Finance and Development Planning Minister Biomah Kamara announced on Monday, 26 June that report of the Internal Audit Agency at the Ministry on disbursement of funds allotted by the government under the Private Sector Development Initiatives has been finalized and subsequently submitted to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Minister Biomah also disclosed that the report is being forwarded to the Ministry of Justice to probe individuals associated with the management and disbursement of the funds that were intended to empower local businesses thru a loan scheme under the supervision of his predecessors, specifically ex-Deputy Finance Minister for Expenditure and Debt Management, Dr. James Kollie.
The report implicates Dr. Kollie, but he has denied any wrongdoing and challenged the professionalism of the audit, arguing that the fund was managed by the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment, LBDI.
Dr. Kollie may be innocent as he claims, but we understand that the loan scheme was placed directly under his supervision, which presupposes that he could bear greater responsibility as overseer, when, and if investigation commences.
However, we are not interested in who received what, how, when or where, but accountability, as the fund in question was intended to stimulate the local economy thru Liberian-owned businesses.It has been reported that some beneficiaries have defaulted in repayment, meaning the principle cash the received plus interest cannot be accounted for.
Someone has to account, and must be responsible enough to do so, because this issue should not be swept under the rug under the so-called pretext of lack of evidence, as it has been in other misappropriation cases, where suspected culprits were allowed to go scout-freed.
We demand serious accountability and call on the Ministry of Justice to leave no stone unturned as it commences probe into this matter. It is disheartening to note that money intended to stimulate our ailing economy are siphoned by few individuals with no remorse for their action.
Such individuals should be brought to book, without tempering justice with mercy, if the government corruption fight is to be taken seriously. Few greedy or dishonest persons shouldn’t be allowed to go with impunity, while the common good is jeopardized.
It is about time that all those institutions whether genuine or fake that received loans come forward and be made to liquidate their debts so that other deserving citizens would equally benefit from the program. Equally so, those who were entrusted with the management of the fund must come forward to help with the impending investigation by the Ministry of Justice to establish accountability and put this matter to rest as this country transitions.