Liberia: As Water & Sewer Employees Remain Unpaid for Months, Leaked Audio Reveals US$900k Being Paid to Contractor; Deputy MD Under Probe for ‘Leaking’ Recorded Conversation
MONROVIA – The Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWCS) has announced that the Corporations’ Deputy Managing Director for Finance, Sensee J. Morris has been placed under investigation by the national security apparatus for allegedly leaking confidential documents.
At a press conference on Tuesday, the Communications Manager of the LWSC, Nixon Todd told reporters that Mr. Morris was a probable culprit of the act due to personal greed.
“Clearly, it is our Deputy Managing Director for Finance, Hon. Sensee Morris [who leaked the recordings] because of personal greed. He is being investigated currently by the National Security Apparatus. He is being investigated at the request of management,”
In recent days, leaked audio recordings from the LWSC have been making rounds on the social media platforms.
In one of the recordings, the LWSC’s Managing Director, Duannah Kamara can be heard in a heated verbal exchange with his deputy Morris over the withdrawer of some US$99,000 from a local bank account.
Morris claimed that he halted the withdrawer of the fund because he was not aware of the transactions; while Mr. Kamara complained that Morris’ action has caught the attention of Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel Tweah and he (Tweah) was demanding answers.
“The Minister of Finance just got to me to raise his concern but I have authorized the payment already. And then the bank’s president is aware. So, we already authorized it. The Minister of Finance is aware; they just want to understand why was it stopped,” Kamara said.
But Morris hit back, contending that he was acting in the right direction, and was not afraid to defend his action before the Finance Minister, let alone the President.
“But MD [Managing Director], don’t be putting fear in me because you know that I will not be afraid. The Finance Minister himself can ask me, I will explain. I am not afraid of anybody. I can even tell the President,”
In another recording, two males, claiming to be staff of the LWSC were heard discussing about an alleged fuel theft at the LWSC station in Caldwell. One of the discussants was heard informing his colleagues that he got an intel from a friend that two fuel tanks were arrested during late night hours with 27,000 gallons of fuel confiscated from one of the tankers, while one was released.
‘No Foul Play’
The recordings have raised eyebrows among a large segment of the public with some speculating that there are massive corruption going on at the LWSC.
However, Mr. Todd said there was no fowl play in the withdrawal of the fund and there has been no report of any criminal activity at the fuel station in Caldwell.
He explained that the US$99,000 in question was fund intended to pay a sub-contractor of the LWSC called hydroconseil. He said the firm was hired to conduct feasibility studies, design and prepare tender documents for the construction of civil and mechanical works to improve water delivery to Paynesville and Central Monrovia. The project, he said is sponsored by the world Bank.
‘Management Not doing Enough’
Meanwhile, what appear to be an internal wrangling and mistrust among top officials of the LWSC is happening at a time the LWSC is been criticized for not doing enough to improve the sector.
Appearing before the House of Representatives in April 2021, Mr. Kamara and his team were chastised by Reps. Solomon George (District #7, Montserrado County) and Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis (District #4, Montserrado Co.) for not being up to the task.
Rep. George alleged that he has taken Mr. Kamara along with him to India and connected him with potential investors and partners but he squandered the opportunity.
Rep. Dennis said LWSC is one of the most ineffective entities of government owing to the management’s failure to properly maintained several water stations constructed with support from the African Development Bank, while the head office of the Corporation in Monrovia lies in filth.
The lawmakers spoke in response to Managing Director Kamara when he blamed the country’s failed sewage system to the huge population size of Monrovia and limited budgetary support to the entity. Kamara told the lawmakers that it would take up to US$100 million to build Liberia water and sewage system.