Liberia: NTA Boss, a German Citizen, Airlifted, Abandons Post Amid COVID-19
Monrovia – Over the past two months, the European Union arranged two special flight for the repatriation of EU citizens and residents from Liberia since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic: One flight took off on April 6, 2020 and another on May 27, 2020.
Report by Rodney D. Sieh, [email protected]
FrontPageAfrica has learned that Mr. Herbie Teconbla McCauley, Managing Director of the National Transit Authority, a German citizen, was among those airlifted on April 6.
The EU in Liberia recorded that around 150 European citizens and residents were flown back from Liberia and The Gambia to Berlin on a chartered aircraft. “In Liberia, 40 citizens from different nationalities boarded the flight. EU Ambassador and the Delegation staff collaborated closely with Germany and Liberian authorities. The EU Delegation wishes to express its gratitude to the Liberian authorities for making this flight possible. The EU Delegation provided logistical support to the German Embassy to ensure a smooth and effective operation of the flight at the airport,” according to a statement posted on the EU’s website after the May 27 flight.
Since his departure, the entity, created in 1977 as a department of the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) to provide affordable mass transit service to the residents of Monrovia, has been without a leader during the crucial pandemic period.
Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee could not be reached for comment and Mr. McCauley did not return a text message seeking a response.
FPA has also gathered that Mr. MaCauley and his principal deputies, despite receiving salaries from the Ministry of Finance, are also being paid in house at NTA instead puting money into the Liberia Revenue Authority.
PPCC IGNORED IN US$500K Deal
Additionally, documents in possession of FrontPageAfrica show that Mr. McCauley recently signed a contract with the Senegalese firm, Numherit SA for the processing of the National Transport Network valued at US$500,000(Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars), without the required Public Procurement Concessions Commission.
Under the Public-Private Partnership Agreement, NUMHERIT and the NTA agree to collaborate in the development of a digital platform that will automate all systems, processes, and formalities related to Liberia’s national transport network and also monitor its performance. The platform will also allow the NTA to access various services such as the purchases and payments of dematerialized tickets, the geolocation of buses, the internet on buses and allow NTA to have a tracking solution, internal video surveillance on buses and an integrated management system to manage all administrative and technical-commercial operations.
FPA has also gathered that Mr. MaCauley and his principal deputies, despite receiving salaries from the Ministry of Finance, are also being paid in the house at NTA instead of putting money into the Liberia Revenue Authority.
NUMHERIT, as part of the partnership with NTA will act as developer of the platform and co-operator of related services(advertising network), in particular by ensuring the implementation of the development and integration processes of the services and products offered.
The five-year contract signed with the Senegalese firm, Numherit SA is aimed at installing cameras on all NTA buses and the construction of a new bus terminal.
Transportation Fare Increase Likely
FrontPageAfrica has also learned that as part of the deal, the NTA is planning to increase transportation fares for commuters, a glaring contradiction to the George Weah-led government’s effort to holistically address the challenge of poverty in Liberia with emphasis on affordable public transportation.
The Weah administration has prioritize, at least on paper, a policy that would facilitate the safe movement of people and goods within and out of the country at affordable cost and would further expand and enhance national development agenda – to reduce poverty, create more jobs and stimulate domestic trade and commerce.