After reading the full annual report provided by President Weah on the State of the Nation, my initial reaction is that the President lied under oath as follows:
On page 43 of President Weah’s Annual Message, he stated that ‘when we came to power, we inherited a debt of $878.2 million United States dollars at the end of 2017. The debt stock now stands at $987.8 million in 2018 at the end of 2018. The increase in the debt stock of $109.6 million during the period under review is mainly on account of disbursements from borrowing external loan portfolios, including the World Bank, African Development Bank, BADEA and Saudi Arabia, which were ratified in 2017. To date, my administration has not added to the debt stock but that does not mean we will not increase the stock of debt. In the interest of our people, we are working on this’.
However, the President reports on page 44 of the speech that ‘total official development assistance received from January up to September 2018 is about $399 million United States dollars in support of various programs and activities under our Pro-Poor Agenda. To our partners, we say thank you, merci and obligado! Of this amount, approximately $279.2 million United States dollars, represents seventy percent (70%) in grants; while the remaining $120 million United States dollars represents thirty percent (30%) received as concessional loans’.
According to OECD (2018) ‘concessional loans are loans that are extended on terms substantially more generous than market loans. The concessionality is achieved either through interest rates below those available on the market or by grace periods, or a combination of these’.
In view of the above, there is a contradiction in the President’s report because concessional loans are part of Liberia’s debt stock that must be repaid by the government of Liberia whether under President Weah or any other government. The $120 million (30%) concessional loans received by the Pro-Poor government as spoken about on page 44 of the speech by Presient Weah exceeds the 109.6 million debt stock added from the previous loans ratified in 2017? This means Liberia has attracted additional debt stock under President Weah. Based on this contradiction, it can be concluded that the President lied about his government not adding to the debt stock of the Republic. This constitutes perjury.
The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning or entire Government must correct the statistics. I am awaiting the Ministry’s response in this premise.
Lecturer, IBB Graduate School of International Studies
President Weah Lied Under Oath
Prof. Thomas Kaydor