Politics News

Lawmaker denies lobbying for kickback

River Gee County Rep. Francis S. Dopoh has rubbished report that members of the House of Representatives are lobbying for a 10 percent kickback before rectifying the controversial US$536 million loan agreement between the Government of Liberia and ETON Finance Limited.

In an interview with local broadcaster OK Fm Tuesday, 29 May, Mr. Dopoh said it his responsibility as lawmaker to rectify loans, provided that they meet some basic standards. Rep. Dopoh says the simmering allegation in the media specifically being voiced on radio talk shows by critics and politicians, is“reckless.”

According to him, he is not in the know of any form of lobbying being done at the lower chamber of the Legislature for the passage of the agreement which seeks to finance a major government road project.

According to the River Gee County District #3 Rep. such comment does not make any sense, noting that it is the duty of the Legislature to rectify agreements which conform to relevant standards as prescribed by the laws of the Republic of Liberia.

The loan financing between Government and ETON Finance Limited which was submitted to the House of Representatives recently for rectification is a little over US$536 million, and when rectified, will be used to finance the Costal Corridor-Connection of County Capitals Road Project.

As per the terms contained in the agreement, the loan will become operational immediately following its rectification by the Legislature, approved by the President and subsequently printed into handbill.

It has a payment schedule of 15 years with a seven year interest and principal free grace period and shall be disbursed by ETON in two tranches of at least 50 percent disbursement within 50-banking days after the confirmation date of Sovereign Guarantee from the Central Bank of Liberia. The second payment of the balance shall be within 60-banking days after the first disbursement.

Rep. Dopoh emphasizes that as a member of the Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning Committee of the House, his curiosity will lead him to ask certain key questions relative to the agreement before he can vote in favor of its passage.

“I need to be convinced as a lawmaker that the money does not violate the issue of illicit financial flow, or whether or not the money is good for Liberia,” he notes.

He maintains that as an independent legislator he needs not to be told by a colleague or anyone in the Executive branch of government whether or not the loan agreement is a good one.

Relative to the thorough inspection of the loan agreement, Dopoh says he will propose that the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Central Bank of Liberia be made to answer questions on the issues of illicit financial flow and Sovereign guarantee.

By Bridgett Milton–Edited by Winston W. Parley

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