Finance Ministry Clarifies Report of ‘Questionable US$180K Taylor-ERA Debt’

first_imgMr. Flomo: “Gov’t is continuity, but we don’t subscribe to false claims and reportage.”Authorities of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) on Monday, December 17, 2018, refuted a story published by a local newspaper under the headline “Kickback Suspected in US$180K Taylor-Era Debt Paid to ‘Inactive’ New York Company” , According to the story Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Mr. Samuel Tweah approved a payment of US$182,000.00 (One Hundred Eighty-Two Thousand United States Dollars) to a purported US-based construction company. According to the FrontPageAfrica(FPA) newspaper,  the company has been inactive since 2003 shortly after the country emerged from civil war following Charles Taylor’s abdication and exile in Nigeria.In the publication, FrontPageAfrica newspaper (FPA), said nearly all payment vouchers in its possession originated from the instruction from the Ministry of State headed by Minister McGill to the Ministry Finance. Rather strangely, the payment to the Rocktown company was done in Monrovia since, according to FPA, the company is no longer active in the State of New York. The story however did not say whether the payment was made to a local representative of the company, transferred to an identified account or whether it was a cheque encashed over the counter at the Central Bank.It does appear however that the payment to this defunct company was made from the national claims budget over which the Finance Minister has exclusive authority as it is only he who can authorize payment from the budget on claims. It can be recalled that in 2014 during the tenure of Amara Konneh, the online newsmagazine The Perspective, published a story of a similar bogus payment of US$2,161,996.80 (2 million one hundred sixty-one thousand, nine hundred ninety-six dollars eighty cents) US dollars which was made to the Solid Rock Investment. And it was paid  on check# 40014882.The check was drawn on A/C# 02-205-300001-62 from the claims budget. It was encashed over the counter at the CBL although there were in place at the time strict rules forbidding such over the counter transactions. According to a retired Ministry of Finance official, the budget on national claims during the past administration was a virtual slush fund for the Minister of Finance.According to the official this latest FPA story bears close parallels to the 2014 Perspective story. But the latest FPA story also said, “Based on the loopholes, a senior administration official told FPA Sunday that the current government should have sought an appeal before agreeing to pay a dime.”However, in its Monday’s clarification, Deputy Finance Minister for Economic Management, Augustus Flomo, said the story is “totally false and misleading, because there has been absolutely no payment made to Rocktown.”Though he denied the story, Flomo admitted that the payment is still being processed through the Ministry’s internal system.He said Domestic Debt Service flow goes through potential processes, claimant makes an official request to the Finance Minister about his/her claim; the Finance Minister then sends it down the stream (Deputy Minister and Assistant Minister), and then it arrives in the Debt Management Unit.Mr. Flomo said the Debt Management Unit reviews the claim based upon the supporting document (2008 KPMG audit, External rental claim audit and court judgment), and recommend a decision for the Debt Management Committee. The Debt Management Committee consists of MFDP, Central Bank of Liberia, Ministries of Justice and States established by the Public Financial Management regulation.In addition to the controls, he said, the Legal Department of the Ministry also provides legal opinion on all payments, including domestic debts to determine the legal basis for such payment.“All of the claims within the period are taken to DMC, and a decision is made before making any payment. Unfortunately, the current government cannot take an appeal in a case that was adjudicated in 2016, and final judgment made thereto,” Flomo said.He added, “according to our records, after the rendition of the judgment, no further action was taken by the then government to perfect the appeal. As such, the claim automatically became a legal debt of the government,” he said.Minister Flomo continued, “to have made it appear that the current government is not responsible, and did not take the necessary due diligence in effecting the payment process, “is not only preposterous, but malicious as government is continuity.”“And because government is continuity, this government is under legal obligation to honor legitimate debts once she has the financial capacity to do so as such payments would not only improve the individual businesses, but the general well-being of the economy,” Mr. Flomo noted. In view of this clarification by the Minister there are lingering questions why debts owed to the media continue to go unpaid even though they are also legitimate debts.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

DONEGAL TOURISM ALREADY BEING SWITCHED ON TO NORTHERN LIGHTS PHENOMENA

first_imgA leading tourism figure has said Donegal is already seeing the benefit of the amazing and famous northern lights.The spectacular natural phenomena has been the talk of the country in recent days.Now Kathleen Gill, marketing manager of Inishowen Tourism, says people from as far away as Cork are making enquiries about the area. The Inishowen Peninsula is considered the best place to see the lights which will be visible until March.“We have had a lot of calls from as far away as Cork about the lights and what accommodation is available in the region.“We are working on finding the most suitable times for people to visit so they can have the best chance of seeing the lights.“The best place to see the lights is in the Ballyliffin and Malin around the Polan Bay but the entire Inishowen Peninsula has so much to offer. “There used to be the perception that Donegal and Inishowen was so far away but the road networks has improved so much that nowhere is isolated anymore ,” she said.This year’s could be the most spectacular in a decade because of a peak in the sun’s activity.The celestial light show appears as ghostly, wispy rays of greenish and whitish colours dancing across the heavens.Local astronomer Brendan Alexander is hoping for some clear night skies over Donegal in the next few weeks.“It’s definitely worth seeking out. It’s an event that – especially on these shores – is so rare. “But we are lucky to live just north enough to experience it – any country further south than us won’t be able to see it. It’s certainly something tourists would come to see.”The sun has a “heartbeat” every 11 years or so – known as the solar cycle – and when it erupts, charged particles blast into space and are sucked into the North Pole.These explosions react with the earth’s atmosphere, sparking great swathes of coloured light over the night skies, known for centuries by native north Americans as the Dance of the Spirits.For further information see www.visitinishowen.com DONEGAL TOURISM ALREADY BEING SWITCHED ON TO NORTHERN LIGHTS PHENOMENA was last modified: January 10th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Brendan AlexanderInishowenInishowen TourismKathleen Gillnorthern lightslast_img read more