"Money Would Distract Soldiers"
The Deputy Defense Minister for Administration Joseph F. Johnson has told a local radio talk show via mobile phone in Monrovia that officers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) deployed at the troubled-border points between Liberia and Ivory Coast do not need money for their operation.
Johnson said “Now our rationale is, a soldier is at the border; why would you want to distract the soldier and give him money to buy what?” His comments last Friday came amidst growing media and public speculations that AFL soldiers deployed at the border with Cote d’Voire were allegedly receiving US$17.00 monthly allowance.
But the Deputy Defense Boss noted the sacrifices being made by the soldiers at the border were being politicized. He said “The soldiers don’t need cash at the border; all provisions needed are provided for them to operate.”
Johnson said the soldiers were initially given US$17 to buy scratch cards, opposed to speculations that the amount was being paid as monthly allowance. According to him, the army has been deployed with an agreement to receive a US$100.00 monthly allowance for a three month period.
However, he said the purported US$100.00 monthly allowance will be deposited into each soldier’s account, as all of the provisions they need to operate at the border have been provided.
Johnson told the radio that “With the help of the Ministry of Finance, we have been able to accomplish that.” Asked whether he has been at the border to know what’s obtaining there, Johnson said he has not gone there, but receives daily reports from commanders in the field.
Besides, he stated, “As we speak, the Minster of National Defense is at Toe Town, heading towards the border with Ivory Coast.” He said Minister Brownie Samukai and the Commanding Officer-In-Charge of the military were to also visit Maryland and River Gee counties to hold meetings with chiefs and elders.