Accountability Crisis Hangs Over Senator Conmany Wesseh
Monrovia – In perhaps the biggest controversial issue since an audit report was released on River Gee County, a group of citizens hailing from the region has dumped hundreds of files exposing the lack of clarity by the county’s most high profile leader, Conmany Wesseh, on the county development.
The River Gee Redemption Movement in a communication to FrontPage Africa disagreed with a recent statement made by Senator Wesseh in the US on how money taken from the County Development Fund was expended.
According to the group, the Senator statement to the Liberia Associations of Metropolitan Atlanta (LAMA) Town Hall meeting Wednesday, May 17, 2017; in the Georgia State was in contradiction to a GAC audit on the usage of funds appropriated for the county’s development.
Section 32, subpart 1, 2, and 3 of the PPC Act, 2005, Section VII of the Budget Law of 2007/2008; provides for “a committee to assist the management of projects in the counties through an election in a special county development council meeting that is chaired by each county caucus chairman.
But the group registered that River Gee did not hold a council meeting that would formulate the Project Management Committee to effect the change of signatures in the account.
They record Senator Wesseh for admitting that a local company GRADA received $43,000.00 United States Dollars from River Gee County Development Fund to carry-out development projects in River Gee County but expressed reservation that said company was established by the senator to control development fund.
They complained that the establishment of GRANDA was illegitimate and constituted corrupt practices.
In a communication to FrontPage Africa Monday, the group points to withdrawal and direct charges in the audit report, which created a running balance for the period under review, something they noted the senator refused to spell out.
“The ineligibility and illegal establishment of GRADA at the time of receiving United States Dollars of $43,000.00 of River Gee County’s Development Fund and the credibility of the Audit Report as bases of the people of River Gee County concerns,” the statement said.
River Gee Redemption Movement detailed that River Gee County received US$166,666 for FY 2006/2007 and US$200,000 for FY2007/2008 from the County Development Fund totaling US$366,666 with an opening cash balance of US$10,022.92 as well as an unrelated CDF income of US$16,967 which amounted to US$393,656.59
The group revealed that, instead of US$43,000 mentioned by Senator Wesseh, a total of US$387,264.16 was withdrawn from the River Gee County Development Ecobank Account for the period under audit.
Furthermore, funds in the tune of US$48,126.48 were reportedly taken from the 2008/2009 CDF for projects financed under the 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 respectively, 70 percent of which was awarded to GRADA.
They argue that Senator Wesseh’s assertion of spending additional US$23,000 outside the county development fund is untrue.
The group at the same time points out that GRADA was contracted to the Potupo District Commissioner’s Compound for US$42,772.76 as stated by the audit report.
“The Potupo District Commissioner’s compound contract was awarded to GRADA for US$42,772.76; according to the Audit Report and Senator Conmany Wesseh’s admittance during the Georgia State’s Town Hall Meeting.”
“However, from document made available from the audit, two payments which totaled US$29,940.94, were made to GRADA,” River Gee Redemption Movement stated.
They named as unrealistic and untrue, Senator Wesseh statement that USD$66,000.00 was spent for the construction of the Commissioner’s Compound in Jatoken, Pallipo District without providing clarity on how said amount was expended.
The Movement in the same time raised concern that there were only two signatories to the county’s account something he said contravened the budget law of Liberia.
River Gee County Superintendent and his Assistant are said to be the only two signatories to the County Development Fund account.
“Despite the training provided by CDSS in August 2007, there are evidences to point to that both Superintendent Sampson and Assistant Superintendent Nyepan signed payment vouchers, with several checks booked on the Bank statement in the name of Assistant Superintendent Nyepan. One such instance is the Project for the construction of the River Gee County Administrative Building Generator House.”
The group observed that though the County Authorities indicated that the project was done by GRADA, instead of making payment to GRADA, check #517467 in the amount of US$5,317.50 was made in the name of Assistant Superintendent for Development & PMC Chairman, Jackson C. Nyepan.
Said check was reportedly booked on the Bank Statement, obtained from ECOBANK, on 26 March 2008 which the local body believed breached the Liberian budget law.
As a result of this River Gee Redemption Movement wants Superintendent J. Karku Sampson and Jackson Nyepan be held liable for violation of Section 32, subpart 1,2 and 3 of the PPCC Act, 2005, section VII of the budget law of 2007/2008.
Any person who contravenes any provision of this Act commits an offence and a person convicted under this Act shall, upon summary conviction be liable to a fine or a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or both.
They at the same time stated that Senator Wesseh admittance to withdrawal of funds constitute a violation since the contract awarded to GRADA did not go through a bidding process.
“In a communication dated July 22, 2010; the Ministry informed the Auditors that GRADA is NOT in its (Ministry’s) registry and does not therefore exists as a registered entity as of July, 2010; and also during the Audit Report. See exhibit 6B of the Audit Report,” the group asserted.
Meanwhile, the River Gee Redemption Movement wants Senator Wesseh to give a comprehensive audited report on the US$43,000.00 for the Superintendent Compound project.