President George Weah admittedly told staffs of the Ministry of State, currently squatting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building that the story surround the alleged purchase of a USD$30 million jet was causing problem.
“The airplane issue is causing problem,” President Weah told State Ministry staffers Friday May 25, as he presented two new buses for their use. Weah: “We don’t have a bus, how will we buy a $30 million plane? Where do they get this kind of news from? It is not possible for us to buy a plane for $30 million; we are just coming to office.”
The president comments were aimed at dispelling media reports that he had purchase a private jet for his travel on government’s dime. The report of the alleged purchase has spurred growing criticisms and public insinuations against the government bringing its priorities into question.
Mr. Weah who went further to clarify said the plane in question is for a friend based in Burkinafaso. Weah: “The airplane they are talking about is for my friend, who is the manager of a big company in Burkina Faso. He told me to use it anytime I want to travel because he has seen me use planes owned by Ivory Coast and others. He wants me use a plane that is not labeled to boost my moral too.”
According to the President, buying plane for the country will not be a bad idea, but such plane will be for commercial purposes to take Liberians to and fro the country, stressing “But the first plane will not be private.”
Mr Weah said he is a celebrity who has so many friends that are willing to help him in whatever way they can, adding that when someone decides to help him should not be an issue; as in the case of the private jet.
However, he said there are ongoing talks to make Liberia a hub for the region where it becomes a transit point for people traveling across the continent. He said the government has greater priorities to better the lives of the Liberian people than to commit $30 million (Thirty Million United States Dollars) to purchase a private jet.
The president noted that he and others of his generation will not be blamed for the country’s woes but added that his overwhelming concern is to fix the problems.