Liberia: Bong Legislative Caucus Suspend Pair Over Unauthorized Payments
Gbarnga, Bong County – The Bong Legislative Caucus has suspended two members of the county’s project management committee on charges of unauthorized payments against the decision of the November 18, 2019 County Council Sitting, overpaying contractors and overpaying staffers of the Project Management Committee.
The caucus took the decision to suspend the chair of the Project Management Committee Steve Mulbah and Comptroller Abraham Kollie on October 8 following its emergency meeting.
The caucus decision stemmed from allegations by the Fiscal Superintendent Paul Sulunteh that Mulbah unilaterally increased his salary from US$1000 to US$ 2000 without the consent of members of the project Management Committee and the caucus, while other members of the PMC, according to Sulunteh, unilaterally increased their salaries. “The PMC headed by Steven J. Mulbah unilaterally increased his salary from US$1,000 to US$ 2,000 without any justifiable cause. Also, the Comptroller, Abraham Kollie, also increased his salary by 50 percent. I think this is unfair to the county. We should not be using the social development funds as a cash cow while several abandoned projects left to decay,” Sulunteh said.
Mulbah, who contacted by our reporter, remained coy on Sulunteh’s allegations.
The caucus, through its secretary Marvin Cole, lawmaker of Bong’s District Three, said the two PMC members remain suspended until audits are conducted on the social development fund.
Cole said the caucus has written the General Auditing Commission (GAC) to conduct an audit on the Bong County Social Development Funds accounts commencing from January 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020 and the leadership of Mulbah since he took over the helm of the PMC.
“The decision is intended to help us ensure firm accountability,” Rep Cole said.
But FrontPage Africa has gathered that a segment of lawmakers from Bong caucus including Deputy House Speaker and lawmaker of District Two, Prince Moye, District Four lawmaker Robert Womba, Moima Briggs-Mensah of District six and Senator Henrique Tokpa refused to signed a communication sent to Auditor General Yousador Gaye.
Those who signed the document requesting for audit of the Social Development Fund include Rep Marvin Cole of District Three, Senator Henry Yallah, Joseph Papa Kolleh of District seven, Rep. Edward Karfiah of District Six and Junior Hills of electoral district one.
The decision by a faction of caucus members to request for an audit of the County Social Development Fund has been condemned by residents of the county. Eldorado Kermue, a resident of Gbarnga, said the sincerity of leaders of the county claimed to have been tested by the ‘majority bloc’s” willingness to request for an audit of the social development fund. “I strongly feel those lawmakers who have requested for an audit of the social development funds of the county are leaders who have demonstrated sincerity and love for county. This should educate our people who to vote for in December senatorial election,” he said.
Another Gbarnga resident, Jeremiah Tokpa heaped praises on the caucus for suspending the two Project Management Committee staff for allegedly going contrary against a mandate reached during the November county council sitting, stating that the decision of the caucus demonstrates a commitment to fighting graft.