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MOF CLARIFIES FPA DEFIANCE STORY

The Ministry of Finance has reacted to the Monday November 8, 2010 lead headline of the FrontPage Africa newspaper titled “Defiant Ones” in which that media entity erroneously reported that the Minister of Finance Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan was engaged in open defiance of a Presidential directive to go on administrative leave. According to the FrontPage Africa, Minister Ngafuan was still using the official vehicle assigned to the Office of the Finance Minister and that he was actively working when, according to the editors of the FrontPage, he has been “dismissed”.

However, according to a release from the Media Services & Public Affairs Unit of the MoF, Minister Ngafuan was given official permission from the President to represent the Government of Liberia on three separate critical government assignments in Europe. Minister Ngafuan is schedule to among other things conclude debt waiver negotiations with the Opec Fund for International Development (OFID) on Liberia’s US $ 25 Million debt obligation to the fund and to sign a tax information exchange agreement with Seven Nordic Countries at the Embassy of Iceland in Paris, France. According to the MoF press release, the travel of Honorable Ngafuan is consistent with the following exemption clause in the press release published on the Executive Mansion website at www.emansion.gov.lr:

“Those Ministers who are traveling and on special assignments will be allowed to complete their missions before being affected by her directive.”

Against this background, it is very questionable on the part of the FrontPage Africa to, in the first place, report that Honorable Ngafuan, among others, was dismissed and that he was in defiance of a presidential mandate.

The issue of using government vehicle by Honorable Ngafuan as reported by the FrontPage Africa is also a total falsehood as the vehicle in question has been parked in the compound of the MoF since Friday, November 5, 2010, the first working day following the President’s pronouncement. Honorable Ngafuan is one official of government who often uses his private vehicle during weekends and to perform official functions when the almost four-year Nissan Patrol Jeep purchased by the erstwhile Bureau of Budget breaks down.

Finally, the fact that Honorable was reported to have been “at work” defies any reasonable logic when he has to make preparations for his official European engagements. It is obviously inconceivable to expect that someone scheduled to travel on a government approved mission should make preparations for said mission at home. Therefore the question of Honorable Ngafuan being in the offices of the Ministry of Finance on the eve of his foreign travels is redundant and selfish.

The MoF Media Services & Public Affairs Unit meanwhile has announced that it is always ready to make clarifications to the FrontPage Africa and other interested persons both in out of the media at all times.


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