Weah defends loans

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President George Manneh Weah has been heaping praises on God upon his arrival here Thursday saying things are working out pretty well for his young administration, particularly expressing satisfaction that two loans worth nearly a billion US dollars are almost at their final stages of being rectified by the Legislature to develop roads here.

“I’m satisfied (that) I’m back home, but again the news that is on ground that our project that we are hoping for to develop our country is almost at the final stage,” Mr. Weah said Thursday, 7 June at the Roberts International Airport in Margibi County.

Those loans concern the much disputed Eton US$536m agreement with Liberia, and another US$426m loan from President Weah’s Burkinabe business friend Mahamadou Bonkoungou’s engineering company EBOMAF, all of which have stirred debates here.

Interviewed Thursday by journalists upon his arrival here from Europe where he participated in the European Development Days (EDD) Summit, Mr. Weah promised to continue to work in the interest of the people.

At the Summit, Mr. Weah says his Finance Minister Samuel Tweah signed a 27 million Euro agreement, and as president he had every reason to tell his counterparts that he’s going to make sure that the money will be used in the interest of the people and the projects earmarked, but not for pocketing.

He says he wants to account for what he will do here, thus reassuring partners that are giving his government money to help the country that their money will be monitored.

He says if the Europeans like they can monitor what they give his government because a lot of financial assistance came here in the billions prior to his regime, but what those funds did for the country cannot be seen.

“If you want you can monitor us because there [were] lot of financial assistance [that] came here into the country. They’re talking about billions,” he says, noting that “we don’t see” infrastructures for the billions that came into the country.

According to President Weah, people complained that it is due to corruption, recalling part of his inaugural message in which he promised that he would be tough on corruption.

“So all of the funds that are coming in, they’re going to pass through the financial system, they will be monitored,” he adds. President Weah notes that projects that will be done for the Liberian people will be agreed upon so that the country can move on.

To fulfill his campaign promise, he says he will build roads that will enable him to travel to Sass Town and return to Montserrado County.Concerning his trip to Europe, Mr. Weah says his government had a team in Belgium to promote women’s rights and participation.

In Brussels, he says, he assured that if Liberia’s laws are not working for the women, they will have to be amended to enable women’s full participation.According to him, government wants to strengthen the relationship that has already existed between Liberia and other countries out there.

He says they had series of meetings, talking about how Liberia can be helped through the European Union and the meetings were very successful.President Weah referenced a meeting in which Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah signed on behalf of Liberia a 27 million Euro agreement, saying it’s a good thing and Liberia will continue to engage others.

President Weah says he had a very good talk at a meeting with King Philippe in Belgium on Thursday, noting that the King wants to invest in Liberia and build relationship.

By Winston W. Parley

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