Japanese Funds Misappropriated?…Finger Pointing At Foreign Ministry

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs has clarified the controversy surrounding the misappropriation of the US$731, 412 grants given to the Government of Liberia by the Government of Japan.     Addressing a press conference last Thursday evening at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Elias Shoniyin told reporters that the purpose of his invitation was to provide facts involving officials of the Ministry about some financial improprieties which was circulating in the media recently.

Mr. Shoniyin, who described the financial improprieties as a diabolical attempt to blemish his astute reputation, told journalists that it interests him to know that an official of the Ministry would submit a secret report to Foreign Minister Augustine K. Ngafuan on July 31 for Presidential review.

He noted that the despicable situation has now subjected the conservative solitude for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs into an arena of disrepute.

The Deputy Minister explained that the grants were provided with the kind gesture of the Government of Japan to the Department of International Economic Corporation and Integration of the Ministry.

He said US$731,412 was given on April 22, 2014 for the implementation of a project titled: “Institutional and Human Resource Support for Efficient Operation” (IHRSEO) of the Department of International     Economic Corporation and Integration within the Ministry.

Mr. Shoniyin emphatically said the grant was made available to the Ministry through his own personal initiative and negotiation with the Government of Japan.

He said after being appointed by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and took office as Principal Deputy Foreign Minister, he allegedly wrote the Manager of Afriland First Bank, transferring signatory powers to Thomas Kaydor as signatory to the account, Madam Wede Elliot Brownell, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Augustine Nyanplu, Project Manager as all signatories. Mr. Kaydor, who is believed to have fled the country, served as Project Supervisor.

He stated further that following several months in his new portfolio where he has no direct authority over the project, in late July he was copied on a distro of e-mail exchanges between the Foreign Minister, Augustine K. Ngafuan as well as Mr. Kaydor, where Ngafuan raised concern of events with the project’s account.

The Deputy Minister, who appeared perplexed pointed out that few days later on August 10, a verbatim of the same very report was found in a popular daily under the guise of investigative reporting.

“I believe that this raises question of integrity and professionalism of that official who lacks the audacity to openly assert his values through a press conference as I am now doing,” Mr. Shoniyin said.

He said it is important that the press be aware of the actual sequence of events surrounding the unfortunate saga as it appears that it has now turned into a smear campaign, distortion of facts, and shifting of blame in a blatant and deliberate attempt to damage and besmear his hard earned reputation.

He shifted blame on certain individuals within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their own ulterior motives, who he said, have resorted to misinformation, disinformation and twisted facts to politicize the development, purposely to damage his reputation as a means of backpedaling the many reforms he continues to introduce in offices, since 2006.