Conflicting statements are flaring regarding the charter
of a Learjet for US$100,000 by Ms. Angelique Weeks, chair of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority, to fly her ailing mother to London for medical treatment.
Mr. Benoni Urey, the controversial head of Liberia’s Maritime program during the Charles Taylor years and one of the leading shareholders in Lonestar cell that until recently enjoyed a monopoly in the business, has admitted contributing to the charter with US2000. He said he made the contribution as a member of the family, revealing a conflict of interest since Ms. Weeks heads a regulatory body that oversees the activities of cell phone companies.
Ms. Weeks first contended that other members of her family, all reportedly well-placed in financial circles, contributed to the charter flight and this is indicated by Mr. Urey’s admission.
Now, Rep. Edwin Snowe says he had documents revealing the cell phone company that actually paid the bulk of the money, all this after allegations, denied, the Lonestar had dished out the money, at least most of it, for the flight.
In an interview with Rep. George Mulbah (Bong County), chair of the House’s Defense Committee and member of the committee on the LTA, he revealed that the phone regulatory body has not operated within an approved budget during the past five months.
He told this paper that since the inception of President Sirleaf’s second term the LTA has not operated using an approved budget, but rather used a budget decided by its members through a resolution.
“Now, our question is that in the wake of this, people’s private expenditure has become very lavish? I think that’s a lavish expenditure, including huge allowances for commissioners,” he stressed.
Rep. Mulbah said though Ms. Weeks is obliged to run the LTA through an approved budget instead of a resolution.
He said Ms. Weeks will have to appear before the House to answer some key questions, and that if her role is established as the prime financier of the chartered flight, a resolution will be passed to have her dismissed.