Drama Over Failed ADA Rice Project At Capitol

Serious drama occurred recently at the House of Representatives when Unity Party lawmakers rejected to hear a communication from Grand Bassa County Representative Jeh Byron Brown seeking plenary intervention to probe a collapsed US$30 million agreement which was intended to do mechanize rice production in Lofa County.
The African Development Aid (ADA) Project was funded by the late Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Kadhafi with some US$30 million intended to mechanize the production of rice in Foya District, Lofa County.  In his communication to Plenary, Representative Brown said the failure of the ADA project has brought serious shame not only to the government but the people of Liberia and therefore requested a critically probe into the matter.
He said the over US$30 million was alleged misapplied following the death of the sponsor of the project former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, as such urged Plenary to investigate the matter.
He requested his fellow lawmakers to cite the former manager of the Project, Wendell McIntosh so as to provide explanation as to why the project failed.
The Bassa lawmaker who is a strong partisan of Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine’s Liberty Party further informed the body that information available in the public indicate that Vice President Joseph Boakai allegedly played part in the failure of the rice project.
He stated that if the case is investigated, anyone found guilty must be prosecuted.
“As lawmakers, we are under oath to fully protect the laws of Liberia and realizing the fact that we ratified US$30 million contract between the ADA and the government of Liberia. Expensive equipment were brought into the country and they are presently in Lofa County. Looking at the time that the agreement was ratified, we have not received any redress, and you are aware that it form part of our oversight responsibility. So I decided to bring the issue to the Legislature to make sure that the ADA Management is invited to appear before us to provide detail information regarding the status of the contract that was ratified by us. We have heard over time that the office of the Vice President requested for US$30, 000 and also asked for US$10,000 and those are information we need management to appear and give us full detail,” he indicated.
Meanwhile, following the reading of Representative Brown’s communication, Montserrado County Representative Henry Fahnbulleh, a strong stalwart of the ruling Unity Party, filed in a motion, mandating the Houses’ Committee on Agriculture to review the matter and report back to Plenary after a one month period, at which time members of that august will be on their annual legislative break.
The annual legislative break is usually taken in August, thus providing the opportunity for lawmakers to interact with their people directly.
Aside from just submitting the communication to the committee, several pro-Boakai’s lawmakers were heard making strong statement in Plenary, criticizing Representative Brown for bringing to the attention of Plenary such communication.
Several of the Pro- Boakai’s lawmakers were head clearly, pleading with House Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay, who is also a strong supporter of the Vice President, to return the communication to the Bassa lawmaker as though it did not appear on the floor of Plenary.
Among the several Pro-Boakai’s lawmakers, was Representative Tokpa J. Mulbah from Bong County who did not hide his feelings, when he in a rather angry manner blasted Representative Brown on grounds that Brown being a Liberty Party lawmaker, was cleverly using the ADA saga to gain sentiment from Liberians as well as paint the Vie President ugly.
Representative Tokpa said opposition lawmakers were trying to use the ADA failed rice project to present the Vice President as being very evil to the Liberian people as such urged them to desist immediately.
However, despite their threats, Representative Brown maintained that his quest for the House to probe the failed ADA saga was legally done as such pleaded with Plenary to overturn its decision and allow him speak on the matter or reduce the committee reporting period to about one week.
However, members of that body voted to mandate the committee review the document in one month period.
It can be recalled that when the news of the mismanagement of the ADA project came out in 2015, ADA official linked the Vice President of being the ghost behind the project collapse of the project.
However, the office of Vice President sharply reacted terming the allegation as “politically motivated.”
The Director of Press in the office of the Vice President, George Saah, described the allegation as another failed attempt to tarnish the hard earned reputation of the Vice President.
According to Director Saah, opponents of the Vice President have so far failed to prove any corruption allegation against him, and cited the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA) case and other issues and now the ADA’s failure.
Saah clarified that the contract was not signed with VP Boakai but rather the Government of Liberia, adding, “This was a concession agreement and if one fails his own establishment, he should not use someone as a scapegoat, but rather hold himself responsible for the failure.”
He however acknowledged at the time that VP Boakai and the Government had interest in the ADA project because it would have produced the country’s staple and provided employment opportunities for citizens.

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All Liberia Party Standard Bearer Benoni Urey speaking to media executives at his residence in Careysburg.