Buchanan – Several contractors implementing projects for ArcelorMittal Liberia in Grand Bassa County have threatened to stall the activities of the company, alleging delays in payments and accusing the company of putting them in additional debt.
By Elton Wroinbee Tiah, [email protected], Contributor
The contractors, including Wredyou Construction Company, Buchanan Business Services, Gbeh Contractors and Services Incorporated, Gbaryah Development Association Incorporated, and Buchanan Construction Engineering and Constructions Incorporated, were hired to construct town halls and other projects within ArcelorMittal’s affected communities.
These projects are funded by ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML) from the 20% County Social Development Fund meant for affected communities in Grand Bassa. AML annually provides one million United States Dollars as the County Social Development Fund for Grand Bassa, with an additional 20% of the amount allocated for affected communities.
According to the contractors, they have written to the Grand Bassa Project Management Committee, headed by Moses Henry, informing him about the alleged delay from the company in releasing their payments after they pre-financed the projects, but there has been no redress.
The contractors, led by Justin A. B. Tarr, mentioned that some of the town hall, market, and teacher’s quarter projects have been completed, while others are at 75% completion due to the lack of funds to continue.
“We are separately building the Moore Town Hall, Dirt Hole Community Town Hall, Fanti Town Hall, Fairground Town Hall, Big Joe Town, Kpue’s Town School, Gorblee Fencing project, St. John Teacher’s Quarter, and Maternal Waiting Home in rural parts of Grand Bassa County,” Tarr stated.
He furthered, “Many of us took loans to implement the projects with the hope of repaying the money we took from people, but the delay from ArcelorMittal Liberia has landed some of us in jail, specifically Mr. Paul Willie of the Gbaryah Development Association Incorporated.” Tarr mentioned that they have also engaged Grand Bassa Superintendent Eddie Williams, who promised to communicate with ArcelorMittal to have their money paid, but the company has allegedly downplayed the Superintendent’s calls.
“We have been running behind ArcelorMittal Liberia for our money for more than six (6) months now, but they will provide different dates for payments, and they won’t pay.”
The angry contractors recently protested at the Superintendent’s office, demanding County Leadership’s intervention, but their efforts have yielded no results. They have threatened to block the train track and ArcelorMittal’s main entrances until their money is paid to avoid being jailed by vendors from whom they took loans.
However, Grand Bassa Project Management Committee Chairman Moses Henry confirmed that the company owes the contractors, and they have been communicating with the company to expedite payment, something Henry says they have promised to do in the soonest possible time.
“Some of the contractors were dragged to court by those they took loans from, and it’s embarrassing for their companies, but ArcelorMittal Liberia told us they will handle it very soon.”
Meanwhile, ArcelorMittal Liberia was contacted on several occasions through its Communications Manager Winston Daidyu, who promised to respond but to no avail.
On Friday, November 17, a communication was forwarded to Mr. Daidyu via WhatsApp, calls were placed on Monday, November 20, and Tuesday, November 21, but Daidyu has reneged on answering calls or responding to messages.