America Punished Senator Sherman, Should USAID Account For The US 535 Million Dollars Allocated For Education?

By J. Yanqui Zaza 

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
January 20, 2021

Sara Walter
USAID Mission Director

Did the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Liberian government misuse US $535M and subsequently failed to build public high schools in Monrovia, for example? The 2008-2011 Montserrado County Development Agenda reported that the Liberian government should have constructed a high school in West Point, a technical high school in Congo town, for people with disabilities, etc., as per page # 59 of the report. However, besides the high schools built in Monrovia prior to April 12, 1980’s Coup, past and current administrations have not built the Tubman-High type-high schools in Monrovia.

If USAID and nongovernmental agencies cannot account for the US $535M, is the United States of America ready to help Liberia fight the war on corruption? This article does not focus on former President Sirleaf administration or President George Weah administration even though each administration, somehow, participated in selecting agencies that should account for the US $535M. This is because, as per Government Audit Reports, our officials are corrupt and are constantly awarding sweetheart deals to contractors and investors. Moreover, USAID had a significant influence over the allocation of the US $535M and selection of NGOs because US taxpayers contributed a significant portion of the money for education, according to 2012/13 through 2018/19 Liberian Citizens’ Budgets. US tax dollars of $975M, excluding World Bank’s money, was part of the US 5B appropriated for Liberia in seven years (2012/13-2018/19).

Let us review the three schedules (I, II, III) to trace the source of the US $535MB, which was included within the US $5B donors appropriated for different projects in Liberia. Row 1 of the 1st Schedule shows that the Liberian government itself generated ($4B) within seven years, while donors appropriated ($5B) during the same period. Schedule II shows that America donated US $927M to Liberia through USAID during the same period. Schedule III shows that US $535M was allocated for education, $1.1B for Energy and environment, $994M for Infrastructure, etc. Again, USAID and Liberian officials selected the NGOs.

 SCHEDULE I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NAMES

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

Total

GOVERNMNET

515

583

622

635

563

600

570

4,088

DONORS/LENDERS

672

649

833

899

653

718

584

5,008

 

 SCHEDULE II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NAMES

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

Total

UDSAID

170

127

93

186

128

142

129

975

IDA/WORLD BANK

166

98

108

125

147

124

159

927

AFRICAN BANK

48

25

86

74

77

95

102

507

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 SCHEDULE III

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NAMES

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

Total

EDUCATION

61

64

88

84

86

76

76

535

AGRICULTURE

85

89

82

129

70

71

86

612

ENERGY/ENVIR.

103

187

139

184

223

159

132

1127

HEALTH

61

64

64

88

87

37

31

432

INFRASTRUCTURE

80

101

134

150

173

194

162

994

PUBLIC ADMINI.

22

37

45

108

81

56

65

414

Did USAID promote corruption in contracting the US $927M?  Mr. Frank P. Catanoso, the author of the book called “No More Boss Man,” stated that USAID promotes corruption. In his fictional narrative of the April 12, 1980 Coup, he accused USAID, which “…had about twice as many employees as the United States Embassy” in Monrovia, to have allowed government officials to siphon US millions of tax dollars onto private benefits. Sadly, even after the military regime killed thirteen former government officials for corruption, USAID allowed the military leaders to use donors’ money for personal benefits. For example, the US $21M awarded to Mrs. Nancy Doe, widow to former President Doe, should be part of the US tax dollars that President Samuel K. Doe deposited into his bank accounts.

Predictably, if USAID did not fight corruption in the 70s and 80s because of the cold war, why is it encouraging corruption since its parent (America) won the cold war?  In 2006, after the cold war, USAID allowed officials of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to siphon US tax dollars for personal benefits. For example, commenting on INGOs' involvement in corruption, the former Minister of Public Works, Mr. Guyde Moore stated at the July 2015 Liberian Legislative Hearing that USAID and INGOs did not account for US $600M.  Re-echoing the comment of the former Minister of Public Works, Ms. Linda Polman, a Dutch journalist and author of The Crisis Caravan, said that “…Aid organizations are businesses dressed up like Mother Theresa.”

