Liberia’s Finance Minister Threatens to Weaponize Ruling Establishment against The Media
MONROVIA – Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel D. Tweah has promised to “weaponize” government’s base so as to make it capable to deal with what he described as “mistruth and falsehood in the media.”
Report by Henry Karmo [email protected]
“We’ll weaponize through the case to go and deal with mistruths and falsehoods in the media,” Minister Tweah told ‘militants’ of the ruling party, Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Wednesday, December 19.
Speaking to a gathering of partisans at their Congo Town headquarters, he responded to FrontPageAfrica’s publication of an attempt by a Sierra Leonean to steal millions of dollars from Liberia’s account, that around the world swift codes of banks are public information.
He boasted of having more than 18 swift codes of banks around the world.
“The swift code is public information. I have the swift code of 18 banks in Ghana so when the people go on FrontPage Africa and read that a Minister of Finance is being attacked because he was supposed to have released a swift code, it tells that the intelligence of the Liberia people is low and the country is bankrupt.
“If you Google swift code all the swift codes of banks around the world will be given to you. This is a blatant rooted stupid lies by a journalist who in his quest to destroy a minister because he refuses to give him dime as he was receiving under the last minister. He will stop at nothing to damage his country.”
One financial fraud analyst, who asked not to be named, told this newspaper that the Finance Minister is right about swift codes being public information. However, this pundit added: “The issue is not about swift codes being public materials. The real issue here is that there wasn’t enough due diligence done. The Minister was dealing with a fraudster. He had given the nation’s code to a fraudster, who presented himself as an investor. That is something to worry about. They are bringing in fraudsters as investors. Wasn’t there any vetting done? What if he had succeeded in transferring that over US$32 million?”
FrontPageAfrica on Wednesday reported that Liberia was on the verge of losing US$32,835,654.14 to fraud but was reportedly saved by an alarm from the international banking system that hinted the government of the crime in progress.
The paper also reported that suspect James Larmin Korboi, a Sierra Leonean, is now behind bars awaiting court trial, but the newspaper had gathered that he attempted transferring the amount out of the government’s account when alarm blew.
This paper gathered that he was reportedly given the government’s swift code after he convinced the Ministers of State and Finance that he had over US$24 million to invest in the George Weah-led pro-poor administration.
The suspect is believed to be operating with Kimberly Ann Goguen.
Kimberly Ann Goguen is a fraud leader, queen-pin, who intentionally deceives individuals, and government officials, by offering them grants, free gifted money from Sovereign Trust Accounts FMCA7778887778889999 which is non-existent.
FrontPageAfrica gathered that Minister Tweah along with Deputy Minister Samora Wolokollie had been holding discussions with Korboi since June this year.
“The Minister of Finance signed an agreement with him after they got small kickbacks here and there, then they gave him the country’s swift code to wire the money not knowing this guy is a hacker. He hacked into Liberia’s financial system but was caught,” a FrontPageAfrica source said.
The Finance Ministry source added: “When he hacked the government’s account and was taking out the money but he turned greedy and exceeded the maximum so there was a red flag and the international banking system called the government to countercheck.”
The Finance Minister’s threat of weaponizing fanatics of the CDC to deal with the media is coming in another form, slightly different from what the party’s chairman made few months ago in July.
Chairman Mulbah Morlue had threatened anyone who would not dare join CDC.
“Those who will join the CDC will enjoy the party; but those who will not join the CDC, the party will fight you. Even if you are my brother, once you are not a member of this party, you are in the firing line; we will fight you. We will deconstruct your ability every day until you join the CDC,” he warned.
The CDC Chairman spoke when Grand Kru County Senator, Dr. Peter Coleman, rejoined the Coalition after leaving the party several months ago to join the former ruling Unity Party.
Chairman Morlu noted that the party will only support people who are members of CDC in the coming 2020 elections.
“For the coming race in 2020, CDC will not support candidates who are not members of the CDC. If you join early there is a possibility, but if you don’t join the party, the party will fight you; and when I say fight you, our standard bearer will be leading that fight against you,” he forewarned.
Further making remarks at the headquarters of CDC on Wednesday, December 19, Tweah said there is no payment of debts for transaction during the regime of former President Charles Taylor. He again accused this newspaper of allegedly lying on the Minister of State for ordering the payment.
“This payment is a court judgment. In the ruling, the judge said the government is liable; so you have to pay this man because they received the service. No Minister of Finance has the moral superiority to challenge the Judiciary.
“What you saw was an allotment request; it is not a payment, it is a request for approval. This approval has not been given the signature. It is an approval for the allotment not the signature of the Minister of Finance.”
Tweah also came to the defense of President Weah, who has been criticized for constructing homes while he is President. According to him, Weah had a life outside of the presidency where he earned millions when he played football.
“Weah is not pretentious because he is not stealing. How will he be stealing? How is it possible for him to achieve so much in 10 months and still stealing considering what he has done? He has paid nine million to the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) out of the 13 million debt owed by previous government.
At the ceremony at which Tweah spoke, several members of the former ruling Unity Party had gone to declare their membership with the ruling CDC. The declaration of membership was done Wednesday, December 19, 2018.
These members included Henry Fahnbulleh, former Secretary General of UP and Former Representative of District #4, Montserrado County; Sneh Johnson, former Development Superintendent, Sinoe County; Alphonso Socrates Nimene, former Minister Counselor to Qatar and Saye-Maye Cole, former Chairman of the Unity Party, Montserrado County chapter.