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The Executive Mansion has refuted recent media reports suggesting that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had summoned her former Finance Development and Planning Minister Amara Konneh to help auditors give account of a US13 million European Union or EU funding to the Liberian Health Sector.

Mr. Konneh, now an employee of the World Bank based in Kenya overseeing the Bank’s Deep Fragility project is due in the country this month. In a statement issued Thursday December 1, signed by Presidential Press Secretary JerolinmekPiah, President Sirleaf had at no time summon her former Minister, now a World Bank Executive.

“The story about the summoning of former Minister Konneh is totally false and misleading as there is no on-going investigation or audit concerning EU support that involves the Government of Liberia,” the statement issued by the Executive Mansion said.

The statement by the Executive Mansion was followed by a rebuttal from the EU Mission here clarifying that the European Union has not requested an audit of the budget support previously provided to the health sector and nor has it placed a hold on future assistance to Liberia.

The European Union Delegation went on to say that it is always happy to provide details of its cooperation activities here. Konneh, who is yet to react to the media reports which suggest his summon on Thursday, took to Facebook, appraising his team’s achievement so far at the World Bank project office based in Kenya.

Konneh; “It has been 8 months since I joined the World Bank as head of its Fragility, Conflict, Violence and Forced Displacement Hub in Nairobi, Kenya after serving as Minister of Finance and Development Planning for my country, Liberia. Of the approximately 40 countries the hub serves on 5 continents, I was told by my superiors that rebuilding post-conflict Central African Republic (CAR) was a priority for the Bank. We immediately jumped in as we always did when we served in Liberia by connecting the enormous talents across the Bank and completed a first class Recovery and Peace Building Assessment (RPBA) in close collaboration with the government, UN and the EU that informed the country’s reconstruction agenda – an experience I’m all too familiar with. The CAR Donor conference was organized by the EU in Brussels in close collaboration with the UN and The Bank, and was attended by 75 delegations.

The conference resulted in a $2.2 billion, including $2 billion for reconstruction and $0.2 billion for humanitarian assistance. This well over the $1.6 billion costed over the next 3 years to finance the Recovery and Peace Building Assessment (RPBA) conducted by my team of fragility, conflict and violence experts directly supervised by me. The bulk of the financing will come from IFIs such as the WB, AfDB, Arab funds, IMF and the EU, both the EDF and European countries. The Bank pledged $500 million. 

The Bank’s FCV Hub in Nairobi is on the move. We have already set up a secretariat at the Ministry of Finance and Economy with advisers to help the Minister with coordination and implementation.

Emerging from violent conflict, CAR has made impressive progress over the last three years. The peaceful and successful elections completed the political transition in CAR and restored constitutional order. The people of CAR now have a historic window of opportunity to lead their country towards stability, recovery and development. They now have a unique possibility to break free from a cycle of fragility and crises and to contribute to the stabilization of the region. 

As an African and a Liberian in particular, I’m very proud to be a part of this and of my contribution to CAR’s turnaround process out of deep fragility that I hope would benefit its people, who have suffered for too long.”

-Othello B. Garblah

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