Min. Tarpeh Reacts To Wolokollie’s Allegation Over Pres. Weah’s Loan Scheme

Min. Wilson K. Tarpeh

Commerce and Industry Minister, Wilson Tarpeh, has sharply reacted to an allegation made by dismissed Deputy Minister for Small Business, Ministry of Commerce, Jemima Wolokolie, that she was not aware of how the President’s US$3 million loan program intended for small businesses in Liberia was executed at the ministry.

   Following the dismissal of Minister Wolokolie by President George Weah recently due to her utterances on local radio regarding the running of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), she accused Minister Tarpeh of single-handedly running the President’s loan scheme at the ministry for small businesses without her input as Deputy Minister for Small Business.   

Dismissed Minister Wolokolie, immediately, after her dismissal from government, posted on her official Facebook page that she has no regret for her assertion, and thanked God that she was not dismissed from government as the result of corruption. She also made several allegations against Minister Tarpeh, regarding how the day-to-day activities of the Ministry was run during her stay at the ministry.

But in response to the dismissed Deputy Minister’s allegation against him, Minister Tarpeh debunked all the allegations made by Minister Wolokolie, describing them as false, misguided and misleading. He told journalists at a news conference on Wednesday, July 8, 2020 in Congo Town that the dismissed minister was fully involved with the processes leading to the disbursement of the loan.

   Professor Tarpeh wondered how and why the dismissed minister would choose to lie publicly—“that the loan program is being run from my office alone, when in fact she was signatory to the loan’s account”. He displayed a copy of cheques and other financial documents, leading to the disbursement of cash, signed by Minister Wolokolie in her capacity as Deputy Minister. According to the Minister, Wolokolie’s office has direct control over the loan and, therefore, it is unrealistic for her to claim that she was unaware of the running of the loan program.    Moreover, the Minister explained that, out of the President’s US$3 million loan, only US$2 million is available for the program. He averred that US$1 million is from the government, and this amount is deposited into an account purposely for the loan, while the remaining US$2 million is coming from the Liberia Bank For Development and Investment (LBDI) and is directly controlled by the bank, with a supervisory role from the Commerce Ministry. According to Professor Tarpeh, LBDI has made available US$1 million out of the promised US$2 million toward the loan scheme.

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