Liberia: RIA Road Fiasco Highlights How Weah Govt. Getting Things Dead Wrong 

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LIBERIA IS NO DOUBT in need of infrastructural development, mainly roads, and the eagerness of the Liberian people to see good roads is so high.

BEFORE PRESIDENT ELLEN JOHNSON-SIRLEAF left office, she had made some level of progress on construction of roads by connecting Buchanan to Monrovia, Ganta to Monrovia, SKD Boulevard to 72nd as well as sourcing funding for continuation of roads construction across the country.

THE JAPANESE FREEWAY formerly Somalia Drive, Red Light to ELWA Junction and other essential feeder roads funding was already sourced by the Sirleaf’s administration pending full implementation.

WHEN PRESIDENT GEORGE Manneh Weah took power in January 2018 his administration immediately took off from where President Sierra ended by continuing the construction of roads in Monrovia, immediate environs and other parts of the country.

PRESIDENT WEAH QUICKLY announced an ambitious plan to construct what he termed a ‘coastal highway’ that would run from Monrovia to Grand Kru and other southeastern counties. 

THAT HIGHLY-TALK PROMISE of a Coastal Highway is now completely an unfulfilled promise with election less than one year away. 

TO SOLIDIFY ITS POSITION and show to the Liberian people that it remains firmed on the political promise to build more roads, the Weah-led regime commenced the construction of the RIA- Monrovia highway, the only direct route from the country’s only international airport  -Roberts International to the Capital City.

SO EARLY, THE GOVERNMENT awarded the contract for the construction of the road to East International, a company with no known record of local or international performance in road construction prior to being awarded such a huge task to construct an important corridor.

WITHIN THE SHORT TIME, East International started digging deep holes on the RIA road without creating corridors for motorists to ply while the construction is ongoing.

THE ROAD HAS NOW TURNED a death trap where on at least two occasions vehicles have fallen in the deep pit resulting to serious injuries and damage of properties.  Commuting on the road has become very dangerous especially at night because the detours are not very visible enough on the dark road to provide enough security and direction for drivers.

AGAINST THE BACKDROP of these difficulties and risk being faced by motorists, Public Minister Ruth C. Collins told the Liberian Senate Committee on Public Works that that East International does not have the technical and financial capacity to implement the RIA road project.

THE LATEST STATEMENT by the Public Works Minister as head of the ministry that spearheaded the selection of East International brings to mind the numerous errors by the Weah-led government and how the government is getting many important things dead wrong.

IF THERE IS NO ROAD that should be constructed to the best international standard, it should be the RIA road as it is the road that should give the entire Liberia a facelift in the eyes of travelers, visitors and international guests.

THE IMPRESSION THE RIA road will provide visitors and international guests will leave a good image and impression of Liberia and as such it is one of the roads that should be highly prioritized by the Government of Liberia, therefore it is so worrisome and appalling how such a big contract was awarded to an incapable company. 

IT IS SOMETHING THAT EXPOSES the corrupt and weak nature of decision making under the President Weah.It is widely reported that East International has strong links to former Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill, who was reportedly making all the decisions while serving in the position before he was eventually placed on the Global Magnitsky Sanction by the United States. 

EVEN THE MINISTER of Public Works who is now making these startling revelations about the incapacity of East International is not off the hook, as her ministry presided over the technical aspect of the qualification of the bidders for the RIA road project.

MINISTER COLLINS FAILED the Liberian people in performing her role as the Minister of Public Works who should supervise and ensure that companies that are awarded projects for construction of roads, bridges and other infrastructure meet the requirements to perform.

THE PUBLIC WORKS MINISTER is even shifting her responsibility to the Liberian Senate by calling on the Senators to review the contract awarded to East International.

AS AN OFFICIAL of the Executive Branch of Government, Minister Collins and other technicians are well placed to advice the National Legislature on issues of technical capacity of contractors, something she failed to do before the contract was awarded to East International.

IF CONTRACT FOR A MAJOR road corridor can be awarded to a company that lacks the financial and technical capacity to deliver, one may wonder what more about feeder roads across the country as it is glaring that many of these roads being constructed short-live.

FOR EXAMPLE, the Bishop Michael Francis Road, which was constructed under President Weah’s regime is already breaking apart and many other feeder roads are cracking and having potholes in such a short period.

ALL THESE POINT to the incapacity of contractors and the fraudulent and corrupt manner and form in which these contractors are awarded the contracts for roads construction.

MINISTER COLLINS and President Weah should be ashamed of themselves for the misrule, the greed for wealth and the corrupt way of handling the affairs of the country. 

IT IS SHAMEFUL for the Minister of Public Works to label a contractor that was vetted and awarded contract as being financially and technically incapable to perform.

PRESIDENT WEAH is getting many things dead wrong and holding the country back by squandering the good opportunities to make an impact on the development drive of the country.

THE GREED AND THIRST for wealth is making President Weah and his officials to hold the country back as they are only fighting to amass wealth, acquire properties and living extravagant lifestyles.

RIA ROAD FIASCO is just one of the many things going dead wrong with the Weah government and we hope some form of accountable will be come in force someday to make people answer for their wrongdoings. 

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