Liberia: Finance, Defense Ministries Confirm President Weah’s Reimbursement of AFL Pension Funds

Defense Minister Daniel D. Ziankahn ( in suit) walking out of court after testifying

Monrovia – Deputy Finance Minister for Fiscal Affairs Samora P.Z. Wolokollie has confirmed that the Weah-led administration has paid US$460,000 into the Armed Forces of Liberia’s (AFL) Pension Account as reimbursement funds toward the US$1.3 million used from the AFL Pension Account.

At the same time, the Minister of National Defense Daniel D. Ziankahn acknowledged the payment of the amount into the AFL pension account by the government through the Ministry of Finance.

The two ministers – Wolokollie and Ziankahn – made the disclosure on Friday, March 13 at Criminal Court ‘C’ when they took the witness stand to testify in the economic sabotage case involving former defense minister Brownie Samukai and his two former deputies.

The two ministers were summoned by the court to testify whether or not the Weah-led administration has made payment into the AFL Pension Account as reimbursement toward US$1.3 Million.

The decision of the court to summon the two ministers was based on the defendants’ lawyer’s request that the two ministries (Ministry of Finance and Ministry of National defense) be invited to provide original copies of bank vouchers and other documentation authorizing the payment of money into the AFL account by the government.

Defendant Samukai said the aforesaid amount was paid by the government into the account when he took the witness stand to testify in his own defense.

And Minister Wolokollie confirmed that the amount was paid into the AFL’s account based on consultation and advice from the National Security Council of Liberia.

“At the receipt of the request coming from the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Finance proceeded in line with its budget execution process and with the advice from the National Security Council of the Government of Liberia to make payment to the Ministry of National Defense in the amount of US$460, 000,” Minister Wolokollie testified.

Minister Wolokollie (in brown shirt) walking out of court after testifying

Added Defense Minister Ziankahn: “The purpose of the request from the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia to the Ministry of National Defense for onward submission to the Ministry of Finance was satisfied.”

Meanwhile, Criminal Court C Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay denied Defense lawyers’ application for President George Weah to be summoned to testify in the ongoing trial.

“The court says that under our law, the President alone is the head of the Executive Branch of Government and other appointments as agents. The court is also of the opinion that, if the defense strongly believes that the testimony of the President is absolutely necessary besides the testimony that will be given by the Minister of Finance, then the defense may see it necessary to have other officials of government including the CBL who have handled the affairs instead the President of Liberia,” the Judge said.

“There is no judicial record in the Republic of Liberia where a sitting President has decided to appear in court to testify in Liberia. Based on the forgoing reason, this court has no alternative but to deny the application as made by the defense team.”