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UP Questions LACE US$10M Budgetary Increment
…Wants Full Accountability Of Public Funds

The former ruling party, the Unity Party (UP), has alarmed over the amount allocated to the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE) in the draft budget for fiscal year 2022.
Recently, Finance Minister Samuel Tweah submitted a draft national budget in the tune of US$785,587 to the Legislature for ratification but the UP in its release issued over the weekend stressed that the CDC Government has allocated more than US$12,186,000 to LACE which is an increase of over 859% when in 2020/21, the budget was US$1.27 million.
“A deep dive in the LACE budget shows that this huge increase is explained by an allocation of a whopping US$10 million for projects promised by President George Weah during his county tour,” the UP stated.
The allocation, according to the UP is vague and leaves significant room for corruption and diversion of funds by the President George Weah administration as the budget line is not only suspicious and troublesome.
The UP further alleged that the LACE budgetary allocation raises eyebrows among which is that the entity is being run with little or no oversight and has therefore become an attractive channel for high-level graft and abuse.
“It is not difficult to deduce that the ulterior motive behind the huge allocation is to foster President George Weah’s partisan political agenda and cater to his insatiable craving for self-glorification.
“It borders on callous insensitivity for the Weah-led government to allocate such huge amount to the “Weah’s County Tour” and it is even more unacceptable when compared to the US$150,000 allocated to all cities across Liberia for 2022, as well as the reduction of the allocation for the University of Liberia from US$18.325 million in FY 2020/21 to US$18 million in 2022,” the UP emphasized.
The former ruling party pointed out that the allocation for Weah’s County Tour also comes against the backdrop of a drastic reduction in the budget of the Liberia Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) from an FY 2020/21 of US$1.296 million to US$490,849 for 2022, and a very negligible increase in the budget to the overall education and health systems.
UP intoned, “the asymmetrical allocations prove that the Weah-led government has very little interest in practicalizing the concepts of decentralized development where counties and sub-structures of the state are empowered to carry out development.”
“The CDC government is, unfortunately, gravitating the country toward a situation where what county and district stakeholders and their legislators want for their respective counties and districts do not matter much, but what matters is what the praise-craving President wants for a particular county or district,” the UP release alleged.
“The administration of President Weah complains about the lack of money to fund development priorities advocated by other branches and substructures of government, but can easily find an abundance of resources for activities and projects that can be credited to “the Weah project,” the release added.
“Finally, considering the very loose accountability and governance systems at LACE, the Unity Party calls on the General Auditing Commission (GAC) to conduct audits of all projects undertaken by LACE to ensure full accountability of public funds. In this regard, the Unity Party assures the Liberian people and friends of Liberia that the audit of LACE will be among the top priorities of the future Liberian government,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, the former ruling Unity Party at the same time strongly called on the Legislature to reallocate the bulk of the US$10 million allocated for President Weah’s County tour in 2022 to help fund the critically needed increase in the County Development Fund for the 15 counties and the allocation for cities across the country.
According to them, those funds when reallocated could also help address the funding gaps at the University of Liberia and other critical institutions of government including the Judiciary where judges have been left with no option but to the take the government to court for slicing their salaries and allowances in breach of Article 72 (A) of the Liberian Constitution.

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