Travel Bonanza in Weah-led Government: The Emergence of a New Cartel in Liberia – A Camarilla of ‘Pro-poor’ Mafias

By Martin K. N. Kollie, Youth Activist|

Finance Minister Samuel Tweah and Deputy NPA Manager Celia Cuffy-Brown

Across the landscape of Africa’s oldest independent nation and the World’s fourth poorest country, it appears like a new cabal of state mafias is emerging under Soccer Legend turned President George M. Weah. This camarilla of ‘pro-poor’ pillagers seems overly prepared and well positioned to unremorsefully plunge Liberia into economic nullity and obscurity. Who is leading this clique of kleptocrats? Who is piloting this Coalition of Desperate Crooks (CDC)?

The chief mastermind of this corporate spree and wealth-seeking escapade is Minister Samuel D. Tweah, Minister of Finance and Development Planning. Even though this Minister is yet to develop an economic development plan for Liberia, but his insatiable appetite to leech on public resources is reaching world record.

The looting spree continues but in another phase – probably the Weah’s phase or the pro-poor phase. How can a Minister of an aid-dependent, food-deficit and poverty-stricken nation like Liberia spend US$16,000 just for a single flight from Liberia to China? Which Minister in Africa has done this, especially in a collapsing economy? Tweah appears to be a kleptocrat in mask.

While thousands of Liberian parents are unable to pay hiking tuition fees for their children this academic year, Tweah and his regiment of economic muggers are swimming in extravagance and opulence. This Tweah, once a critic of wasteful spending, has become a predator and plunderer. Now we know you, Tweah. We know your real self. You are a kleptocrat in mask who is cunningly hanging on the wing of a popular soccer legend to accrue illicit wealth by milking on public resources and pursuing parochial interest.

The inhumane action of Tweah to purchase US$16,000 air ticket violates the 2016/2017 Revised Travel Ordinance of Liberia which permits only the President to travel First Class. Again, another law has been violated under President George M. Weah. Is Liberia a country of law or a country of man? Fiscal indiscipline, overspending, wasteful spending, economic sabotage and corruption are overclouding Weah and his government.

In just 8 months, private mansions, palaces and giant-sized businesses are being built while Liberians remain the 8th unhappiest, 4th poorest and 8thhungriest group of people in the world according to UNDP 2018 Report. Are they really honest about these mantras “change for hope” and “pro-poor” or these mantras are only meant to entice the poor, romance the illiterate and woo the underprivileged? The latter would suffice in my opinion. Why did President Weah even travel with more than a 50-man delegation to China? His action violates Rule 3 of the Travel Ordinance.

Liberia is becoming a SAD NARRATIVE in Africa even after 171 years of nationhood. The rush for wealth among public officials in Weah’s government is unimaginable. In my opinion, this ‘Sweet Land of Liberty’ is gradually turning into a Camarilla of ‘Pro-poor’ Mafias under President George M. Weah. The nation is doomed if this cabal of emerging kleptocrats expands further.

Will President Weah act against Tweah for violating the Law (2016/2017 Travel Ordinance)? I am not too convinced about this because even Weah himself has violated our Constitution. The law prohibits all public officials from travelling first class except the President.

Though Liberia is the oldest nation, but it still lies in ruin after 171 years predominantly as a result of bad governance and leadership bankruptcy. On this Western Coast of Africa, patriotism and nationalism are in scarcity while greed and corruption are in surplus. In just 8 months under President George M. Weah, a NEW CARTEL of economic vultures and pseudo-patriots are set to suck every blood out of Liberia and slump its already collapsing economy into obscurity. The emergence of this cartel is fast crushing THE HOPE of Liberians.

Can PATIENCE be an option amidst mass economic sabotage and increasing kleptocracy in public service? The emergence of a new cartel is budding, but is Eugene Faghon (the self-proclaimed cartel destroyer) still alive or is he suffering from ocular trauma which is impeding his optical capacity? This new clique of ‘pro-poor’ elites is fast leeching on public resources.

Leading this pro-kleptocratic syndicate are Minister Samuel Tweah of MFDP and Deputy NPA Managing Director Celia Cuffy-Brown. The nation is entrapped in mass economic sabotage, nepotism, elitism and cronyism – Business as usual. When will this end? The travel bonanza under President George Weah is something to ponder over. Tweah spent US$16,000 just for a flight from Liberia to China even though our economy is in tremor. This amount can fund/sponsor the education of 266 students of UL per semester or pay the monthly salary of 106 public school teachers.

While increasing hardship is becoming the order of the day, Deputy MD Celia Cuffy-Brown is traveling with her daughter, niece and personal security to China and USA. This extravagance needs to STOP especially in a poverty-stricken nation like Liberia. Why are they wasting THE PEOPLE’S MONEY?

Furthermore, did our President need over 50 delegates to make a case to his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping? While First Lady Clar Weah had an 10-man delegation, Deputy MD Cuffy-Brown had her own delegation on this official trip. Here is a list:

  1. Rochelle Brown – Daughter
  2. Elizabeth Brown – Niece
  3. Bill Pederson – Security

Why did Deputy MD Cuffy-Brown travel with her daughter and niece on this official visit? Why did she even travel with her security? Nepotism and elitism seem to be shifting upward under Weah. This travel bonanza is mindboggling and sends a shockwave to international donors as Liberia cries out for foreign assistance. There is no money according to GoL but thousands of USD are being spent on travels.

Must Liberians remain patient amidst this visible shenanigan? New mansions, palaces and businesses are being built and bought by high-ranking officials. Whose interest are they serving? Pro-poor or Kill-poor? This broad-day exploitation and extravagance must STOP! The masses are watching and they could move into history to redeem themselves from this camarilla of pro-poor crooks. We will STAND UP against this NEW CARTEL in order to protect Liberia and Liberians.

While the Liberian government is having a major press conference to celebrate food aid from the People’s Republic of China, Liberia remains endowed with 2630000 hectares of agricultural land. It is unfortunate that the agriculture sector has a budget of just US$8.2million when103 lawmakers have a budget of over US$36.2 million.

As it stands, the ‘pro-poor’ agenda seems to be a pseudo-dream only meant to seduce the poor and romance the illiterate. It’s led by kleptocrats in mask. Top of Form Top of Form.

We want to appreciate Rodney Sieh and FrontPage Africa for lifting this story with every available fact. Read full story about this US$16K air ticket on FPA website:

About The Author: MartinK. N. Kollie is a youth and student activist, a columnist and an emerging economist who hails from Bong County. He currently studies Economics at the University of Liberia. He is the President of the Economics Student Association and a stalwart of the Student Unification Party. He can be reached via these details: or (+231) 776-572-334.

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