MONROVIA-Outgoing United States Ambassador, Michael A. McCarthy has clarified he used the wrong figure in his press release after his last trip to the Southeast saying that Liberian lawmakers spent over US$90 million instead of US$65 million on itself in Fiscal Year 2022.
Addressing his final news conference yesterday in Monrovia, Ambassador McCarthy disclosed that, “I discovered that I used the wrong figure in my press release after my last trip to the Southeast. I wrote that Parliament had spent $65 million on itself in Fiscal Year 2022. That was the wrong figure. “
The outgoing US Ambassador noted, “From the unaudited Statement of Consolidated Fund Account of the Calendar Year 2022, released by the Ministry of Finance and Development, we can now see that the correct figure was US$90.8 million for Parliament in FY22, out of a total budget of US$811.6 million or 11 percent of the total budget.”
On other issues, Ambassador McCarthy said, “Next, I would like to address the false reports that the U.S. Embassy was “asked” about nominating sanctioned individuals for office and that the Embassy replied that this was “all right.” The Embassy is not okay with it, and we find it disappointing that political parties are nonchalant about the Global Magnitsky sanctions. The U.S. Department of the Treasury spends many hours and other significant resources to research and approve sanctions on individuals. Though the Embassy is separate from the Treasury Department, we fully trust and respect the validity of these designations.”
Ambassador McCarthy said the fact is that no Liberian Government entity has even formally taken up our accusations to initiate an investigation to determine the veracity of USG allegations adding, “This is extremely disappointing and discouraging. That said, if the voters of Liberia wish to elevate to public office individuals who have been sanctioned, that is their prerogative.”
The United States outgoing Ambassador noted, “At this time, I would like to say that I hope you all and the Liberian public recognize my genuine care for the country and country people, even if the delivery of these messages may have been course at times. My motivation has always been “What is best for Liberia?” Not to say that I know better but that some Liberian actors know better than to do what they are doing. They know better.”
He disclosed that the Liberians who work for him at the residence and at the Embassy continue to be unhappy. “They are now paying income tax, but they don’t see where the money is going,” the US Ambassador added.
“This brings me to something we’ve discussed before; your role in following the money. Never hesitate to ask what is happening with taxpayer funds, that is your money! It doesn’t belong to the LRA, it doesn’t belong to the Ministry of Finance and Development, it doesn’t belong to the Administration, and it doesn’t belong to Parliament. It belongs to the people, Ambassador McCarthy pointed out.
He said just as Senators and Congressmen should be serving the people when they appropriate revenue, the citizens represent the people when they probe and research how taxpayer funds are spent saying, “Don’t forget that; you have a right to know and a duty to ask questions.”