Liberia: Senate Committee Wants Disaster Commission Audited as Head of Entity Accused of Institutional and Financial Malpractices
Monrovia – The Liberian Senate Committee on Autonomous Agencies says it has requested the General Auditing Commission (GAC), the Internal Audit Agency (IAA) and the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) to investigate the National Disaster Committee.
Report by Henry Karmo, [email protected]
The Committee, chaired by Senator Milton Teahjay, said the request is a result of persistent and incessant media report of gross financial improprieties, theft of property, and misuse of institutional financial resources, and intentional non-compliance with the procurement protocols of the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) by Mr. Henry Williams, Executive Director of the entity.
All efforts to contact Williams through text messages and calls failed as his phone rang endlessly.
“The mentioned Senate Statutory Committee, in pursuit of its functions, is under constitutional obligation to ensure that where the public interest is threatened by gross misuse of Public trust and obvious abuse of national intuitional financial resources is reported.
“We must move quickly to take the necessary actions that will protect the interest of the Country. In this light, we hereby forward to you this communication from the Liberian Senate requesting the GAC to proceed expeditiously to conduct speedy investigation into allegations of financial misappropriation.”
In the communication, Senator Teahjay said, specifically, it has come to the attention of the Senate Committee on Autonomous Agencies and Commissions that, the Executive Director, Williams, has withdrawn various amount of money from the bank accounts of the agency and has used those amounts to his own advantage against the benefit of the agency.
The Maryland County Senator also stated in the communication that the Senate has been informed that Mr. Williams has received from an international donor, namely, Plan International, including direct cash payment from the office of the President of Liberian for the recent Nimba Landslide disaster and both amounts were utilized by Mr. Williams without going through the agencies’ banking procedure so as to undermine the transparency and accountability.
In an interview, Sen. Teahjay also told journalists that his committee has been reliably informed that upon Williams’ ascendency as Executive Director, he inherited a bank balance of US$281,517 for workers’ compensation, but he diverted said amount to his personal use rather than paying staffs.
The GAC is also expected to investigate, claims of using institutional resources to send abroad a dismissed female friend of his to Japan for Foreign studies when, in fact, that particular foreign study opportunity was intended for a qualified worker of the agency.
Williams is also accused of withdrawing from the agency’s account US$7,812 to do minor repairs on vehicle but only US$1,500 was used and the balance pocketed for personal use.
“Mr. Williams, with overbearing influence over Financial Comptroller of the entity, withdrew the amount of US$36,000 from the operational bank account of the agency under the pretext of putting tiles on the floor of the entity. Following this withdrawal and without following the procurement protocols of the PPCC, he spent only US$14,000 and pocketed the remainder.
“In view of the magnitude of these allegations reported by the media, the Senate Committee on autonomous Agencies and Commissions, which also has constitutional oversight over your agency, hereby directs that you proceed, to the extent possible, to conduct a timely and exhaustive investigation so as to determine if any laws, criminal or civil, have been violated by these behaviors herein cited.”