So, Liberians are happy that the US State Department is punishing Senator Senator-Varney- Sherman, now a prominent lawyer, and Chair of the Liberian Senate Judiciary Committee.
In its Press Release, the US State Department stated that Mr. Sherman had offered bribes to multiple judges associated with his trial for a 2010 bribery scheme, and he had an undisclosed conflict of interest with the judge who ultimately returned a not guilty verdict in July 2019.” (Please visit Treasury Sanctions Corrupt Actors in Africa and Asia www.home.treasury.gov) for the full story. But, if the public should welcome the US anti-corruption decision, how come America has been silent even after published reports conducted by impeccable institutions?

For instance, the Special African Union Committee, headed by the former President of South Africa, Mr. Thabo Mbeki, established to investigate illicit financial flows from Africa, concluded that multinational corporations are responsible for 95% of US $60B stolen from African countries every year. The Committee published its reports in 2014, yet the US government is looking at Senator Varney Sherman of Liberia. Multinational corporations received 64 fraudulent concessionary agreements out of 68, according, Moore Stephen Audit Firm, yet America has focused on Varney Sherman.

In fact, the Mission Director of the USAID in Liberia, Ms. Sara Walter stated that USAID is doing a super job. In her 12/18/20 commentary published by the Liberian Daily Observer, she stated that USAID is corruption-free. She listed JFK Hospital in Monrovia, Monrovia Consolidated School System, etc. as developments accomplished by USAID. Truly, USAID had financed many developments in Liberia in the 70s, but where are the projects in 2012/13 through 2018/19?

What if Liberia had spent a portion of the US $535M and built schools for the 48,000 residents living within 42 towns located within Zorzor District? Presumably, the local branch of Eco-Bank would not have discontinued its operations because residents do not borrow money from the bank. The Zorzor-Echo-Bank-branch has closed because many of the unskilled residents usually cash checks and/or receive money from Western Union, less profit-making activities. This experience is found in Grand Geddeh County, River Cess County, River County, etc. So, America should investigate the misuse of the $535M, if it intends to fight corruption.


2019 USAID Financial Statements (https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1868/USAIDFY2019AFR_508R.pdf)
(https://en.wikipedia-on-ipfs.org/wiki/List_of_schools_in_Liberia.html)List of High Schools in Liberia
IRAQI FOOD FOR OIL SAGA: (https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2004/04/15/the-oil-for-food-scam-what-did-kofi-annan-know-and-when-did-he-know-it/)
2012/2013: (www.cabri-sbo.org/en/documents/citizens-guide-to-the-national-budget-2012-2013-fiscal-year)
2013/2014: (www.cabri.org/en/documents/a-citizens-guide-to-the-national-budget-fiscal-year2013-2014)
2014/15:(https://docs.google.com/a/mopea.gov.lr/viewer? a=v&pid=sites&srcid=bW9wZWEuZ292LmxyfG10ZWYtYnVkZ2V0fGd4OjUxODNkYzUwM2YyMzU5MTc)
2015/16: (https://www.cabri-sbo.org/en/documents/2015-16-citizens-guide-to-the-national-budget)

2016/17: (https://www.cabri-sbo.org/en/documents/fact-sheet-or-short-citizens-guide-to-the-fiscal-year2016-17-draft-national-budget)
2017/18: (https://www.cabri-sbo.org/en/documents/a-citizens-guide-to-the-national-budget-1)
2018/19: (https://mfdp.gov.lr/index.php/department-of-budget-reports/citizen-s-guide/citizen-guide-fy2018-2019)
(https://www.emansion.gov.lr/doc/MontserradoCDA.pdf)
Montserrado County Development Agenda 2008-2011

 

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