Charles Bennie Asked To Prove Allegations About US$7m
...As MOF Denies His Claims
Posted June 22, 2004
The Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL), Charles Gyude Bryant, has appointed a committee chaired by Vice Chairman Wesley Johnson, to speedily inquire from the Commissioner of Customs, Charles Bennie, the basis of claims and allegations attributed to him by the Chronicle and Diary Newspapers.
Given the gravity of the allegations, the committee has 24 hours to submit its findings.
Mr. Bennie will be required to present all facts to substantiate his statements, including his assertion that government collects US$7 million in revenue and other taxes on a monthly basis.
Regarding the accusation that he using public funds to support a particular presidential candidate, Chairman Bryant says at no time has he made his preference of any candidate vying for public office in the ensuing elections known, but would exercise his franchise at the ballot box, as all other Liberians, at the appropriate time. His focus at the present time, he continued, is on pressing state matters such as disarmament, rehabilitation, reintegration, repatriation and resettlement, as well as the provision of basic amenities to the Liberian people.
In a related development, the Finance Ministry has clarified that it does not collect US7million monthly in revenue as grossly insinuated by the Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Charles Bennie in the Monday editions of the Chronicle and Informer Newspapers.
The Finance Ministry’s release yesterday said, it finds it difficult to comprehend that a transitional government emerging from the throes of 14 years of civil conflict with current five month cash budget of US$23,500,000 cannot finance rehabilitation of Capital Intensive Projects like the Hydro Electricity and Pipe-Borne Water and at the same time service current salaries for public service employees.
The Ministry is challenging Mr. Bennie to produce any substantiate documentary evidence indicating government use of public funds to support a presidential candidate to put to rest the woeful circles of rumor mills and erroneous speculations by some undesirable public speakers.
“The Ministry therefore, disassociates itself from such unwholesome speculations and comments that have the propensity to engender undue public dissension and mistrust about the deplorable situation of Liberia that can be rightly traced to years of civil unrest in the country and not the NTGL”, the MOF release concluded.