Less than 48 hours after a FrontPageAfrica investigative report uncovered yet another wasteful spending on the part of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) in the tone of US $1.1 Million dollars, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has with immediate effect ordered a freeze on the accounts of the LTA, and suspended the US$1 million lease agreement between LTA and a Chinese company, Qinjian International, for a building it intends to secure as an office.
The President through an Executive Mansion release Tuesday afternoon also ordered a full investigation into all standing contracts between the Ministry of Public Works and construction companies in the country.
The President Sirleaf has directed all current and former officials of the Ministry of Public Works to cooperate fully with the investigation.
The President took the decision following a meeting last evening with Public Works officials. The Liberian leader took the decision to ensure that Government gets the full value for money spent.
Public Works Weeks Survives, Deputy Fired
Meanwhile, President Sirleaf has accepted, with immediate effect, the resignation of Deputy Public Works Minister for Technical Services, Mr. Victor Smith., and has directed him to remain in country and cooperate fully with the investigation.
Smith was involved in a heated exchange with Minister Antoinette Weeks last week resulting into what eyewitnesses say a rain of insults, prompting Smith to leave the ministry.
The fight between the pair comes in the wake of mounting tension pitting the minister at odds with her principal deputies, prompting allegations that Weeks has been micromanaging the ministry with very little input from senior staff toward agenda items/issues
Some of Weeks’ peers say she is oppressive and domination of meetings; intolerant, does not allow for competing views and opinions and lacks a clear plan-of-action for the Ministry. Some employees point to Weeks’ poor working relationship as a key reason for the problems which hit boiling point. “Their argument was intense with each cursing each the other ma and pa (mother and father invectives) and in the end, Deputy Minister Smith told the Minister to (bleep) her job and drove out of the ministry’s compound.
Minister Antoinette Weeks has also been taken to task over her callous use language; profusely abusive, insulting and accusative toward others and engaging in physical interaction with some personnel while being condescending to and disdainful of the senior staff.
LTA Saga Boils Over
FrontPageAfrica reported Monday that LTA Chair Angelique Weeks, had entered into an advanced negotiations with a Chinese company, Qingfian International (Lib) Group Development Co. Ltd. (CNQC) to rent its apartment building to house the LTA. The building is located on the Congotown back road near the Baptist Church.
Ironically, prior to the signing of the lease agreement, the National Investment Commission turned down an asking price of US$450, 000 per annum for the same building, causing many to wonder why the LTA settle for such a ridiculous offer.
The LTA, whose lease with the Methodist Church, the landlord for one of its offices in Sinkor expired last Sunday, had already moved into the controversial new building despite objections from the Ministry of Justice and the Public Procurement Concessions Commission.