Home Politics Boakai Gets Tough … Orders Audit of Inaugural Team

Boakai Gets Tough … Orders Audit of Inaugural Team

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By: H. Richard Fallah

MONROVIA: With barely three (3) days after the inauguration ceremony of Liberia`s 26th President, Joseph Nyuma Boakai, the Independent Newspaper has reliably been informed that the Internal Audit Agency of Liberia (IAA) has been authorized by President Joseph Nyuma Boakai to audit the Inauguration Committee, headed by Madame Miatta Fahnbulleh.

According to our source who is a member of President Boakai’s ‘kitchen cabinet,’ the decision to audit the team came from President Boakai after several ‘missteps’ were carried out during the ceremony.

The source informed this paper that the IAA will commence the audit very shortly and present the report to the Office of the Liberian leader in the coming days or weeks.

Validating the Independent Newspaper information gathered, the Internal Audit Agency (IAA), on Wednesday, January 24, 2024, announced the commissioning of a special audit of the 2024 inaugural activities managed by the Joint Presidential Transitional Team (JPTT).

Making the disclosure about the audit at a press conference on Wednesday in Monrovia, the Director General of the IAA, David Kemah, indicated that the special audit of the inaugural activities is consistent with the mandate of the IAA to conduct special reviews of government- and donor-funded activities.
According to Kemah, the special audit is a routine assurance activity carried out across ministries, agencies and commissions (MACs) of the Government of Liberia (GOL), with the goal of strengthening transparency and accountability of public resources.
The IAA’s boss further intimated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already been written to make available relevant source documents to enable the review of the financial and operational activities of the transition.
Kemah recounted that President Joseph Nyumah Boakai strongly heralded transparency and accountability when he sought election to the nation’s highest seat; therefore, the special audit of the inauguration activities will clearly demonstrate the new government’s commitment to accountability in public governance.
The information of an audit on the activities surrounding the recent inauguration held at the Capitol Building comes just few days after the country experienced one of its embarrassing moments relating to an alleged poor inauguration planning.
Our reporter who covered the event observed the visibly poor organization carried out during the ceremony by state protocol officials and planners of such a historic event.
The poor seating arrangement for both local and international guests or invitees, poor sound system, embarrassing and disorganize atmosphere and the influx of people on the grounds of the Capitol with no cogent measure or restrictions, are all shortcomings that have led to widespread public criticisms against the committee.
Furthermore, due to the weak arrangement and lack of coordination or organization, several international guests, Heads of state and Government who were invited to grace the occasion including presidential candidates or political leaders were never announced or recognized until the entire program ended abruptly.

There were no water served or seen on the stage for guests or even for both President Boakai and former President George Manneh Weah, neither was there any open standing air conditioner or fan installed to reduce the heat temperature which had reached more than 30C in swelteringly humid conditions.

The worst amongst the many above named shortcomings was the incompletion of the President`s inaugural address due to what is known as “heat exhaustion” according to the office of the President.
The Liberian leader could not reach the end of his inauguration speech and had to be helped away from the podium during his swearing-in ceremony on Monday all because of the unfavorable atmosphere.

President Boakai had spoken for close to 45 minutes when it became clear that he was having difficulty to continue reading the inaugural speech.

Though his office has clarified that he had suffered heat exhaustion but had now resumed his normal activities, many citizens and event analysts continue to question the ability of committee members, headed by Madame Miatta Fahnbulleh, and state protocol officials from the Ministry of Stats for Presidential Affairs.

These Liberians and or political pundits are alleging or suggesting that the amount given the inaugural committee by the former government of President George Manneh Weah may not have been used appropriately.
In January, 2024, the budget for the inauguration of the President-elect and Vice President-elect then, was approved in the sum of US$650,000, an amount is US$250K less than the budget for former President Weah’s 2018 inauguration
According to Atty. Samuel Kofi Woods, Chair of the Joint Presidential Transition Team, and now national security advisor to the President, the budget was given the green light by President Weah but with no specific breakdown of the budget was provided during his pronouncement.

“We want to inform the public that the budget of the committee has been approved by President Weah, the process is fully accelerated, and the full cooperation of the current government is in place,” Woods said, then.
The now national security advisor promised Liberians that the approved funds would have been utilized for various crucial aspects of the inauguration, such as security arrangements, venue preparations, transportation logistics, and other necessary expenses, but the today results of what was promised, seem contrary as the program later became a disaster ,thus leaving the country with a national shame and embarrassment.
However, the 2024 approved inaugural budget signified the incoming government’s commitment to a modest inauguration as stressed by President-elect Boakai in December.
Boakai, in a communication sent to the outgoing Weah administration, through the Joint Presidential Transition Team (JPTT), expressed his desire to organize a modest inaugural ceremony on January 22, 2024, a wish that did not materialize.
President-elect Boakai at the time, emphasized that he will support and encourage a very modest inauguration program, one that will reflect simplicity, his aspiration for the Liberian people and his commitment to ensuring that everyone will think Liberia, love Liberia, build Liberia.
With the earlier request or statement from President Boakai and the amount approved by former President Weah, many are left with the unanswered question if the amount given to the inaugural committee was small to deliver a very modest and organized inaugural ceremony as requested by President Boakai, or it was lack of competence while others may suggest that there may have been some alleged financial missteps or spending.
However, the public will now be shifting its attention towards the Internal Audit Agency (IAA) for all of the answers surrounding the just-ended January 22, 2024, inauguration ceremony which has now become a public concern and discussion.

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