President George Weah has been in office for nearly 1,970 days but the remaining 200 days for his first term to hit end mark is amazingly intriguing. Suspicions, jittery, disloyalty becloud the cabinet and the President’s inner circle.
Some allies are becoming apprehensive, while the cabinet split along various lines: the diehard loyalists who are upbeat about the President retaining the presidency; the ‘Thomases’ who doubt his chances at the polls in October and worried about their future and allies with commercial interest who are pressing against time to cut deals that will leave them financially potent beyond Weah’s reign.
The probability is high some cabinet members will be jumping ship in the coming months. Ruling Coalition for Democratic Change Secretary General Jefferson Koijee lifted the vail on the internal crisis when he called out some cabinet ministers over what he considered double standard role against the interest of the government they served and the CDC.
“Everybody working in CDC government but working against CDC. It’s a remixed,” one distanced observers said.
“The same way Eugene Nagbe,Sam Wlue, Sirleaf [ellen Johnson] left UP and Darius Dillon, Ben Sanvee, Isreal abandoned Charles Brumskine for CDC. This creates the impression that Joe Boakai has positioned himself as the eventual winner, so everyone is jumping on him.”
Emmanuel Shaw a presidential adviser to Weah is leading the list of people around the President with commercial interest. He has fallen out of grace and is struggling for footing in the Mansion. The Oracle News Daily understands Shaw is pitting a company he command a stake against ArcelorMittal’s Liberia investment.
He serves on the special presidential committing to resolve the issues stalling the renegotiation of the mining agreement between the Liberia and ArcelorMittal.
As revealed by Africa Intelligence, the report contents are a heavy blow for the global steel giant’s Liberian subsidiary. The document highlights AML’s failure to increase production at the Yekepa iron ore mine, which is stagnating at less than 5 million tons of ore per year.
AML is also accused of not having fulfilled its contractual obligation to build two iron ore processing units. While work has started on the Yekepa site, no construction has begun on the planned plant at the port of Buchanan. AML is also suspected of having violated the Investment Incentive Code’s debt ratio, incurring the Liberian state a loss of several million dollars in revenue.
The committee furthermore recommended against ratifying the Mining Development Agreement’s (MDA) 3rd Amendment, which the government signed in September 2021.
Why Shaw is frustrated in the Mansion? Apparently his controversial character including his large thirst for weath either by legal or illegal means may have flashed in the President’s face.
Shaw is on record for suing Liberia in the 1990s while there was no government and sought millions in reward for alleged indebtedness to his firm the Liberia National Petroleum Company he created while serving as Finance Minister.
He claimed in a London Court Liberia owed him $27 million for oil importing services that LNPC provided.
Liberia was ordered to pay $8.4 million on the basis of the claims on default. To enforce the judgment, the court, as security, ordered the Liberian presidential aircraft grounded in London, where it had taken Doe’s family into exile.
In a separate lawsuit filed in New York, Shaw demanded $19m. According to the 1991 Court document, lawyers representing Liberia revealed that the LNPC was founded by Shaw while he was finance minister and owned 60% stake.
Acting in both capacities, he “negotiated and signed the two guarantee agreements” that LNPC’s lawsuit relied on for its $20 million claim against Liberia. Shaw’s lawsuit was eventually trashed but that has not prevented him from serving the presidency.
Writes Festus Poquie