As House Invites Min. Mamaka Bility And Others: Secrets Behind “Yellow Machines” To Come Out!

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The circumstances leading to the ordering, securing, importing and keeping the yellow machines at the EBK Barracks have been shrouded by questionable processes and with little or no due diligence, instigating more questions than answers.

   On June 6, 2024 the government announced the arrival of the first batch of the 285 yellow machines, to be kept at the military barracks until the rest of the equipment arrive in the country.

   The deal, which was reportedly initiated by the Minister of State without Portfolio, Mamaka Bility, was said to be worth US$80—an amount that the government allegedly secured through a loan deal.

   Unfortunately, the government felt short of informing the public where the loan was secured from, and the process through which the machines was procured.

   On Monday, July 8, 2024, Gbarpolu County Senator, Amara Konneh, told the Liberian Senate that there was a need to address the “yellow machines” debate. According to him, there is currently no financing instrument in place at the National Legislature for the recent acquisition of the yellow machines that the Executive Branch unveiled over the weekend.

   Senator Konneh emphasized that it is crucial that the National Legislature have full transparency and oversight on this, as well as on the acquisition of other assets, like police cars and potentially NTA buses. “The lack of evidence of competitive procurement is causing some serious concerns, and if we don’t address this it could bring some major problems for our government’s reputation and adherence to the rule of law, and could potentially lead to new sanctions of public officials if it is laden with graft and we do the usual Liberian thing of ‘but the other people and so what…’ We can’t afford to ignore these issues,” he observed.

   He noted that there is an ethical storm brewing between the Executive Mansion and the Capitol Building, and it may end up at the Supreme Court.

   A day after Senator Konneh’s observation, the House of Representatives took the bold step to invite several individuals involved with the acquisition of the yellow machines, in order that they may explain, in detail, the information surrounding the procurement, bill of lading and parking of pieces of earth-moving equipment procured and brought into the country by the government.

    The House’s decision was triggered by a communication from Lofa County’s district #4 Representative, Gizzie K. Kolliance, and those invited to provide clarity on the matter are the Minister of State, Sylvester Grigsby, Minister of Defense, Geraldine George, Minister of State Without Portfolio, Mamaka Bility, and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Brigadier General Davidson Fayiah Forleh.

   In Representative Kolliance’s communication, he sought the indulgence of his colleagues to invite the officials to answer to inquiries and provide detailed information surrounding the procurement process.

   According to him, the issue of development, especially road, is paramount to the growth of the country, but wants the necessary procedures to be done in the confines of the law.

   “Government must always take due cognizance of the established laws and processes appertaining thereto. The Liberian government has three coordinate branches of government, each with a distinct role granted by the Constitution,” Representative Kolliance stated.

   The Lofa County lawmaker asserted that the Constitution must be preserved to ensure that no branch illegally usurp the power, duties and responsibilities of another branch. He stated that plenary must seek to ensure that the Constitutional order is preserved and that no branch be allowed to illegally usurp the powers, duties and responsibilities of the other.

   Following the reading and debate, the body voted to invite the ministers and AFL Chief of Staff to appear before the full body of the House on Thursday, July 11, 2024 to provide detailed information relating to the procurement of the earth-moving equipment.

   Observers are of the opinion that the secret surrounding the acquisition of the yellow machines are about to be revealed. They say those being invited by the House of Representatives are, in fact, more informed about the deal than even President Joseph N. Boakai.

   They called on the lawmakers to exert every effort to get the truth out of the government officials, and not relent if the deal needs to be cancelled.

   Activist Martin Kollie has described the deal as a “devil deal”, claiming that taxpayers are going to pay a whopping US$80 million over 4 years for this “devil deal”. According to him, South African businessman, Robert Gumede, whom the government struck the deal with, along with his accomplices, ministers Mamaka Bility and Sylvester Grigsby, is about to milk tens of millions of United States dollars from Liberia’s national coffers through a dubious deal and kickbacks.

   However, government is yet to respond to these allegations, and the public’s attention is being focused on what Minister Mamaka Bility has to reveal about the acquisition of the machines.

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