Liberia: Govt. Flip-Flops in Defense of Boakai

President Joseph Boakai

President Joseph Nyuma Boakai is embroiled in controversy as accusations of violating Section 9.1 of the established code of conduct for public officials swirl here.

This section explicitly forbids public officials from accepting or soliciting bribes or casual gifts in connection with their official duties and benefits that could influence their professional approach to issues. The allegations stem from Boakai's recent return to the country on Wednesday, May 14, 2024, during which he was observed disembarking from a private jet, CN SYA, in apparent breach of Section 1.9 of the code.

In the wake of these allegations, political opponents are wasting no time in leveling criticism against the President, citing hypocrisy in light of his past condemnation of similar actions by his predecessor, George Weah.

However, the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism (Micat) has come to President Boakai's defense, saying that the President's actions were in the nation's best interest.

Deputy Minister for Technical Affairs Daniel O. Sando, who addressed the media during a regular press briefing on Thursday, May 16, 2024, argued that while the code of conduct applies to public officials, it does not specifically target the President, who represents the country in official capacities.

He says Mr. Boakai's use of a private jet did not come at the nation's expense, unlike previous instances where public funds were used to charter such aircraft for personal gain.

Sando highlights the distinction between Boakai's diplomatic engagements abroad and his return to Liberia, arguing that the President's actions were justified in bilateral discussions with international partners.

He stresses that Boakai's decisions were carefully considered and aimed at addressing Liberia's critical challenges, including economic revitalization and social stability.

Despite the government's attempts to justify the President's actions, questions linger regarding the consistency of its response to allegations of code of conduct violations. Critics argue that the administration's defense appears inconsistent and reactionary, suggesting a degree of flip-flopping in its handling of the matter.

As the controversy unfolds, the public remains divided, with some expressing concern over potential ethical lapses while others defend the President's actions as necessary for the country's progress. Amidst growing scrutiny, the government faces mounting pressure to provide clarity and accountability regarding President Boakai's conduct.

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