The Director General of the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) has sharply reacted to media report that the Corporation made available to the opposition Liberty Party (LP) the amount US$1.5 million for Party’s campaign purposes.
Mr. Dewitt vonBallmoos has categorically denied report originating from the corridor of the Liberian Senate that the corporation funded the Liberty Party’s (LP) campaign activities in the amount of US$1.4 million under the guise of investing in the Cocopa Rubber Corporation in Nimba County.
Early this week, it was reported that the Senate queried an investment made by NASSCORP in the Cocopa Rubber Corporation, now Nimba Rubber Incorporated (NRI). Those reports alleged that the corporation gave a sum of of US$1.4 million to the LP under the pretext of investing in Cocopa,” vonBallmoos told journalists yesterday at his 15th Street office in Monrovia.
It is an incredible co-incidence that NRI, a company owned by Liberty Party vice-standard bearer Harrison Karnwea, has a concession agreement with the Government of Liberia to operate the Cocopa rubber plantation. Karnwea, prior to his transition to Cocopa, was managing director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and a stalwart of the ruling Unity Party. While serving as MD of FDA, Karnwea boldly broke ranks with the ruling party and joined the Liberty Party, whose standard bearer, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, later named him as his running mate for the October 2017 presidential elections.
This is why many are inclined to believe that the US$1.5 million investment in Cocopa by the lucrative state-owned enterprise, NASSCORP, could be an unmistakable endorsement of the Liberty Party’s Brumskine-Karnwea campaign.
Countering the reports on the disbursement to NRI, Mr. vonBallmoos said NASSCORP is a non-partisan entity that has no direct or indirect link to any political party, and “will never be a part of any spending that is not fiscally prudent for the survival of the corporation, least to dish out money to a political party.”
Last week, the Senate invited NASSCORP to Capitol Hill to explain how the reported amount of US$1.4 million was withdrawn and disbursed to the NRI.
The NASSCORP management responded that the entity was established to administer the country’s pension fund with the mandate to collect contributions, payout benefits and invest in institutions for the sustainability of financial solvency as enshrined in article 89.63 of both the new NASSCORP Act and Decree 14.
In fulfillment of that mandate, vonBallmoos said NASSCORP, after an authorization by its Board of Directors in August 2016, approved an investment in the amount of US$1.5 million in NRI for the rehabilitation of its Cocopa Plantation.