Dear Speaker Nuquay:
It is with unrestrained patriotism after 170 years of our nation’s independence, I am compelled to send my second communication to your office since your ascendancy as Speaker. Though our nation is yet to make genuine progress parallel to its age (170 years), but we can begin to chart a new course henceforth. Liberia and Liberians deserve far better after 170 years of trekking on a journey to nowhere.
The fact after all these years is that the promises of our independence are yet too far from fruition. While Ghana, a nation born in 1957 is launching Satellite in space, we are still discussing access to safe drinking water. While Rwanda is now manufacturing first-class laptops, we are still discussing access to electricity even in Monrovia. How come we are the fourth poorest country after 170 years? It is time to find concrete answers to these prevailing dilemmas as a nation and a people.
The need to evolve a patriotic, systematic and pragmatic chain of change through Liberianization cannot be overemphasized. There is a national urgency to guarantee a pro-Liberian and pro-Poor agenda through legislative enactments and/or decisions. Based upon this rational background of forward-thinking and common sense of solidarity, my case is enveloped herein to you and your colleagues.
Hon. Speaker, there is an ongoing debate about pro-Liberians and pro-Foreigners. I don’t know which side of this debate are you, but I am on the side of pro-Liberians. Though we may not agree on every issue, but one issue we may always agree on regardless of our divergence in thoughts is that Liberia belongs to Liberians. Yes, this is an undeniable reality that is even unequivocally inscribed in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. If this is true, then the government especially the National Legislature must endeavor at all times to protect the heritage of our nation and the interest of its people.
Hon. Speaker, about 2 months ago, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf forwarded a US$59.5 million Pre-Financing Loan Agreement to your office seeking legislative endorsement for a bogus Chinese-owned company (East International Group) to pave 30 roads even though her government has only 5 months to democratically turn power over. Beyond this end, I am particularly concerned about how some unpatriotic and cash-infused Senators grossly violated our Constitution by passing this bad deal instead of concurring.
According to the 1986 Constitution of Liberia Chapter V Article 34 D(i):
“All revenue bills, whether subsidies, charges, imports, duties or taxes and other financial bills shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills…..”
This Law has always been succinct. Unfortunately, the Senate under the self-seeking leadership of Pro Tempore Armah Z. Jallah through a disingenuous scheme went ahead and passed such agreement, which contravenes our Constitution. I thought to bring this matter to the attention of you and other members of the House of Representatives. At the same time, I am calling on the House of Senate to recall or reverse such decision because it contradicts constitutional procedures and common logic.
It is also important to remind you about your foremost obligation and loyalty to Liberia and Liberians only. Again, we want to call on the House of Representatives to immediately reject this bogus US$59.5 million Pre-Financing Loan Agreement. Hon. Speaker, you must never even think about putting such matter in the House’s agenda or on the floor for discussion because it is against the interest of our nation. In all of these especially with just 2 months to Liberia’s historic democratic transition, the masses of our people are watching and they would reward every presidential, vice presidential and legislative candidates at the polls.
It is good to remind members of the House of Representatives that those who will vote on October 10, 2017 are Liberians, and not Chinese. The fate of those who continue to compromise our people’s interest will be decided by angry Liberian voters through the ballots. The 72 Representatives you currently preside over owe it to our nation and people and this allegiance must be demonstrated through the decisions you make. At all times, patriotism must lead your thoughts and deeds. The Legislature must do everything possible to always guarantee Liberia’s ultimate interest.
Having carefully read and meticulously analyzed this 15-page Pre-Financing Loan Agreement since it was first submitted by Madam President for enactment, these are my cogent conclusions:
1. This US$59.5 million Pre-Financing Loan Agreement is a BAD DEAL due to its selective and skeptical nature. Whose interest is East International Group – a company without any proven international record in construction and engineering?
2. It unravels high risk of losses for Liberia and puts East International Group in a gainful and profiteering parameter. Why wasn’t there any competitive bidding process, which contravenes Part V Section 46 of our PPCC Law?
3. It discourages local dominance of our economy and promotes foreign control, which has a downward impact on growth and development. Additionally, this deal is an unpatriotic attempt to sideline Liberian-owned companies and render them vulnerably inactive and worthless.
4. This deal disfigures the true essence of the Liberianization Policy and contradicts Section 45.1 of our PPCC Law, which even highlights Margin of Preference:
“A Procuring Entity may grant a Margin of Preference to Domestic Businesses, or Liberian Businesses, or Solely-Liberian Owned Businesses, as defined under this Act, in accordance with regulations adopted by the Commissioners.”
5. This deal, which indicates that East International Group Incorporated has exclusive authority to subcontract Liberian-owned companies and engineers at will, gives this foreign company unparalleled leverage and monopoly to control this sector. How can you award a contract of 30 roads to East International Group alone? This means that Liberian contractors and companies will turn into mere beggars to East International Group before getting contracts. Furthermore, are our engineers and companies only good enough to be subcontracted?
May God bless our nation and its people as I remain optimistic of THE BEST DECISION in our interest.
Martin K. N. Kollie
Youth & Student Activist
Cc: President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
Vice President Joseph Boakai
Senate Pro Temp Armah Z. Jallah
Chief Justice Francis Korkpor
Liberia Council of Churches
National Muslim Council of Liberia
National Traditional Council
All Political Parties