14 June 2017

Liberia: Default Justified

What appears to be a justification for failure to repay a loan borrowed by the Sanvee Holdings Inc. from the Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, has been put forward by the Chairman of the Liberty Party, Benjamin Sanvee.

Mr. Sanvee has justified that the loan taken from the PSDI and subsequent default in payment is not with his company alone.

Addressing a news conference Monday at the Liberty Party headquarters in Congo Town outside Monrovia, Sanvee insists that he owes no apology because the situation is same to many businesses in Liberia.

According to an audit report released by the Internal Audit Unit of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Sanvee Holdings Inc is among twelve (12) businesses that received loans valued US$545,700.00, but could not be located.

"We reviewed GE Fund account statement, loan agreements and customers' files and observed that Twelve (12) borrowers received US$ 545,700.00, repay US$4,165.00 but could not be located or reached. We followed-up with a field verification to authenticate the existence of the businesses including all other borrowers who received loans from PSDI. Based on their addresses on books, we did not find or see the twelve (12) businesses at locations stipulated. We tried to contact them using telephone numbers obtained from the borrowers' files, but their phones were permanently switched off.," the Audit Report indicated.

However, the Audit Report disclosed that on May 31, 2015 while concluding the draft report "we made further contacts, and were able to reach Mr. Benjamin R. Sanvee, CEO/Sanvee Holdings INC. He told us that we did not see the business at Bong-Mines Bridge as stipulated on the business file because; they have transferred/moved to Sinkor 24 Street. When questioned on the repayment of the US$45,000.00 loan received from the project, he promised to call us back after he shall have consulted his Finance Officer."

PSDI is a project established in 2014 at the MFDP to provide loans to Liberian-owned small and medium-sized Enterprises (SME). The loan was meant to financially-strengthen Liberian businesses.

There are reports in Monrovia that Sanvee set-up a bogus company to get the loan from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning for his personal use.

But Sanvee said the process leading to the acquisition of the loan was legitimate disclosing that the Sanvee Holdings Inc. is a family business legally registered under the laws of Liberia.

Sanvee displayed his company's business registration documents including Articles of Incorporation to establish that the institution is legal.

Although he admitted default in payment of the loan but maintained that it is not unique to his company alone.

"Business went bad. The business struggled and we are in the red," Sanvee said.

Meanwhile, Sanvee told newsmen that he has taken leave of absence from the Liberty Party to enable him settle loan issue.

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