discreetly handling and recovering.

    Does the CDC believe that there is a word such as “like” or “love” in business? No, my people. In business, the only driven catalyst is the PURSUIT OF PROFIT. The IMF/World Bank and other financial institutions are NOT humanitarian organizations. Weah is jeopardizing the future of Liberia.
    Contract a productive debt, Mr. President. The Liberian government is not a socialist or communist country, and I don’t want to believe that the CDC is a socialist or communist political party. Where do you expect to generate income to service the debts you are contracting? This is no exhibition of love for Liberia.

    Look, let’s analyze your $50 million as food relief:
    The food items will be bought from abroad; it means there will be transportation costs to be borne (to be deducted from the loan amount).
    You are entrusting the distribution to the WFP, with a distribution cost of $9 million (to be deducted from the loan amount).
    As a ‘kukujumuku rule’, your Commerce Ministry will pocket $1 million, as clearly indicated above from his analysis (to be deducted from the loan amount).
    On the field, there will be some mysterious disappearances of some food items, incidental expenses ancillary to transportation, meals, lodging, etc. (to be deducted from the loan amount).

    With the foregoing analysis, how much food will the 4.7 million receive in their respective homes, knowing that we may reimburse that money in the amount of at least $70 million?

    If I were you Mr. President, I would adopt a China-style opaque governance, try COVID organic or call Ma J. on board to use our traditional herbs to prevent and cure our people and inject that money as subsidies to our farmers to make the country food-sufficient.

    Let’s set up a system unique to Liberia, Mr. President. Many African countries have customized and even tropicalized some scientific discoveries.
    Let’s start spending on research with our rich forest reserves and creative traditional human resources.

    Education is the key, Mr. President!

  5. This is another saddened event for Liberia. Wasteful expenditures! Why the government continue to insists to distribute food in time of normacy? Or maybe the government is trying to justify their cut (share) as it is happening now in the WFP saga. I believed that the President is trying to keep his promised alive. But in the political arena, such scenario is not always workable as in the Qranic or Bible believing church. You should have secondary thought and priority. You already reopened the economic 95%, people are back doing their normal activities as before, why still constitute food distribution, Mr. President? This gesture could have be done during the strict lockdown.

    Except for Liberia’s, $30m is a good sum of money that could go behind infrastructures or human capacity development for the benefits of all of us instead of food. We are not facing severe famines, neither natural disaster, strict lockdown or civil unrest.This generation is more eager to see Liberia’s on path with other African countries instead of food as it has been happening before. This amount could only be diverted in these categories, but since we are peacefully looking for our daily bread even though things may be difficult in finding our daily bread, this could not have led the government to go into unnecessary expenditure. As we are speaking presently in the rainy season, our roads will soon begins to cut off, part of this money could have be used toward the maintenance of these roads.

    The government is trying to wrongly convince the Liberians people about her unnecessary expenditures, likewise WFP is trying to rob the government or both of them know what they are doing. What ground WFP can logically hold to justify their $9m chargement? How many years the exercise will last? 10-20 years? That’s the only way at least this amount can be little bit justified; that is why we are always in the light of preaching sincerity in government. If the government is sincere, you will see the entire citizenry sincere as it is currently happening in the US between the blacks and white majority. Because those people make their laws and they are always there to protect it. If Liberians could be sincere, the government could just setup a ordinary committee to easily distribute this food which could save government more monies even though I am not in support of this food distribution exercise at this moment.

    Liberians, one day we all will come together and willingly sale this coumtry one and for all.

  6. Latest information indicates that WFP’s Rome Rep told FPA they only charged U.S $1.6 million, not the U.S $9 million announced by GoL. Faced with this discrepancy, the latter has onus of providing evidence (emails contract, etc.) to disprove that claim by the organization.

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