The Stage Media (TSM) investigation has established that the designated commissioner general of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has violated Section 14 of the Act that established the institution in 2013.
The LRA is in charge of administering and enforcing the revenue laws to assess, collect, audit, and account for all national revenues and to facilitate legitimate international trade and customs border management enforcement.
Section 14.2 title: Grounds for Removal states that “the member has been adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt and has not been discharged, or has not paid an assignment, arrangement, or composition made with creditors.”
Our investigation unearthed that Samora Wolokolie violates this section because, in 2021, he confirmed taking a loan from G.T. Bank to foot his constructions unveiled by social media activist Martin Kollie.
When contacted, the bank said they could not give customer details on whether Wolokolie was indebted.
Our reporter contacted Wolokolie, who confirmed that he had not completed the payment at the bank but promised to complete it in four to five months after his confirmation.
In another conversation, Wolokolie claimed that our interpretation of 14.2 is incorrect.
He said the member must have been adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt.
“A bankruptcy declaration can only happen through a court process. I have not been declared bankrupt. I can pay my bank loan and I am paying. I am not in default with my bank. You can go there and verify. You are authorized,” Wolokolie told TSM.
It can be recalled that President George Weah nominated Wolokolie, the current deputy minister at the Ministry of Finance, Development, and Planning, on January 2, 2023, to replace Thomas Doe-Nah.
Wolokolie served in the current position for six years when he was appointed in 2018 by Weah.
Wolokolie’s nomination came nine days after Doe-Nah was pronounced dead by medical doctors in India while serving as Commissioner General of the LRA.
Doe-Nah joined LRA, like Wolokolie, in 2018 as an experienced civil society actor and financial sector professional who had worked and advocated for improved governance systems in post-conflict Liberia.
He was again reappointed to his post by President Weah in 2022 after his first four-year tenure came to an end, a position he held until his demise.
Cllr. Bruce Quaye, the acting chief legal representative for LRA, said when contacted that he could not interpret the section since the legislature is about to conduct a confirmation hearing for the Wolokolie.
He added, “I am available to answer the question in two to three weeks.”
Additionally, Section 14. 10 states that removal of a member should be done when a member is an official of a political party, a member of the Legislature, or a local authority, but Wolokolie resigned from the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) on Wednesday, January 3, 2024, where he served as Vice Chairman for Finance and Investment.
Cllr. Jaffar Beyan said Wolokolie is indebted to a financial institution that contravenes Section 14.2 of the LRA Act, so he can not build his argument on bankruptcy.
According to Cllr. Beyan, “Samora stated he used a loan to construct his different properties, and his sudden resignation from the CDC is because he wants to be confirmed by the Senate.”
Section 11(3), Title: Tenure of Office of Board Members on Vacancies, also states that the President shall, within thirty (30) days after the creation of a vacancy on the Board, appoint another person to fill the vacancy upon recommendation of the Minister.
Wolokolie’s being indebted to G.T. Bank is not in compliance with the LRA’s Act.