By Julius T. Jaesen, II
The former Deputy Minister for Small Business Administration at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Jemima Wolokollie, who was dismissed by President Weah over her recent outbursts against party’s leaders who she claims are mis-running the CDC, has branded Minister Wilson K. Tarpeh as “a criminal and disgusting dictator”.
Speaking on Prime FM radio talk show program on Wednesday morning, July 15, 2020, Madam Wolokollie said the government through the GAC and the Internal Auditors need to audit the entire Ministry of Commerce including the US$3 million loan program intended for small businesses.
She claims that the auditors will have to conduct the audit as quickly as possible to prevent her former boss, Minister Wilson Tarpeh from covering up things simply because he (Wilson Tarpeh) is very corrupt. The dismissed Deputy Minister Wolokollie questions President Weah’s decision to still be keeping Min. Tarpeh at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry who is “a born liar”, claiming that “he is a criminal who lies about everything”.
On the radio program, she claimed that Min. Tarpeh lied that there was no shortage of rice on the market but sadly today, our people are feeling the brunt of the hike in the price of rice as a cup of rice is being sold for $70.00 Liberian dollars in a global crisis time like this where our people have been partially locked down. According to her, Min. Tarpeh again lied about gas and fuel oil shortages to the extend it nearly cause uprising against the government.
Madam Wolokollie asserted that when President Weah launched the US$3 million loan program, he cautioned Minister Tarpeh and the Ministry of Finance to not get involved with the loan program. She said the President asked LBDI to control the loan while she as Deputy Minister will train the Micro Finance Institutions (MFI) and Village Saving Loan Association (VSLA).
According to Madam Wolokollie, after the trainings, they deployed from the very initial stage, people from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and representatives from the President’s delivery unit in the field to collect names of institutions to be qualified for the loan. They went out in the field and brought in 26 institutions that qualified for the loan program, she claims.
At the same time, Madam Wolokollie, after the 26 names were brought to her office at the Ministry of Commerce, she along with her Director, Edward Belle vetted those 26 names and selected 11 institutions that were qualified to get the loan and forwarded the listing for Minister Tarpeh’s approval, which according to her, he did. Still speaking on the talk show, Madam Wolokollie claimed that when Minister Tarpeh approved the 11 names which were sent to LBDI where she and Mr John Davis did the final vetting of the qualified nine (9) names out of the 11 names but since then, she was never a part of any process regarding the loan neither was her office furnished on the disbursement of the loan.
She claimed that for each time she went to her boss, (Minister Tarpeh), he will send her to LBDI to discuss with the bank President, Mr. Davis but every time she went to LBDI, they would claim that the matter concerning the loan disbursement is only between her boss and the LBDI through the bank President. She said that she had written Minister Tarpeh on several occasions concerning the loan but he had refused to reply her letters.
She also claimed that because “Min. Tarpeh is very corrupt, that is the reason he always refuses to be documented”. She further said even if you write him 10,000 memos, he will never reply because he doesn’t like to be documented. She also said whether the nine (9) persons that were vetted and qualified were given the loan she has no idea to that effect as her boss sealed everything out from her.
Speaking Wednesday on the show, when asked as to whether she had raised said issues in staff meeting, she said the Ministry of Commerce is dead and they have been controlled like they are on a farm, like you are in slavery by Min. Tarpeh who she branded as an oppressor who doesn’t like people who are outspoken.
She claimed that Min. Tarpeh oppressed and marginalized her all through her days at Commerce. She also alleged that Min. Tarpeh misused another country’s money intended for different program but when the internal auditor found out that and tried to ask the Minister questions, he transferred the internal auditor.
According to Madam Wolokollie, everybody who spoke to her at the Ministry was either dismissed by her boss or fired from their jobs only because he said she was critical of him. Former Deputy Minister Wolokollie claimed that the President was aware of her mistreatment and ill-treatment she got form Minister Tarpeh.
Former Deputy Minister Wolokollie decrying the corruption at the Ministry, asserted that Min. Tarpeh created 21 bank accounts in the Ministry, something she claimed, is fishy and is a sinister motive on the part of the Minister to engage in theft and abuse. She also alleged that Minister Tarpeh is notoriously known for being extremely corrupt. She further said, everywhere Min. Tarpeh worked, he never left his corrupt hands behind. She claims that he was asked to resign as Vice President for Fiscal Affairs of the University of Liberia for the same corrupt practices.
In her closing remarks on the radio after Cllr. Pearl Brown-Bull called to support her in any legal action and her senatorial bid, she alleged that Min. Tarpeh has consistently threatened to ensure that the President will have her dismissed.
According to her, Min. Tarpeh claimed that he is the most qualified and learnt official in government and that is while any problem the government has he is always sent for by the President’s office to advise and solve the situation, coupled with the fact that the President is his nephew, he has the unbridled power to get any request or thing done.
On the issue of security guys tailing her, she said her security or life is in the hands of the President and his government and as such, let the word go forth that anything that happens to her the government and President Weah will be blamed.
However, the Parrot News made all efforts through several telephone calls to get to Min. Tarpeh but his phone rang endlessly without an answer. Following that, the Minister was sent a text message which he didn’t reply. See below the text message sent to Min. Tarpeh!
Hello, Minister Tarpeh. I am an Associate Managing Editor of the Parrot Newspaper, and I’m calling you in reference to the allegations made by former Deputy Minister Jamima Wolokollie against your person and the institution. Among many claims, she said you created 21 bank accounts at the Ministry. I can’t write here all the claims she made today but would appreciate were you to answer my call.
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