Liberia: UP Special Investigative Committee Releases Report On Controversial US$365,000 for Inauguration Celebrations

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The Special Investigative Committee set up by the Unity Party to investigate the controversial inaugural celebrations fund has presented its report to the National Chairman Rev. J. Luther Tarpeh.
It can be recalled that on January 18, 2024, the Unity Party Finance office reportedly received an amount of Three Hundred Sixty-Five Thousand United States Dollars from the UP’s Inaugural Budget and Finance Committee.
The money, according to the Party, was given by President Joseph Boakai, Standard Bearer of the Unity Party, to enable the Seventy-Three (73) districts in the county to partake in the inaugural celebration, with a mandate for each district to receive Five Thousand United States Dollars (US$5,000.00).
However, following the Inauguration on January 22, 2024, a major public outcry arose between partisans and officials of the UP over the alleged mismanagement of the fund, prompting Unity Party Chairman Rev. Tarpeh to set up a panel to investigate the allegations.
According to the investigative report, a copy of which is in possession of this entity, all of the county chairs confirmed that they, together with a representative of the county’s leadership, signed for and received US$5,000.00 for each of the districts in their county.
The investigative committee confirmed that each of the county leadership withdrew US$1,000 from the US$5,000 they received for their districts.
“Having realized that there was no fund for mobilization and other related expenses to be disbursed to each district for the celebration, our report found that they engaged and requested the National Chairman to allow them to expend US$1,000 from each district fund for county leadership use. According to them, the Chairman granted them their request with the understanding that they would account for the US$1,000 with all necessary source documents despite clear procedures on the disbursement of the money for some counties,” the report revealed.
The Investigative Committee also established that, contrary to the disbursement procedure, the Party County leadership distributed the fund based on administrative districts instead of electoral districts.
“For instance, Lofa County has 5 electoral districts but 11 administrative districts. So, if Electoral District 1 has 3 administrative districts, each of the administrative districts will receive US$1,333.00.”
Meanwhile, the Special Investigative Committee has recommended that the counties and districts without receipts, invoices, delivery notes, participant lists, and photos be made to produce the required documents or restitute the amount disbursed at the county, electoral district, and administrative district levels.
This recommendation points to the fact that some counties reported none of the documents mentioned above, though the report failed to mention the names of those counties.
The report also recommended that:
The finance committees develop a policy on cash and cash control to be approved by the NEC for party functions.
The leadership organizes workshops to educate county branch offices on handling cash and reporting procedures.
The Unity Party leadership establishes a Welfare and Hospitality Committee to handle similar interventions in the future.
“Mr. Chairman, we expressly extol the leadership of the Unity Party (UP) for its effort to ensure accountability and transparency in the way we do business in our party,” the report concludes.

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