Former ruling Unity Party (UP) has suspended its national chairman Mr. Wilmot Paye for alleged mal-financial practices. Mr. Paye was voted out of office over the weekend on accusations of allegedly misapplying US$50,000 donated to his kinsmen in Nimba by UP’s 2017 presidential candidate former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai during the campaign period.
The former ruling party says during the 2017 campaign, Mr. Boakai provided the US$50,000 for Mr. Paye to deliver it to Nimbaians on the last day of campaign based on the candidate’s promise to during a tour.
The allegation forced party executives to hand down an indefinite suspension to Mr. Paye following a vote over the weekend.In addition to claims that Mr. Paye misapplied the US$50,000, party officials are also citing a protest held against the accused during the party’s retreat as another ground for his suspension.
During the UP’s retreat at Buchanan City Hall in Grand Bassa County on 7 April this year, some youthful partisans staged protest, demanding the resignation of Mr. Paye.
The protesters accused Mr. Paye of being a major contributing factor to the former ruling party’s defeat in the 2017 Presidential election won by the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), a former opposition establishment.
UP featured former Vice President Boakai and former Speaker Emmanuel James Nuquay on its ticket as standard bearer and vice standard bearer in the 2017 polls.
But the ticket was defeated by CDC’s George Manneh Weah and Jewel Howard – Taylor at a runoff conducted in December, ending the UP’s 12 years rule under former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf.
As chanting of battle cry intensified in the hall where the party was hosting its post elections retreat, the UP Executive Committee had no option but to invite the protesters for a dialogue.
Before the decision was taken by UP’s National Executive Committee to indefinitely suspend Mr. Paye, the accused was submitted to an ad-hoc committee headed by Bong County Rep. Corpu Barclay.
Through its findings, the committee established that Chairman Paye reportedly tampered with the money in question.According to the Committee, the money was delivered [to Mr. Paye] upon his return to Monrovia.
In an apparent effort to give him sufficient time in court to be heard, the Executive Committee presided over by former Standard Bearer Boakai says Mr. Paye is to remain suspended until the committee can come up with new findings and recommendations.
Meanwhile, UP Senior Vice Chairman Cllr. Neto Zarzar Lighe is now the acting chairman of the party while the former Deputy Secretary General, Atty. Miller Catakaw will be head of the interim secretariat.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley