Liberia: Rep. Samuel Kogar to Initiate Litigation against the Weah-led Government over US$6.8 Million Owed Nimba County
Capitol Hill, Monrovia – Representative Samuel Kogar (District #5, Nimba County) has vowed to take the Liberian Government to court if it does not pay the county social development fund in the tune of US$6.8 million within a month.
Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh, [email protected]
Rep. Kogar, in a letter to the Plenary of the House on Tuesday, June 30, said since 2017, the government has failed to pay Nimba County’s share of the Social Development Fund (SDF) paid by Arcelor Mittal in the tune of US$6 million.
In addition, he said the Government has refused to disburse the County Development Fund (CDF) in the tune of US$800,000 appropriated in the national budget.
The situation, he said is undermining the implementation of several development projects in the county.
“Colleagues of this Honorable body, in honest it will interest you that all the earth moving or yellow machines are grounded due to delay in the payment of the CDF/SDF, thus stalling our service delivery to the people of Nimba County that we vouched for constitutionally,” Kogar wrote to plenary.
The action by the government, he noted, was not only irritating, but “equally an intellectual tragedy for the current breed of legislators of Nimba to repeat the mistake of the past considering the huge operation of LAMCOs in ‘60s that witness the extraction of high quality grade old, thus leaving no tangible impact on the lives of our people.”
He revealed the first post war Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) was signed in 2006 between the government and Arcelor Mittal.
In the agreement, the company made a commitment to pay US$3 million to the three affected counties including Bong, Grand Bassa and Nimba every year. And of this amount, US$1.5 million was apportioned to Nimba as the most effected county.
Writing further, he stated it was appalling to note that despite Nimba contributing over 30 percent of the domestic revenue in Liberia, its citizens continue to struggle at the lowest rung of the economic ladder.
He indicated that depriving the county of its legitimate share of the CDF/SDF is not only creating a dent on the social contract between the company and the county, it is also disservice to the people of Nimba.
His advocacy, he said is in line with the 2019/2020 budget that called for a revenue sharing between the central government and the counties for excess budgetary revenue collected from real property taxes and all social development funds to be transferred directly to the affected county escrowed accounts.
“I may resort to ligation if payment is not made within a month as of the date of this communication,” he warned.
Kogar also requested the plenary to invite the Minister of Finance and Development Planning to state reasons why the ministry has not disbursed the money to the county.
His request was granted, and the House voted in favor of a motion proffered by fellow Nimba County lawmaker Jeremiah Koung citing Minister Tweah this Thursday, July 2, 2020.