The Atlantic Ocean is swallowing Tubman’s Executive Mansion – Ellen and Weah MUST account for $38.9 million USD
Martin K. N. Kollie writes…
William V. S. Tubman spent $9 million USD to build this 8-storey Executive Mansion in 3 years. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf spent $32.4 million USD just to renovate this same Executive Mansion in 12 years and no renovation was done. George Manneh Weah has so far spent $6.5 million USD to renovate in 3 years and there is still no renovation. Both Ellen and Weah MUST fully account for a whopping $38.9 million USD loss.
The breakdown is below:
A) Former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf:
1) Fiscal Year 2016/2017 – $16,225,417 USD
2) Fiscal Year 2017/2018 – $8,189,082 USD
3) From 2006 to 2010 (GAC Audit) – $8,000,000 USD
4) Total – $32,414,499 USD
Pres. George M. Weah:
1) Fiscal Year 2018/2019 – $5,510,000 USD
2) Fiscal Year 2019/2020 – $0 USD
3) Fiscal Year 2020/2021 – $1,000,000 USD
4) Total – $6,510,000 USD
Before Weah could even come to power, a comprehensive audit report was already available on how funds intended for the renovation were siphoned or stolen. The General Auditing Commission (GAC) conducted a 2016 audit of so-called and invisible “renovation contracts” costing $31,705,072 USD. Here are a few highlights from this audit report:
1) The initial total cost for renovation was just $7 million USD according to Milton and Richard Architecture Firm.
2) An initial amount of $3 million USD out of $7 million USD total cost was appropriated in 2008/2009 Fiscal Year.
3) $5,161,767.22 USD was paid to so-called “contractors” between 2012 and 2014 without any documentation or trace.
4) No accountability as in financial documentation for $1.5 million USD in FY2007-2008.
This audit report on how $31.7 million USD was siphoned is so damning and it is still available, but George Weah has refused to investigate his predecessor Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. He said they are related and even gave her 80% performance rating. Pres. Weah has consistently declined on auditing Ellen’s government. I blame him for this. If Pres. GMW needs a copy of this audit report and promises to investigate EJS, we can share a copy with him. This money ($31.7 million USD) is not a small amount. It must be accounted for.
Why will Weah not prosecute EJS?
In 2017, Weah promised to be different through his mantra “Change for Hope”. When he came to power, he did just exactly what EJS did. He too has to account for $6.5 million USD which was intended for renovation. GMW is yet to renovate this Executive Mansion after 3 years. This is a promise betrayed. Weah’s government too needs to be audited and investigated.
If immediate precaution is not taken, Tubman’s US$9m Mansion will soon be swallowed by the Atlantic Ocean. Ellen and Weah will be blamed for this. Like I am criticizing Pres. GMW now, I vehemently criticized former President EJS for such waste and embezzlement. There records are there to prove.
The seat of the Liberian Presidency has been in ruin since 2006 when the Executive Mansion was gutted by fire during Liberia’s 159th Independence Day. The wreckage that we still see was never Tubman’s vision for this Executive Mansion. Both Ellen and Weah can be described as homeless presidents or internally displaced Heads of State.
The continuous use of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not only unsafe and undemocratic, but such bad precedent poses national security threat to the Liberian Presidency. The Executive Mansion was made exclusively for the Liberian Presidency.
The US$9 million mansion has an atomic-bomb shelter, an underground swimming pool, a private chapel, a trophy room, a cinema, an emergency power plant, water supply and sewage system, among others. It was built by 2000 local workers and 150 foreign technicians. Tubman officially dedicated this mansion in 1964.
Unfortunately, Ellen and Weah chose to willfully and woefully abandon their official constitutional seat or home. The Atlantic Ocean is encroaching on Tubman’s mansion as Ellen and Weah look on even though both of them were entrusted with $38.9 million USD for renovation purposes. This misuse of public resources is just so pathetic. I call on every Liberian to demand full accountability of this fund.
Note: Out of a total of $32,414,499 USD spent to renovate this mansion under EJS, GAC only audited $31,705,072 USD.
1) Budget Line 102, Code 0008, Page 11, FY2020-2021
2) Budget Line 102, Code 0008, Page 10, FY2018-2019
3) December 2016 General Auditing Commission (GAC) Report – Executive Mansion Renovation
Liberia is bleeding. The people of our country deserve an answer amid this broad-day looting. If this isn’t institutionalized looting or systemic thievery, then you tell me what it is. Someone must account for this.
Accountability through justice is what Liberia needs right now. The establishment of a War Economic and Academic Crimes Court (WEACC) is an indispensable imperative.
In Photo: The fence of our Executive is crumbling due to sea erosion. The Executive Mansion may soon crumble too if caution is not taken.
Activist Martin K. N. Kollie writes from exile….
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