In the wake of continued blame games among current and past officials over alleged missing 16 billion Liberian Dollars, former Information Minister Rev. Dr. Lawrence Bropleh is recommending the need for well coordinated and synchronized government communication strategy here.
“The first thing is there need to be a coordinated and synchronized government communication strategy,” Dr. Bropleh told local broadcaster OK FM Wednesday morning, 3 October.
The former minister who served former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s regime as chief spokesperson, suggests that politics should be removed from governance, in direct response to varieties of defense coming from numerous unofficial government spokespersons in the current administration of President George Manneh Weah.
“You can’t be reactionary, we must be able to respond,” he says, adding that the goal as media people or government communication people is to be able to allay the situation to rest but not to heap up the matter.
Instead, he observes “the uncoordinated, unsynchronized statements from various sectors of the government” including the unofficial spokespersons of government who go on radio almost every day to lend credence to the allegation of missing billions Liberian Dollars.
According to him, this issue has hurt the image of the country and people have got erroneous perception about President Weah already.
Bropleh expresses his love for the country and his wishes for this government’s success, thus advising that “when we slip, we need to regroup.”
Dr. Bropleh maintains that this administration is “playing into the erroneous perception …” that something indeed went wrong, especially by even holding a report from an internal investigation reportedly conducted at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) which former President Sirleaf continuously spoke about.
According to Dr. Bropleh, Mrs. Sirleaf in fact made reference to a Central Bank report and pondered why the Weah regime wouldn’t release it to the public.
For Dr. Bropleh, it doesn’t matter who broke the news in this alleged L$15.5 billion matter, but he says “the reaction when the news is broken has got us to where we are.”
The former Information Minister places special emphasis on the depth of government responses to this matter, saying they gave credence that something has happened.
In spite of this, ex-minister Bropleh however says he does not believe that it is the reality when people go on social media to question President Weah on why he is undertaking personal projects at this time, noting that it is about perception.
In addition to a Justice Ministry statement announcing a probe into information surrounding the money being brought into the country, current Information Minister Eugene Nagbe told the BBC that there were no records that the banknotes in question were delivered to the central bank or had been put into circulation.
But Finance Minister Samuel Tweah subsequently differed with the government chief spokesperson and announced that no money was missing.
The current regime rather suggested that ahead of its inception on 22 January this year, the money was brought into the country in November 2017 during former President Sirleaf’s rule and President George Manneh Weah’s administration was not informed about it.Responses from the various government officials here pushed former President Sirleaf to speak out, saying no money was missing.
This money matter led the Weah regime to place several persons of interest under investigation including travel restriction which affect ex-President Sirleaf’s son Charles Sirleaf and ex-bank governor Milton Weeks.But ex – minister Bropleh indicates that Mr. Weah’s newly appointed Central Bank Governor Nathaniel Patray has always been a senior executive at the CBL.
While Patray sits as Governor at the CBL, Dr. Bropleh is left to ponder if the new governor is not in the know of a report laying at the Bank when somebody comes out and says a container and some money [that came] through the Roberts International Airport (RIA) didn’t land at the CBL.“Are you not in the know of that? You’re now the governor. Do you not know that there’s this report that’s been laying there? So the governor says nothing to that effect,” Bropleh continues.
According to Dr. Bropleh, Governor Patray’s silence and support to the investigation further contributes to the perception of missing moneys here, especially when Patray ordered at one point that no CBL staff would go home until they find the money.While Dr. Bropleh supports a thorough and detailed investigation, he however expresses hope that there is no missing money.
Reacting to Dr. Bropleh’s comments, ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Rep. Acarous Gray agrees with Dr. Bropleh that not too many persons should be speaking for the government.However, Rep. Gray argues that there will be zealous whether in government or outside the government that will support the administration.
He notes that the issuance of a statement by the CBL that no money is missing does not undermine ongoing investigation.However, Rep. Gray says lawmakers will most likely hold a public hearing with the CBL because surrounding the printing of additional 10 billion.
At the same time, Rep. Gray accuses former President Sirleaf of being very derogatory and demeaning in her interview when she questioned whether they even understood the GDP of the country or what they had placed the country through.
Rep. Gray says he agrees with Dr. Bropleh that the country should be run under a peaceful and cordial atmosphere.He clarifies that Minister Nagbe had said the money printed was 16 billion, but he didn’t say it got missing.