Finance Ministry’s PSDI Loan Scheme:US$965.4K Missing


first_imgDr. James Kollie, Maritime Commissioner, was former Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs (MFDP) and signed all the loan approvals. President Sirleaf wants him to return from his trip abroad to answer to the audit.12 loan recipients disappear without traceBy Alvin WorziAn audit report on the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) has revealed that 24 borrowers who received cash loans amounting to US$965,400 have not made any repayment, according to the arrangement.The report also says an additional twelve (12) businesses received an amount of US$545,700, but none could be located anywhere in Liberia, and the telephone contacts of the individuals who owned these businesses were permanently switched off.The loan, through the Private Sector Development Initiatives (PSDI), was meant to financially strengthen Liberian owned businesses, which were expected to repay, and the repayments would revolve or be disbursed to other Liberian businesses.PSDI is a project established in 2014 at the MFDP to provide loans to Liberian owned small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The process would have created jobs and accelerated the participation of Liberian owned businesses in the economy.According to the auditors, during 2014 to 2016, the project disbursed US$2,274,400 to forty-six (46) borrowers. The report reveals that Dr. James F. Kollie, former Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs (MFDP), signed all the loan approvals while serving in the position.“Documents reviewed showed that out of an initial amount of US$1,991,900 that was disbursed to thirty-six (36) customers, only US$282,500 has been recovered. The recovered amount was re-disbursed to an additional ten (10) customers, thereby raising the portfolio to US$2,274,400. This means that the initial disbursement of US$1,991,900 is still outstanding,” the report states.Out of forty-six (46) borrowers, only Garson Incorporated, located on 11th Street, Sinkor, believed to be owned by Dr. James Kollie, paid its obligation of US$150,000 plus US$10,500 interest, amounting to a total repayment of US$160,500. Garson Incorporated’s account statement reveals that the institution has only an US$11.00 obligation outstanding.The Internal Audit Unit (IAU) of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning conducted the financial and operational audit of the Private Sector Development Initiatives (PSDI).It said in May 2014, MFDP entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) to partner and establish an account (GE Fund) through which the borrowers would receive their loans.The report also establishes that there was a Memorandum of Understanding reached between MFDP and LBDI to run the PSDI loan activities together; however, customers’ evaluation-vetting was squarely done by MFDP.However, the evaluation-vetting conducted by MFDP-PSDI Desk provided many loopholes for default.For example, there was no collateral to back the loan; many borrowers used the borrowed funds as start-up for their businesses, while there is no evidence of comprehensive market survey on file. This created a serious impediment for recovery, thereby defeating the project’s objective for the revolving fund.The modus operandi of the MOU, which was signed by MFDP, MOJ and LBDI, outlines as follows: that the Ministry of Finance shall recommend beneficiaries of the GE Fund to LBDI and submit application packages containing the following: business registration, business proposal/plan, and tax clearance, among others.Loans were disbursed to either businesses owned by MFDP staff, or businesses with whom they have close connections, “and some of those businesses have not paid a cent against their obligation,” the report says.The businesses include LELAH INC (US$40,000), Pure Life Incorporated (US$ 65,000), People’s Water Company Liberia LTD (US$65,700), South East Water Company (US$75,000), and Zianab Business Center (US$20,000).From 2014 to 2016, US$4,111,450 was credited at different intervals. Of the US$4,111,450, US$1,665,454.91 was transferred to the PSDI loan account for loan disbursements, while the balance of US$2,445,995.09 was withdrawn on multiple check transactions.“Our attention is drawn to a specific LBDI check number 133866, valued at US$1,648,037. We observed that the check was written as debit to the LPSEGF Account and correspondingly deposited to another account called GOL Operational Account (A/C Number 02-2-0530000182) at the CBL. Details are highlighted in the findings,” the report says.In Dr. James Kollie’s press statement he posted on Facebook, he denied any wrongdoing and said:“My attention is being drawn to an ongoing audit of the Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) over which I provided general supervision when I served as Deputy Minister of Finance. I am grateful to the President for affording me the opportunity to respond fully to the claims, assertions and accusations made in the draft audit report.“Although I was the subject of the audit, contrary to best practice, and until only a few days ago, I was never notified or interviewed by the auditors. My first encounter with the auditors was on June 2, a day after the draft report was issued.“Of course, these are challenging political times for our country. As such, it is easier to pass public judgments before we hear all the facts, and or muddle what ought to be important professional engagements with political motivations. I fully understand that this is the country in which we live and these are ongoing consequences of a life in public service.“However, I wish to assure the country and our international partners that I served the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning with dedication and professionalism, and conducted businesses there within the boundaries of the law and acceptable best practices.As such I intend to cooperate fully, as I have always done, to assist in satisfying this ongoing audit as well as reconfirm my continued commitment to financial probity and high standards of accountability in our country.“Without trying to further prejudice the draft audit report, I want to refrain from addressing specific claims or accusations made in the report at this time, and once again, assure Madam President and the entire country that I will fully cooperate with the audit and ensuing investigations for I am confident that I did nothing wrong.“As requested, I am returning to the country immediately.“Difficult as it may be, I urge all to keep an open mind as we deal with this draft audit report which was leaked with obvious sinister motives and prejudicial intentions.”On Thursday, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in a brief radio statement said “preliminary results of an ongoing audit process of the Private Sector Development Initiative at the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning, commissioned by the Minister of Finance, revealed some shocking outcomes and results that officials at the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning were making loans to themselves in violation of the law.”The President said the audit, which covers the period from 2014 to current, is being executed by the Internal Audit Agency.She said while the process is still ongoing, “We can say with a high degree of confidence that such a scheme set up at the PDSI is clearly a conflict of interest and will be dealt with by the full weight of the law.“Therefore, I have ordered the principal administrator of the program during the audit period, Commissioner of Maritime Affairs Hon. James Kollie to return to Liberia from his official trip to assist in the audit and answer all of the issues associated with it.”Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance is ordered to have a full audit report before the President within two weeks (June 23) for further action.The president said: “We…will leave no stone unturned in the interest of the nation.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Cheteshwar Pujara’s family welcomes him with a cake after record-breaking Australia tour


