Liberia: US$9.5K County Development Fund Money Missing In Bong
Gbarnga, Bong County – A US$9,950 (nine thousand nine hundred fifty United States dollars) development fund intended to procure a mower for the superintendent’s residence and the presidential palace in Gbarnga is unaccounted for even as documents in the possession of FrontPageAfrica show that the leadership of Superintendent Esther Walker paid the money to a local vendor in Gbarnga to procure the material.
The money was sourced following the 2018 County Council Sitting from which US$75,000 was allotted as ‘administrative cost’ for the county leadership.
Documents in the possession of FrontPageAfrica show that the leadership of Bong County, through Superintendent Walker, paid the full amount to the Hin-Dweh business center on January 31, 2020.
But both Superintendent Walker and Moses Manston, manager of the Hin-Dweh business center in Gbarnga, have denied knowledge about the transaction of the money. Manston, in a FrontPage Africa interview Saturday, said: “I don’t know about any transaction involving my business center. I have done transactions with the county leadership but not with this amount in question,” he said. “I have had transactions with the county
Manston said he was shocked that his entity’s name was highlighted in the expenditures of the county for the year under review when he had no idea of such transaction. “This is surprising to me. I am totally unaware about what’s going. I didn’t receive a damn from the county leadership in my entity’s name,” he said.
Superintendent Walker, for her part, said she didn’t know that the county had paid US$ 9,950 to a local contractor for a grass cuter though it has was resoluted during the 2018 county counsel sitting. “Not to my knowledge,” she said, stating that she was going to launch an investigation into the matter.
FrontPage Africa has gathered that Manston received US$1,000 as kickback from Superintendent, who reportedly collected US$ 8,000 from Manston after he collected the money from the bank.
Anthony Sheriff, Bong’s assistant superintendent for development, told FrontPage Africa, that Walker received ordered the payment of the money to Manston and later went and collected US$ 8,000 from him. “Yes, it’s true that Manston received the money from the county and later withdrew it. My understanding is the superintendent later requested Manston to give her the money,” he said.
Asked whether the county purchased the grass cuter, Sheriff responded in the negative, saying: “Since 2018 the county hasn’t purchased anything grass cuter in that regard. I don’t know what has happened to the money but all I can tell you is that the county paid the money to Moses Manston and we have documents to show that,” he said.
Paul Sulonteh, Bong’s superintendent for fiscal affairs, who is one of three signatories to the county account, admitted that the leadership of the county paid the amount of US$ 9, 950 to Manston but was astonished that no material has been purchased yet. “Manston and the Superintendent might agree as to what happened to the money. Documents are in our possession to disprove their assertions that they don’t know that the money. The superintendent mandated us to pay Hin-Dweh business center and I am shocked that she has said that she doesn’t know how the county leadership paid Hin-Dweh the sum of US$ 9,950,” he said.
This is not the first time Walker has been implicated in financial misapplication. In 2019, Superintendent Walker used US$ 4,000 provided by MNG Gold mining company for her personal trip to Ghana.
Walker didn’t report on funds received from the concession company or any individual.