Liberia: Pres. Weah Informs the Legislature Misapplied U.S.$6 Million of Norwegian Grant, Wants It Recorded As Debt to Liberia

Monrovia — President George Weah has written the Legislature informing them about an alleged misapplication of two grants from the Government of Norway of over US$6 million between 2010-2015. The amount was part of an overall amount of US$42 which was to support of the Liberia Electricity Corporation extension of its distribution network in Monrovia.

In 2017, the government of Norway through its Ministry of Foreign, office of the Inspector General Commission KPMG performed an audit verification process of expenditure of the grant and the audit uncovered mismanagement of funds.

Based on the findings of the KPMG, the government of Norway requested on May 6, 2019, that the government of Liberia repay the amount of NOK58 million (over US$ 6 million).

"In view of the above said, I am kindly request the 54th legislature to confirm US$6,555,240 as debt on the books of the government of Liberia in accordance with Article 34.D of the 1986 Constitution of the Republic of Liberia."

The communication was received by the Senate and sent to the Committee on Public Accounts and Ways Means and Finance and Foreign Affairs.

In a related Senate news, the Senate on Thursday, May 6, 2021, received request from President Weah for an extension in the date for the conduct of national census. The date of the conduct was earlier postponed from December 8, 2018 to March 8, 2021.

According to the President's communication, a letter from the Liberia Institute of statistics and Geo-information Services (LISGIS), the institution clothed with the constitutional mandate to conduct the national population and housing census informing him that there exist a need for further extension to conduct census at a specified date, preferably March 20, 2022.

LISGIS believes that the preferred date of March 20, 2022 will afford them ample time to conduct a nationwide Geographic Planning (GP) for a period of at most ten months. The GP will delineate boundaries of newly created cities, Clans, Districts and /or boroughs amongst others.

"Additionally, the GP will provide information of number of enumeration areas across the country that will serve as the basis upon which enumerators will be recruited for the main census enumeration. The preferred date will also provide sufficient time for the conduct of a pilot Census and other activities and to inform on the need for improvement and or recalibration of the methods and tools to be used for time.

"In consideration of the aforementioned, I kindly request a joint resolution of the Legislature mandating the executive Branch of government to conduct a national Census by further extending the 2018 census from March 8, 2021 to march 20, 2022."

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