23 May 2012

Liberia: Mysterious Chartered Jet to London

Sustained attempts to get a clearer picture of how the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) boss, Angelique E. Weeks, chartered a Learjet that flew her sick mother to London failed to yield results Tuesday.

LTA'a Public Relations officers contacted declined any comments on the issue, saying a press release has been issued.

But, Rep. Mumene Batekwa, Chair of the HOUSE Committee on LTA, told this paper Tuesday in an interview that an investigation into the matter has already been launched. He said action would be taken if it were established that state funds were used to charter the Learjet, an allegation that the LTA boss has already denied.

One LTA Public Relations officer could not provide any clarification on the issue, referring this paper to LTA Commissioners who, the PRO said, have the facts.

Ms. Weeks could not be reached, according to one LTA PR man, because she flew along with her mother in the hired Learjet.

The Learjet issue surfaced when the FrontPage newspaper this week carried a story in which it revealed that the LTA boss chartered a private Learjet to fly her sick mother to Britain at the cost of about US100, 000. She told the paper that the money did not come from her alone, but that other family members contributed to the charter fee.

Past LTA chairs have been summarily dismissed on allegations of impropriety. Dr. Saar Abdulai Vandi was dismissed based on media reports of alleged impropriety, while Mr. Albert Bropleh was prosecuted and jailed on reports of impropriety.

Whether the President will order a probe into the Learjet scandal involving, Ms. Weeks remains to be seen.

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