Liberia: US$82K Bong County Project in Ruins
Gbarnga, Bong County – Bong County’s superintendent compound, which was built in 1975, is now a hideout for a gang of criminals and toilet for residents who live nearby.
Report by Selma Lomax, [email protected]
In 2009, the county spent US$82,000 from the County and Social Development Fund to renovate the building located in the Civil Compound community in Gbarnga.
The building is the official residence of the superintendent of Bong.
On a recent tour of the building, our reporter found feces, cigarette butts, mats – an indication that people are squatting in the building.
Nearby residents said criminal gangs, who live in the dilapidate compound, attack them at night.
Beatrice Kulle said a gang snatched on phone when she was passing in front of the compound on the evening of September 2.
“I was making a call when the person came from in the Superintendent’s compound and snatched the phone from my ears,” she recalled.
Francis Papay, who lives in the Civil Compound community, says usually sees a group of young people smoking in the compound at night.
“They come here every night at about 12am,’’ he said. “And when they come they will embarrass us with smoking all night. We are afraid of them.”
Anthony Sheriff, the county’s assistant superintendent for development, said it is embarrassing that a building that was constructed with taxpayers’ money lies in ruins.
In March last year, a violent storm deroofed the building, prompting Superintendent Esther Walker to move in her own home along the Demeta road in Gbarnga City.
Walker said she moved to her residence she could no longer host her relatives.
“The condition of the building is an embarrassment to her leadership,” Superintendent Walker said.
“We transfer people (government officials) to guest houses because the superintendent’s compound is down.”
Steve Mulbah, head of the Project Management Committee (PMC), said US$ 50,000 allotted by delegates during last year’s County development sitting to renovate the building.
The delay in the commencement of project, Mulbah added, is due to the procurement proceeding, which lasts up to two or three months.
The PMC is optimistic that in the next two weeks the county will begin to roll out the implementation of new projects,” Mulbah said.
Mulbah added that there are 22 civil works (construction and renovation of structures) including bridges, schools, clinics and road projects that are set to begin.
“We can’t get all the projects started at the same time due to limited funding from the concession companies,” he said.
Mulbah added that Bong County in February and June received 50 percent in the tune of US$1.1 million out of US$2.2 million as Social and County Development Fund from government.
Mulbah is urging leaders of the county to put aside their political differences and work towards achieving the county development priorities.
“Ahead of the 2020 senatorial elections there seems to be political uprising between members of the caucus which could stall the development of the county,” Mulbah added.
“Bong County will not achieve anything when leaders of the county (members of the county who want are aspiring to become senators in 2020) continue to fight each other.”