NaFAA Refutes Corruption Allegation

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The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) has firmly refuted what it termed as baseless allegations circulating on social media and in some print media concerning the misapplication of US$865,000 from the World Bank-funded Liberia Sustainable Management of Fisheries Project (LSMFP). NaFAA said these ‘unfounded’ claims threaten to undermine the integrity of Liberia’s fisheries sector and the diligent work being done to ensure its sustainable management. Madam Emma Metieh Glassco, on behalf of NaFAA, clarified that every disbursement from the LSMFP has been meticulously reviewed and approved by the World Bank. “There was no disbursement done without the explicit ‘no objection’ from the World Bank,” stated Madam Glassco. She noted that each transaction has been executed through the Ministry of Finance with the World Bank project office’s oversight, ensuring transparency and accountability. “We possess comprehensive documentation to substantiate these processes, these will be made available to the public and the media,” she said. Specifically addressing the allegation regarding the US$3 million initially allocated for constructing the NaFAA Headquarters, Madam Glassco explained that US$831,000 was spent on essential project items, including six vehicles, two motorbikes, public awareness billboards, and electric generators. The NaFAA head further clarified that “This expenditure was necessary for the effective implementation of the project and was sanctioned by the World Bank”. She described as false and without merit, the accusation that the purchased vehicles were used for political campaigns. Madam Glassco also highlighted that certain individuals, both current and former employees, are perpetuating these falsehoods to tarnish her reputation and seek her removal from office. “This orchestrated misinformation campaign is a direct attack on the progress and transparency NaFAA has maintained under my leadership,” she indicated. Moreover, she said the LSMFP’s implementation involves multiple layers of oversight and approval, disclosing that the World Bank, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, through the Project Financial Management Unit (PFMU), and NaFAA’s Project Implementation Unit (PIU) manage the project collaboratively. Madam Glassco pointed out that the annual work plan is approved by the Project Steering Committee and subject to World Bank review and approval, which she says guides all activities. The Liberian Fisheries Expert furthered that no payments are processed without the World Bank’s clearance, and the Director General has no direct involvement in fund disbursements. Additionally, she reiterated that the procurement of the six vehicles received was approved by the World Bank, and two of these vehicles are actively used by the PIU for project activities. She said all expenditures are aligned with the project’s objectives and have been transparently managed with the World Bank’s consent. Madam Glassco in a press release issued Monday, June 24, 2024, stated that NaFAA remains committed to the sustainable management of Liberia’s fisheries resources and will continue to operate with the highest standards of transparency and accountability. She urged the public to disregard with these unfounded claims and trust in the rigorous oversight mechanisms already in place.

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