Monrovia – Article 90 (B)of the Liberian Constitution states that no person, whether elected or appointed to any public office, shall engage in any other activity which shall be against public policy, or constitute conflict of interest.
Report by Henry Karmo – [email protected]
A FrontPageAfrica investigation has discovered what can be considered serious conflict of interest carried out a member of the Legislature.
FrontPageAfrica though was hinted over two weeks earlier, observed that water served during the President’s Annual Message program at the Legislature was a self-awarded contract by Representative Josephine Francis of Montserrado County District #1.
Rep. Francis has, however, denied awarding the contract for supply of water herself.
She owns Aquarius Mineral Water.
The water was served to the hundreds of guests who gathered to at the Capitol to listen to the President’s Annual Message.
Rep. Francis chairs the House Committee on Executive. The Committee was responsible for preparation of the President’s Annual Message.
Rep. Francis in a telephone interview with FPA denied that she awarded contract to her company and boasted of her relationship with other water companies in Liberia.
Despite denying awarding contract to her company she said it was the decision of the caterers to choose which water to use for the program and meant nothing that they selected Aquarius.
“Liberians need to try to be business minded rather than undermine others.”
“My position in the House has nothing to do with who is drinking my water.”
“Before I became Representative people were drinking my water; if you want to put it in the paper tomorrow go ahead, it will give me big publicity I have no contract with government,” she said.
Francis claimed that the program committee wasn’t headed by only her but both chairs from the joint legislative Executive committees.
However, sources from the Senate have told FPA that the Senate’s Executive Committee chair rejected the proposal of US$63,000 made by Rep. Francis and called for the budget to be reviewed and contracts be given to ordinary Liberian businesses.
Though Rep. Francis’ proposal was rejected by her colleague at the Senate, our source informed us that she unilaterally went ahead with US$63,000 budget for the program.
“The water is in the super market. If the caterers choose to serve it, so be it. Aquarius is a legal company; we pay taxes to government so if the caterers call my management and say they want this amount of water so be it.
“This is not a headline as long as it is not illegal, it is not a headline,” she said.
Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff who heads the Senate’s Committee of the Executive declined to comment to issue.
In a session before the President’s address, Representative Francis and Edward Forh had open argument over her unilateral decision making posture in making preparation for the Annual Message.
When questioned by Rep. Forh over preparation over the Annual Message, Rep. Francis replied: “Why, is it because you are not getting your regular 10%?”
Rep. Francis was appointed by Deputy Speaker who presided over one of the parallel sessions during the House leadership crisis.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2014 commissioned the Aquarius mineral water processing plant in upper Montserrado County committing government to supporting Liberia-owned businesses.
Montserrado County District #1 Representative Josephine Francis, proprietress and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Aquarius Mineral Water brought into the country new ‘state of the art’ equipment to produce pure and safe drinking water and other beverages for the Liberian market.
The Aquarius Mineral Water is part of the Liberia Resources Incorporated, a conglomeration of Aquarius Beverages, Liberia Brick and Tile and Arjay Farm situated in Kingsville, upper Montserrado County.