China-Liberia Relations in a New Era

first_imgOutgoing Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua said since he commenced his tour of duty in Liberia, the bilateral relationship between the two countries has steadily progressed, and has entered a new stage.Ambassador Jianhua: “I’m very proud to say that since I came here, significant progress has been made in the development of our friendship and cooperation. We have further proven ourselves as steadfast and reliable partners bilaterally and internationally. As a result, the relationship between our two countries has entered a new period.”The outgoing Chinese Ambassador spoke on Tuesday, December 3, at a farewell reception held in honor of him at the Chinese Embassy in Monrovia. He said Chinese grants to Liberia improve steadily under his tenure.He indicated that politically, the two countries have strengthened mutual trust and the Liberian government is firmly adhering to the One China policy, while at the same time, the Chinese government is firmly supporting Liberia’s peace and stability.He indicated: “Two years and eight months have passed since I came as Chinese Ambassador to Liberia in April 2011. During my tour of duty, I have received generous and valuable support and assistance from the Government of Liberia, the Liberian people, and from diplomatic corps and international organizations, to whom I would like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude.“The two countries have maintained the momentum of high level visits and frequent exchanges. Since 2003, China has been supporting the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) with the presence of its troops in the country and other technical support,” he said.Economically, Amb. Jianhua noted that the two countries are becoming more closely connected. “The volume of trade between Liberia and China has been among the top five among Western and Central African countries in the past several years. As Liberia is becoming more attractive, more Chinese entrepreneurs are coming to do business and invest in Liberia,” he explained.However, both countries are simultaneously working on four cardinal projects expected to positively improve the conditions of Liberians, especially the young people, and as well cement the relationship between both countries. The projects are the Ministerial Complex, two Legislative Annexes, the Samuel Kanyon Doe (SKD) Sports Complex renovation and the expansion of the Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC).Ambassador Jianhua said that to finance these projects, grants from the Chinese government will amount to over US$100 million. He said that these projects are taking place in the country through the initiative of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.“Madam President, it is you who initiated these big projects for the Liberian government and people, both countries need to work even harder to make sure that these projects will be completed and handed over to you. In addition to these big projects, the Chinese government has been financing some technical projects as well,” the Ambassador declared.He furthered, “Under your leadership Madam President, Liberia has come a long way. Over the past 10 years, through the relentless efforts of the Liberian government and people, and with the help of the international community, Liberia has maintained peace and stability. It has also made tremendous economic and social progress. I’m fortunate to have witnessed the great achievements Liberia has made on the path of development and transformation.”Making statement, President Sirleaf said Liberia was fortunate several years ago to re-activate its diplomatic relationship with the People’s Republic of China; a relationship Liberia has benefited and continues to benefit from tremendously.She said that Ambassador Jianhua was very instrumental in ensuring that the major projects that China is undertaking in Liberia are approved and funded by his government. She lauded the outgoing Chinese Ambassador for his tireless efforts in contributing to the reconstruction and transformation of the country.President Sirleaf noted that China has been very instrumental in helping Liberia recover from its brain-drain resulting from the civil crisis. China has provided numerous scholarships to young Liberian professionals, some of whom are contributing meaningfully to the country.Meanwhile, several government officials including Senate Pro-Tempore Gbehzohngar Findley, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, Foreign Minister Augustine K. Ngafuan, and several members of the Cabinet and members of the diplomatic corps were in attendance at the farewell reception.The doyen (most senior man in the group) of the diplomatic corps, Guinean Ambassador, Abdullah Dore, US Ambassador, Deborah Malac, and several other ambassadors were present.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Nandlall accuses Govt of stashing $305M

first_imgEstimate for AG’s ChambersGovernment has been accused of stashing under the line item ‘other’ a staggering sum of $305 million, which is listed in the estimates and expenditure for the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Legal Affairs Ministry.Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Anil Nandlall claims that the term ‘other’ appears on the budgetary programme of every budget agency in the chart of accounts of the national estimates.“As the term suggests, under this rubric, monies are budgeted for expenditures which canFormer Attorney General Anil Nandallbe classified as miscellaneous. Under this head of the Ministry of Legal Affairs’ budget, Attorney-General Basil Williams stashes the staggering sum of $305 million. This is unprecedented,” he opined.Nandall, a former Attorney General, questioned the minister as to what these monies would be used for, and was told that the sum is set aside to pay legal fees for lawyers and prosecutors the AG intends to retain.The services of these legal professionals, the AG said, are to allow him the support as he functions as Chairman of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF). The money would also be used to subsidise the economic costs of students at the Hugh Wooding Law School.The Opposition MP described this as a slush fund, stating that he is compelled to let taxpayers know that the AG has at the Chambers a staff of lawyers under his supervisionAttorney General Basil Williamswho are already paid by the State.“Unlike any other AG in the history of Guyana, he has three former justices and two professors as his advisers. While AGs in the past retained external counsel, this was done in exceptional cases or when there are shortages of staff at the AG Chambers. The staff at present appear to be at its full complement, or close to it,” he explained.Nandlall further stated that prosecution of criminal matters is the sole and exclusive responsibility of the Director of Public Prosecutions, or those authorised by her by virtue of the Constitution. He also noted that the AG has no role in the prosecution of criminal offences, and the DPP’s budget is merely $274 million.According to the former AG, the Chairmanship of CFATF is a rotational post shared among member states. “It is simply Guyana’s turn now. The expenses in relation to this post are fully paid for by the permanent secretariat of this organization, located in Port of Spain,”And the $18 million which is said to be used to subsidize Guyanese students at the Hugh Wooding Law School appears to be the only justifiable expenditure under the AG’s head.“Having regard to the foregoing, the question which must be asked is if we have to spend such humongous sums of money to pay external counsel, why don’t we close down the AG and the DPP Chambers?”Nandall said it is therefore clear that these offices are both considered useless by the AG, and possibly the Government.Nandlall said, “The truth is that most of this $305 million would become a reservoir for corruption, nepotism and persecution. It is nothing but slush fund for the AG.”last_img read more