Liberia: Bong Legislative Caucus Quarrel over US$50k Disbursed to District 3
GBARNGA, Bong County – Members of the Bong Legislative Caucus are divided over an amount of US$50,000 was disbursed to electoral district three without a county sitting resolution.
Report by Selma Lomax, [email protected]
Decco Incorporated, a Nigerian oil company, last month gave the leadership of Bong County the money for an oil exploration the company carried out in electoral district three.
The company paid the money into the county’s account following an unsuccessful exploration in the district.
The county’s superintendent, Esther Walker, Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf and the head of the Project Management Committee, Steve Mulbah agreed to pay the money to electoral district three following a resolution reached with citizens of the district after consultations.
But a faction of the caucus including District#6 lawmaker, Moima Briggs, Deputy Speaker and District#2 Prince Moye, District#4 lawmaker, Robert Womba and Senator Henrique Tokpa are arguing that the money should not have been given to a single district.
Appearing on simulcast on Super Bongese and Radio Gbarnga last week, Rep. Moye said the superintendent, Steve Mulbah and the Ministry of Internal Affairs didn’t do due diligence with respect to Public Procurement and Concession Commission.
“I am not against a district receiving US$ 50,000 but the process should have passed through the rightful channel,” Rep. Moye said.
In her argument, Rep Briggs said the money should have been distributed among the 13 administrative districts because the oil exploration was done in Bong. “So, we should argue that money given to the county by other concession companies operating in other districts should be owned by that district?”
Rep Briggs claimed there was no extra county sitting to warrant an allocation to a district. “Was there any county council sitting for said money?”
In his defense, Rep Cole said Decco Incorporated didn’t sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Liberia as in the case of China Union and other concession companies in the county.
Rep Cole added: “There was nothing like an MOU between the country and Decco Incorporated. The resolution was reached between citizens of the district that the exploration was carried out.”
Asked whether he has violated the PPCC act, Rep Cole said: “PPCC can’t indict us because it’s clear here. There were no violations carried out.”