Weah Veto Hummingbird Agreement
President George Manneh Weah has veto An Act to rectify a Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) between the Government of Liberia and Hummingbird Resources Incorporated.
The Liberian leader, in a communication, addressed to House Speaker, Bhofal Chambers and read during the House of Representatives Tuesday session, said his decision to veto the Act is due to the Legislature not carrying out proper authentication on the document prior to submitting it to his office for approval.
According to President Weah, his action is in conformity with Article 35 of the Liberian constitution, which among other things, gives the Head of State the legal will to approve or disapprove legislation emanating from the first branch of government (Legislature).
“Honorable Speaker, the Agreement was reviewed by the Special Presidential Concessions Review Committee, and the Committee derived the overall conclusion that while the Agreement is appreciably conscious of the need for a fair business arrangement, few critical aspects need reconsideration in order to bring the contractual benefits to a mutual balance for each of the contracting parties,” President Weah stated through his Communication.
According to the President’s communication, the transmittal instrument from the Honorable Legislature to the Office of the President (Schedule of Senate’s Enrolled Bill No. 1) has a date error which cannot be corrected by his office, stating that, instead of the year 2018, the Bill bears 2017.
“Additionally, there are several omissions of dates which omissions my office is not authorized to correct, and without such corrections, I cannot affix my signature. I refer you to pages 7,102 and 107. Also, we observed the pages 14 of Annex 3 are unsigned,” the president mentioned in his communication.
President Weah argued that, as it appears on its face, the Agreement was concluded on July 9, 2015; a situation which is not the same today (2018).
“Therefore given the time lapse, this certainly warrants a review to ensure that provisions in the Agreement are responsive to current and future situations,” the Liberian leader stated.
In another development, President Weah has submitted to the Legislature an act to ratify an Additional Financing Agreement for the West African Power Pool (WAPP) Interconnection Project.
WAPP is an interconnection power project carryout in four countries, namely, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Liberia.
According to the Liberian leader, the original International Development Assistance loan (IDA) for the implementation of the regional project is US$147 million and was negotiated in March of 2012.
He said the amount of the project has increased between the period of 2012 to 2016 due to the Ebola epidemic in the Mano River Basin impasse and other economic factors.
President Weah said when ratified, the project will provide a range of opportunities for Liberia.
He stated that Liberia will be able to use the transmission line to transport electricity to other countries and concessionaires, something which according to him, will contribute immensely to the revenue generation of the country.
“Honorable Speaker, this project is significant to our economic recovery program, and I trust that the Legislature will ratify this Agreement in a timely manner,” the Liberian leader stated through his communication which was read during the House’s plenary Tuesday.
Meanwhile, following the reading of President’s Weah Communication by the House of Representatives Deputy Chief Clerk, the body unanimously agreed that the Liberian leader communication is forwarded to the House’s Committees on Ways, Means, Finance, and Development Planning; Land, Mines, Energy and Natural Recourses and Judiciary.
The joint committees have been mandated to report in two weeks following its perusal of the president’s document.