Liberia: Former Vice President, Joseph Boakai, ‘Deprived’ of Just Benefits
Monrovia – Investigation conducted by FrontPageAfrica has established that the George Weah-led administration is dragging its feet to pay pension and other benefits to former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai since he left power in January this year.
Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
This posture by the government contradicts President Weah’s promise to respect, consult and ensure that all benefits appertaining to Mr. Boakai’s retirement are duly paid.
Executive Order 91 signed by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on December 25, 2017 stipulates, among other things, that the Joint Presidential Transition Team (JPTT) shall ensure services are provided to the outgone President and Vice President not limited to two vehicles and chauffeur each, VIP protection (Executive Protection Service, EPS, and Police Services), logistics, allowances and other benefits and services to be determined by the JPTT.
Speaking to FrontPageAfrica over the matter, Mr. Sam Stevquoah, the Chief of Staff of the Office of the former Vice President said President Weah has been gracious by providing the two vehicles and protection, however, Boakai is now left with the obligation of fueling the vehicles on his own and at the same time paying allowances to the EPS agents and police officers assigned to him.
“The last time the former Vice President received anything from government was in January. You can recall inauguration was held on January 22 and there is a policy in government that once you’ve worked past the 15th, you’re entitled to receive your full salary. Since then, he has received nothing from government; so your information that the Vice President is yet to receive any allowance or other benefits from this government is correct,” he said.
Mr. Stevquoah lamented that he and the former Vice President have made several attempts through the Offices of the President, the legal advisor to the President and the Finance Minister, but to no avail.
FrontPageAfrica has not been able to independently verify this information as the Finance Minister is out of the country with the President.
He recalled that Amb. Boakai paid a courtesy visit to President Weah on February 12 and was again assured by the President that he’ll ensure that all his benefits and immunities due him are provided without any hindrance.
But contrary to the assurance of the President, Stevquoah said he has been getting a run around from the Finance Minister, who on several occasions postponed scheduled meetings for the discussion and settlement of the former Vice President’s financial benefits.
FrontPageAfrica has obtained a copy of a letter dated February 26, 2018, written by the former Vice President Boakai reminding him of his financial entitlement as a former statesman. It reads:
H.E. George M. Weah
Republic of Liberia
Welcome back home from your successful visit to France and Senegal, and we praise Almighty God for your safe return.
Thank you for seeing me on short notice prior to your departure, and I am grateful for the cordiality and deference you have shown to me since your election to the high office of President.
Regarding the unresolved issue of support to the Former Vice President’s office (consistent with Section 8 of Executive Order No. 91), which we discussed, my office team has made contacts with the Minister of Finance and we are awaiting a response from Hon. Samuel Tweah.
I also write to inform you that allowing a personal request, Convoy of Hope, a US based humanitarian aid and philanthropic organization is donating two containers of new and used shoes for my office to distribute to hospital, schools, orphanages, and other institutions. This outpouring of goodwill is based on our launch of Operation Barefoot to put shoes on the feet of less fortunate children.
The first of the two containers arrived at the Freeport of Monrovia a week ago. It is my understanding from the Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority, Mrs. Elfeida Tamba, that in order to complete the clearing process from the Free Port, duty free privileges to the office of the former Vice President, has to firstly be granted through your offices; hence, this letter. In view of the foregoing, I ask for your consideration to duty free privileges in that regard.
Please accept sentiments of my highest esteem.
Joseph N. Boakai, Sr.
Former Vice President
President Weah is yet to respond to the communication of the former Vice President.
Speaking to the issue of Mr. Boakai’s request for duty free privileges to get his container of shoes from the port, Stevquoah said it is quite disturbing that President Weah would renege on giving duty free privilege to the former Vice President for containers of shoes which are not meant for sale or run any political activity, rather to help Liberian children who lack foot wear, walking on bare feet.
“President Weah has a very great opportunity to reconcile Liberians. However, when his government begins to treat the former Vice President with such disrespect, it becomes worrisome and we begin to wonder where we are going with this reconciliation thing,” he said.
A close relative to the Vice President who has asked for anonymity told this paper the Vice President has resolved not to chase anyone in government for his due severance any longer.
“This is a man who left government with clean hands; he has no record of corruption; why can’t they give him what is due him? These are the reasons why some leaders become corrupt in government and cling to power. Former Vice President Boakai, though not pleased with the outcome of the presidential elections conceded defeat when President Weah was declared winner of the election, yet, he is not being given the respect he deserves,” the family source averred.