Sen. Chea Defends Tweah

Sinoe County Senator, Cllr Augustine S. Chea has sharply reacted to recent allegations against Finance, Development Planning Minister, Samuel D. Tweah by Gbapolu County Senator-elect, Amara Konneh over the HPX US$37 million payment.

In sharp reaction to the allegations against Minister Tweah, Senator Chea quotes Senator-elect Konneh that, “While the negotiations are still ongoing among the parties…the government through Mr. Tweah, has been taint money from HPX in contravention of Liberian laws.”

Senator Chea noted, “Mr. Konneh premised his argument on the violations of both Section 88.1 of the PPCC Law and Section 5.2 (e) of the PFM Law. Suffice it to say that these are laws of the land, but he provided no information as to why the payments were made in the first place, which clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of the matter and the transaction.

“His write up seems to also imply and impute that the payment by HPX of the US$37 million to the Government of Liberia was done under dubious circumstances to the benefit of Minister Tweah- an act of public corruption-and that’s why Minister Tweah is sanctioned. A very serious ‘allegation’ that is!”

He argued, “But acknowledging for the sake of the argument without admitting the veracity of the ‘allegation,’ this should lend HPX in serious trouble with U. S. laws. Isn’t it? And here’s my logic: The ‘dubious’ money was paid by HPX, an American mining company. They offered or accepted to pay the money. Therefore, they participated in the ‘dubious’ transaction, and are even more culpable than the government and Minister Tweah. And in so doing, HPX has violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).”

He added that the law prohibits and criminalizes payments, gifts, or an offer of anything of value to a foreign official for the purpose of influencing the official or otherwise for the purpose of any improper advantage in obtaining, retaining, or directing business. “It’s the same law that Hunter Biden is said to have violated, and is under investigation or facing federal indictment,” Sen. Cllr. Chea further argued.

“So, why is HPX not under investigation by the U. S. Justice Department or indicted by a federal court? Or is Mr. Konnehalso implying that the U. S. is shielding its own? Or has Liberia become the incubator for OFAC sanctions or a travel ban reservoir? Of course, I blame this on our failure as a Government to take a strong position on the waves of non-evidentiary sanctions imposed by the U. S. on our officials,” he pointed out.

The lawmaker furthered, “We could also impose reciprocal sanctions on U. S. officials as a tit for tat, however symbolic! Why not? After all, we’re a sovereign country, and our sovereignty must be respected, no matter what! Ambassador McCarthy was here and behaving like the Governor-General of Liberia, but was never challenged from officialdom. What a country! We’re only good at voting against China to please America.”

The Sinoe County lawmaker added, “But I advise my incoming colleague, Senator-elect Konneh, to speak with the people familiar with this transaction, both from the HPX and the government, and ask the probing questions to garner a better understanding. Don’t forget, U. S. officials here “monitor the social media” and collect most of their sanction information from there; if I may quote the Charge’ d’ affaires at the U. S. Embassy near Monrovia.”

“There’s no debate that Minister Tweah is not an amateur economist; he’s also a person of high integrity. He has proven to us Liberians and our international development partners that he’s an expert. And I throw a challenge to anyone-whether in the international system or at home to deny that,” Senator Chea concluded.

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