Executive Mansion Says President Sirleaf Remains Committed to Principles of Asset Freeze Measures

Monday, 24th September 2007
Monrovia, Liberia - The Executive Mansion has renewed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s commitment to the principles of the Asset Freeze Bill, which has reportedly been rejected and returned to the Office of the President.

Addressing his weekly press briefing, presidential spokesman Cyrus Wleh Badio, said news of the rejection of the bill has only been received through media reports. The President’s Office, Badio maintained, has yet to receive any official notification of the Legislature’s reported action.  Mr. Badio, however, said the President remains committed to the United Nations resolution which calls for the freeze of assets of individuals who are believed to have pillaged the resources of the country.

Badio said he found it difficult to believe that the lawmakers would reject measures aimed at addressing the abuse and misuse of the resources of the country, when other member countries of the UN are already acting on Liberia’s behalf by adopting measures to implement the United Nations Security Council asset freeze resolution.

Asked what action the President intends to take if reports that the Legislature has rejected the bill are true, the presidential spokesman said the President may exercise other options at her disposal in conformity with the laws of the country and in line with the UN asset freeze resolution on Liberia.

Meanwhile, Badio has dismissed local media reports that there is a row between the government of the United States and Liberia regarding the renovation of the Ducor Hotel by a Libyan company. He said United States Ambassador to Liberia, Donald Booth, is in daily contact with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.  “If the Americans had any reservation, the Ambassador would have raised them with the President; that issue has never come up in any discussion between the President and the Ambassador,” Badio maintained.

He said the contract for the renovation of the Ducor Hotel was awarded to the Libyan company during the administration of the National Transitional Government of Liberia. The Libyans, who will also establish a rubber processing plant in Liberia, Badio disclosed, did not pursue the agreement then. “Now that they are ready for implementation, the President welcomes their investment,” brushing off media reports of a row as ‘laughable speculations.’

Mr. Badio, who was addressing his regular Executive Mansion weekly press briefing on Monday in Monrovia, also spoke of recent floods around the country which have affected several regions. He said the Internal Affairs Minister is in contact with the President regarding the situation. Badio said the Internal Affairs Minister, who heads the National Disaster Relief Commission, is conducting a comprehensive assessment of flood affected areas and will brief the President upon completion to enable government to respond effectively to the effects of the disasters.