first_imgCheteshwar Pujara’s family made special arrangements for the cricketer’s return to Rajkot after a gruelling tour of Australia.Pujara came back home from Sydney after a ground-breaking Border-Gavaskar series which India won 2-1 to retain the trophy.He was the chief architect of India’s Test wins in Adelaide and Melbourne along with the fast bowlers and he made sure to end the series with a bang as he smashed 193 in the drawn Sydney Test.On Friday, Pujara was welcomed back by his family as he cut a cake to celebrate a successful tour Down Under.The 31-year-old posted a couple of pictures on his Instagram with his wife, daughter and parents.”Happiness is only real, when shared #FridayFeeling,” Pujara captioned the post.Pujara’s performance in Australia caught the attention of the cricketing world as he amassed 521 runs in the series with three hundreds at an average of over 74 and walked away with the man-of-the-series award.Such was Pujara’s tenacity that the Australian bowlers had no response to his concentration, defence and just absolute defiance. Australia coach Justin Langer even went on say that he had not seen anyone concentrate better than Pujara not even Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid.”He proved that you don’t have to be a Flash Harry to be successful. In this day and age when the bowlers are smart, with analysts studying your weaknesses, bowling attacks being more accurate… you have to earn your runs,” head coach Ravi Shastri told India Today’s Boria Majumdar in an exclusive interview.advertisementWith India’s Test assignments over for the season, the soft-spoken family man is now gearing up for his return to domestic cricket and is also looking forward to another stint in county cricket.”I’ll be playing some first-class cricket back home. During IPL, I might be playing county cricket. Next Test series is 6-7 months away. Will give me enough time to prepare. I’ll work hard on my game to play white-ball cricket. But Test cricket is my priority, it’ll always remain my priority,” Pujara had said after the Sydney Test.Also Read | Love watching Pujara bat, there’s a lot to learn from him: Shubman GillAlso Read | Best Indian side I have been part of, says Cheteshwar Pujara after series-winning 521 runsAlso Read | Cheteshwar Pujara just can’t dance: Watch India stars celebrate historic winAlso Read | Pujara frustrated top-class Aussie attack to the point of submission: Ian Chappelllast_img read more

