-Philibert Browne Digs Deep
By Esau J. Farr
A renowned Liberian journalist says the Legislature of this country does not do work without receiving a bribe.
Philibert Browne, owner and Publisher of the Hot Pepper Newspaper made the allegation Wednesday, November 14, 2018 when he appeared as a guest on a local radio station, OK FM 99.5 Mhz.
“This is a norm in the society (Liberia); the Legislature does not do anything without a bribe,” Browne told OK FM.
The statements were in response to providing additional new information to the public, the veteran Liberian journalist said he has received regarding the reported missing billions Liberian currency.
Browne further said information released to him has it that the 53rd Legislature actually approved the printing of additional LRD10billion Liberian Dollars contrary to assertions made by the Legislature that she was not in the know of the printing of additional LRD10.5billion Liberian Dollars and former Central Bank of Liberia Governor, Milton Weeks who is on record for saying that he was not given the go-ahead to print additional banknotes.
According to him, several million Liberian dollars were shared amongst members of the 53rd Legislature on the campus of the T-Five Academy owned and operated by Representative Thomas P. Fallah of Montserrado County District number five located in Paynesville City.
“The least members of the 53rd Legislature received LRD250, 000 and others like those on Standing Committees and Executive Members received ‘one point something’ million Liberian Dollars. At that time the rate was 80,” Browne revealed.
When quizzed as to how much dollars was shared amongst the lawmakers, he declined to state the overall total saying, “perhaps they (lawmakers) did not know the actual amount in question at the time”.
Browne was the first journalist that broke the news of a missing LRD9billion Liberia currency which sparked out debate and contradictory statements amongst top members of President George M. Weah cabinet with some saying money got missing while others said no money got missing.
A day after Browne broke the news of a reported missing billion Liberian currency, Liberia’s Information Minister, Len Eugene Nagbe told the Voice of America that in fact the missing money was about LRD16billion instead of LRD9billion.
Few days later, Finance Minister, Samuel Tweah denied any missing billions, but said a committee was set up by the President to probe the matter to publish the report to the public.
Currently, international and independent body is doing a forensic investigation with the USA taking the lead.