By Bill W. Cooper
The plenary of the House of Representatives has mandated its specialized committee headed by Grand Gedeh County District 2 Representative, George S. Boley to investigate circumstances surrounding the delay in the renovation process of the Executive Mansion.
The House took the decision during its Thursday, May 13, 31st day sitting, mandating the committee to report to full plenary on tomorrow, Tuesday, May 18, for further and appropriate actions.
The plenary decision was triggered by a communication from Lofa County District 3 Representative, Clarence Massaquoi, urging his colleagues to invite the ministers and contractor(s) to give full briefing on the status of the renovation of the mansion.
Explaining his communication in open plenary, Rep. Massaquoi stressed that it is interesting to note that funds are usually allocated towards renovation of the Mansion in every National Budgets, from 2007/2018 to present but is yet to be completed.
He explained that the mansion was built as the official office of the Liberian Presidency to enable him/her smoothly do the job being elected for, indicating that the slow renovation process of the mansion is a complete embarrassment to the presidency and the country at large.
According to him, since the mansion was last gutted by fire during the regime of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, over US$40 plus millions in taxpayers’ money have been allocated for the renovation of the building without any results, emphasizing that it is a ‘shame and disgrace’ to witness the President of Africa’s oldest independent country working from his Foreign Affairs Ministry and not his official home.
He added, “Hon. Speaker and colleagues, I think it is time that we as lawmakers begin to use our oversight responsibility to allow the Finance and Public Works Ministers as well as the contractor(s) to come and inform us about the status of the mansion because we cannot keep wasting taxpayers’ money on one project without completion.”
Rep. Massaquoi further stated, “I want to believe that some individuals are now using that mansion to get rich over night while our people suffer. It is of more urgency now that we know the status of that building before we can allot anymore taxpayer’s money for the completion.”
The Lofa County lawmaker averred, “I think it’s time that we get to know when this mansion will be available or ready for the President to move in because to see the President working from another Ministry is unacceptable and moreover; his life is even under serious danger because that building is a public space of which individuals with different mindset go on a daily basis.”
“Hon. Speaker and colleagues, in view of the above, I kindly crave your indulgence to invite before this plenary the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, the Ministry of Public Works and the Contractor(s) to give full briefing on the status of the renovation of the Executive Mansion,” he alluded.
It can be recalled, during the celebration of Liberia’s Independence Day in 2006, the Executive Mansion was gutted by fire thereby prompting former President Johnson Sirleaf to make a promise to rebuild it within a short period but up-to-date, the Mansion is yet to be completed despite the huge allocation of tax payers’ money in the national budget for said project.
House Probes Executive Mansion Renovation
By Bill W. Cooper