5 February 2014

Liberia: LTA Accounts Frozen

Photo: Liberia Government
President Sirleaf (file photo).

The Executive Mansion yesterday said President Ellen Johnson has ordered a full investigation into all standing contracts between the Ministry of Public Works and construction companies in the country, and directed all current and former officials of the Ministry of Public Works to cooperate fully with the investigation.

Aside ordering investigation into all contracts, President Sirleaf has frozen the accounts of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), and suspended the US$1 million lease agreement between LTA and a Chinese company, Qinjian International, for a building it intends to secure as an office.

The decision which followed a meeting with Public Works officials is aimed at ensuring that Government gets the full value for money spent, the statement under the signature of Press Secretary Jerolinmek Piah said.

At the same time, President Sirleaf has accepted, with immediate effect, the resignation of Deputy Public Works Minister for Technical Services, Mr. Victor Smith., and has directed him to remain in country and cooperate fully with the investigation.

Moreover, the President, in fulfillment of her pledge made one and half weeks ago, has nominated a Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia.

If confirmed by the Liberian Senate, Col. Daniel Dee Ziankhan as Chief of Staff will take over as head of the army, replacing the Nigerian Commander, Major General Suraj Alao Abdurrahman, who has been in the post and will be assisted by Col. Eric Dennis as Deputy Chief of Staff.

The newly nominated Chief of Staff is currently Brigade Commander of the AFL.

The nominations were made in keeping with Article 54, Section E, of the Liberian Constitution which authorizes the President to nominate and, with the consent of the Senate, appoint and commission members of the military from the rank of Lieutenant or equivalent and above.

In a letter addressed to the Liberian Senate, President Sirleaf said the officers have met all the requirements necessary, including advance and strategic training at various military institutions, and their deportment and discipline have been highly commended by the country's international partners involved in restructuring of the AFL.

"They have my full confidence," the President stated in the letter.

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