Wozniacki tells Liverpool: Impossible is nothing


first_imgLiverpool ‘Impossible is nothing’ – Wozniacki tips Liverpool for Premier League glory after Australian Open win Chris Burton Last updated 1 year ago 23:12 1/27/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Caroline Wozniacki Getty Liverpool Premier League The Danish tennis star has broken her duck at Grand Slam tournaments and believes her beloved Reds will taste title success in England at some stage Caroline Wozniacki has broken her Grand Slam duck and is tipping her beloved Liverpool to taste Premier League title glory in the near future.The Danish tennis star is back on top of the world rankings following a maiden major triumph at the Australian Open.Having twice been a runner-up at the US Open, Wozniacki outlasted Simona Halep, 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 in a pulsating final on Saturday in Melbourne. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player As she savoured that success, attention was diverted back to football matters and the chances of Liverpool emulating her achievement by reclaiming the English top-flight title at some stage.Wozniacki told reporters on that challenge: “Impossible is nothing.”I’m sure, eventually, it will go well for them.”The 27-year-old is a famous follower of the Reds, with regular visits to Anfield made when a busy tennis schedule allows.Having been born on July 11, 1990, Liverpool have not tasted title glory during Wozniacki’s lifetime.Their last triumph, an 18th in the club’s illustrious history, came in the 1989-90 season.There have been a few near misses since then, most notably under Rafa Benitez and Brendan Rodgers, but the crown has remained elusive.Jurgen Klopp is the man currently charged with the task of restoring the good times to Merseyside.He has been unable to break a silverware drought thus far, with that barren run having entered a sixth year, but remains in the hunt as the 2017-18 campaign approaches the business end.Whatever happens from this point, all of those connected with Liverpool can rely on the support of Wozniacki, with her exploits having proved that persistence and hard work will be rewarded in time. Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the weblast_img read more

Busier 2017 Hurricane Season NOAA updates forecast


first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#TurksandCaicos, August 25, 2017 – Providenciales – So far, the 2017 Hurricane season is overactive and outpacing other seasons by this time by 100%; weather officials say, “In the first nine weeks of this season, there have been six named storms.   That’s double the number of storms that would typically form by early August.”Add to this, more storm activity is forecast now for the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season as the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, #NOAA which heads the National Hurricane Center has upgraded predictions from between 11 to 17 storms to now between 14 to 19 storms to affect the region.As we report, the remnants of Harvey have resurged to now create category 2 Hurricane Harvey and it is expected to batter Texas as it stalls over the coastal region of the lone star state.    In the Turks and Caicos, Dr. Virginia Clerveaux, Director of the Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies (DDME), said: “we know that it only takes ONE storm to affect the development gains that the Turks and Caicos Islands have achieved over the years.   Therefore, it is important that Government departments, businesses and residents in the Turks and Caicos Islands ensure that they are prepared this Hurricane Season and continue to monitor information from DDME’s Website and Social Media Pages.”It is explained by NOAA that this could be the most active season since 2010 which saw 21 depressions, 19 storms and 12 hurricanes.    The prediction on hurricanes which could form remains unchanged for 2017 at between five and nine.    As for Hurricane Harvey, it is expected to get to Category three by later today or tomorrow with winds up to 111mph.#MagneticMediaNews Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:last_img read more

WhatsApp working on linked accounts vacation and silent mode features


first_imgWhatsApp logo                       REUTERSWhatsApp is reportedly working out on three new features, including linking your account to Instagram, in order to improve its chat and notifications for its over 1.5 billion users.Apart from Linked Accounts, the two other features under development are: Vacation and Silent Mode, said WABetaInfo, a popular website that tracks WhatsApp, on Wednesday.”WhatsApp is working right now on a new feature that allows linking your account with external services.”The feature appears mainly developed for WhatsApp Business, but some references were found in the normal WhatsApp app too,” said the website.The Linked Accounts option will be located under your profile settings.”Currently, the first supported external service is Instagram. Tapping Instagram, after inserting your credentials, your WhatsApp account will be correctly linked to your Instagram profile,” it added.Currently, when you archive a chat, WhatsApp automatically unarchives it once a new message is received from that chat.With the Vacation Mode feature, archived chats won’t be unarchived if you have previously muted them.The option will be available in WhatsApp Settings and then Notifications.”The Vacation mode is also useful if you don’t want a specific chat in your Chats List: if you mute and archive it, you will never see it again, except if you view your Archived Chats,” the report said.The silent mode feature for Android allows to hide the app badge for muted chats.”Thanks to this feature, you will never see the badge when you receive a message from muted chats and groups. The feature is already enabled by default,” the report added.last_img read more