Monrovia – Liberia’s former Finance and Development Planning Minister Amara Konneh claims that since he led efforts to source funding for the dredging of the Freeport of Monrovia during his time as a minister, the port has not been dredged.
Report By: Varney Kelvin Sirleaf | LVL Fact Checker
In a much publicized appearance at an intellectual center in Monrovia on September 5, Mr. Konneh claimed that between 2008-2012 he “guaranteed” the National Port Authority to dredge the Freeport of Monrovia and since that time the port has not been dredged.
Said Mr. Konneh: “Let me ask you also, those who used to go to Tubmanburg (Bomi County) do you recalled seeing plenty ships from the port all over there like traffic [from the Freeport of Monrovia to the St. Paul River] in 2008, all the way to 2012? Do you know how we fixed it? I raised the guarantee to [for] the National Port Authority to dredge this port, since that time this port has not been dredged.”
According to an article by the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea, which is a regional body of with six west African member countries including Liberia, in 2012 the management of the NPA hired a Dutch dredging and marine company in a US$20 million deal to dredge the Freeport of Monrovia and the Port of Greenville, Sinoe County
So, is Mr. Konneh correct that since 2012 the Freeport of Monrovia has not yet been dredged? We have checked the evidence and here’s what we’ve found:
LVL Fact Checking Desk reviewed the claim made by the former Finance Minister and found that he’s incorrect. First, we review several news articles published in 2020 which show that the port was dredged in 2020.
In 2017, the NPA management contracted the services of a Norwegian company Nordsee – a subsidiary of Dredging Environment Marine International (DEME Group) to dredge the Freeport of Monrovia to a depth of 13.5 meters and in some places 14.5 meters, according Dredge Wire – a U.S based news outlet that reports about seaports across the world.
Also on June 6, 2017, FrontPage Africa reported that the Freeport of Monrovia was being dredged for the first time since 2012 at a depth of 13.5 meters and in some places 14.5 meters.
And in 2020, a video posted on the official Facebook page of the Executive Mansion shows a massive dredging exercise of the Freeport of Monrovia. The over eight-minute video documentary shows the dredging process with a caption explaining how the work was being done.
The Caption reads: “Dredging has commenced at the Freeport of Monrovia, the gateway to the Liberian economy, paving the way for bigger vessels to berth at the port. The dredging kicked off on 4 February 2020.”
Reports by independent local and international media organizations shows that the Freeport of Monrovia was dredged in 2017. A video documentary published to social media on February 6, 2020, also prove that the port was again dredge in 2020.
Based on this evidence, we conclude that the statement by Mr. Amara Konneh, former Finance and Development Planning Minister, that since the dredging of the Freeport of Monrovia in 2012, the port has not been dredged is incorrect.
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