Liberia: Ruling Party Chairman Explains Pres. Weah’s Controversial Mansions
Monrovia – Amid controversy over President George Weah’s giant multi-million dollar construction projects, his lieutenants including ministers and party’s stalwarts continue to jump to his defense.
Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh, [email protected]
The latest is Mulbah Morlu, Chairman of the President’s party, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
Weah’s project includes a 41-unit state-of-the-art property in the Baptist Seminary Community on the RIA highway within the proximity of his Jamaica Resort, which many has described as a magnet for public officials.
President Weah’s 9th Street residence is valued at US$150,000, which was demolished for reconstruction.
All of these projects are being simultaneously implemented at a time when the country’s economy is bad allegedly broke.
Weah attained the presidency and failed to make his declared assets public; thus, raising eyebrows and prompting some Liberians to question why he waited until becoming President before embarking on these projects.
However, Morlu, addressing a group of CDC partisans at the party’s headquarters in Monrovia on Monday, January 14, argued that President Weah could not have undertaken such investment during the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf because the country was not safe.
Morlu could not explain Weah’s “suppression” but said it would have been “foolhardy” to begin implementing the kind of agenda of moving Liberia forward as a private citizen.
Said Morlu: “For you to make a determination to invest in a country infrastructurally, you must be guaranteed a security, or else even if you build hundred thousand miles or acres of estate, it is not secured. It is not guaranteed. He needed to have a national security guarantee to invest.”
He continued: “You need not to expect President Weah to start building estate under Madam Sirleaf when Weah was being suppressed by the very Madam Sirleaf and her bunch of criminals during that time.
“Now, that the man is our President and has created security for all, the guarantee for one to begin to invest in our country is there. And anybody irrespective of class or religion, or tribe or nationality can invest in Liberia now and go to bed and sleep sound because there is guaranteed security.”
Morlu added that Liberians should welcomed the President’s decision to invest in the country and not outside of the country.
“He (President Weah) is not taking his personal resources to build homes in America; he is investing to make Liberia better. He believes in this country. Even when he played football, most of his investments were in this country.”
Counter Response to Morlu’s Claims
While the CDCians were nodding and applauding Morlu’s defense of the President, Liberians who were watching the event via social media counter-reacted.
A Facebook user, Farell Russ wrote: “God have mercy. Are you saying these people are listening to all these lies? Since he claimed that GMW (George M. Weah) is using his own money to acquire properties, why can’t he come up with a statement of banks withdrawal to clear the Liberian people’s doubts? This is broad-day lies from Morlu.”
Julius Sankama added: “Mr. Chairman, your position on this one is far from understanding.”
“We are not stupid like you think. Why he never painted the house on 9th Street where he slept for years. The President is broke, brother,” writes Samuel Garson Williams in respond to Morlu.
Declaration of Assets Still Remains Concealed
Amidst these numerous projects, Liberians still do not know what their President’s actual assets are since his ascendancy to the nation’s highest seat. This is sparking conspiracy theories.
However, in declaring his assets to the National Elections Commission (NEC) prior to the 2014 Senatorial election, President Weah disclosed that he had four properties: two in Florida, USA, one on 9th Street, Sinkor, Monrovia and another in Rehab Community in Paynesville.
The 9th Street property, according to that declaration was worth US$150,000, the Rehab structure was valued US$100,000. The Miami, Florida property – US$1.4 million while the other property in Florida was put at US$900,000.00.
He further declared at the time that he earned US$200,000 over a period of 12 months (July 2013 to June 2014) from his real estate in the United States.
President Weah declared a US$50,000 in Chase Bank in the U.S., but the President is still facing criticisms over his assets. The declaration made in June 2018 remains a secret.
Both the General Auditing Commission (GAC) and Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) have refused to release copies of his asset.
The two entities have referred various Freedom of Information requests to the court.
US City Files Suit Against Weah’s Property
Weah’s huge real estate development projects in Liberia has drawn ire from the city of Lauderhill in Florida. The city filed a lien against a piece of property owned by Liberia’s First Lady, Clar Weah.
A lien is an official order that allows someone to keep the property of a person who owes them money until the money has been paid back.
In the case, the African Star reported that the lien was filed on December 11, 2018 by the Code Enforcement Division of the City of Lauderhill for violation Code of Ordinance, Chapter 6, Section 6-6.
Following a ‘Master Hearing’ on December 11, 2018 into the violation and non-payment of the fine of $25 daily as of October 3, 2018 until the violation is remedied, the African Star noted that the City has now formally filed and recorded a lien against the property, per the Broward County Appraiser website.
It noted that some construction or improvement may have been carried out on the property without obtaining a permit from the City, as required.
The single standing property was purchased by Mrs. Weah in November 2002 for $460,000.
According to the Code of Ordinance, “A building permit shall be required in accordance with those provisions contained in Florida Building Code Section 105.1…”
The report notes that the citation of code violation is for a grocery store and the Jaqckson/Jackson Restaurant owned and operated by Mrs. Weah located at 3419 West Broward Boulevard in Lauderhill, Florida. It added that as of January 1, 2019, the lien recorded against the property is still valid and unpaid by
Backings from Stalwarts
The Minister of Finance and Development , Samuel Tweah, in December 2018 bragged that Pres. Weah earned US$80 million when he was playing active football, therefore, his properties under construction should not be questioned.
Tweah: “He was born to make history. He made history in football; he’ll make history in politics; you’re wasting your time. Some people are born, and you can’t fight it.
“What ‘God’ has chosen, man can never fight. There is a reason why ‘God’ took him from Gibralta to become the President today. So, whether you write fake news on FrontPageAfrica, you go on some kind of show and lie about a man who earned money – US$80 million and more – the man whose son is a millionaire, the man who made a lot of money, to say he ain’t got money to build his own house because he’s President, that’s a black wicked evil lie.”
And on Christmas Day, Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe while speaking on Fabric Radio said no law bars any official of government from speaking on behalf of the government. But Minister Nagbe when questioned about the President’s worth, his assets and Min. Tweah’s statement, he quickly argued that Min. Tweah isn’t the accountant of the President. He also attempted to clarify that Min. Tweah said Pres. Weah “earned US$80 million” contrary to the interpretation that he is worth US$80 million.
This statement coming from the Information Minister casts doubt over the Finance Minister’s assertions about the President’s wealth.
In April 2018, former Press Secretary Sam Manneh made a public relations bluff that Pres. Weah was spending his personal money to re-roof houses in Gibralta, the community he grew up. This gesture, Manneh said, was the President’s way of giving back to the community and an expression of his love for them.
Gibralta is a slum community in Clara Town on the Bushrod Island. The community is mostly made of shanty structures.
However, a FrontPageAfrica investigation found that the project was funded from the government’s coffers. FrontPageAfrica found that a questionable US$1 million and more was spent on the re-roofing of 205 houses in that community.
FrontPageAfrica also discovered that the project was supposed to cost US$800,000, instead, US$1,075,000 was used.
In defense to this, Information Minister Nagbe said it was the President’s initial decision to personally fund the project, but cabinet decided it be made a national project and should therefore be funded by the government.
Despite these defenses by the President’s inner circle on his gigantic and luxurious projects, many Liberians are eager to know the is the source of his income; perhaps it is saga that will linger in the public sphere until the fact is established.