Liberia: Suspicious US$49,995 Transaction at Liberia Water & Sewer Corporation

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MONROVIA FrontPageAfrica has obtained a communication sent to the Management of Monrovia Club Breweries by the Liberia Water & Sewer Corporation requesting the entity to make advanced payment on its monthly bill to a private company.

This incident as per the document FrontPageAfrica received occurred in May 2021. However, a source within the Corporation informed FrontPageAfrica that it has been a regular practice carried by the LWSC under the watch of Duannah Kamara and the Managing Director.

Though it is indicated by the LWSC that the US$49,995 was advance payment for the months of May and June 2021, the managing director in a communication to the general manager of Monrovia Club Breweries stated that the payment was for the payment of water treatment chemicals.

The communication verbatim:

Dear Prof. Oniyama:

As per our conversation regarding the extra pumping hours by the Technical department, we hereby authorize you to please issue cash payment to Moinou Solo Bility Business Entity for the acquisition of water treatment chemicals as stated below, said amount will be prorated against our bill.

Aluminum Sulphate _______465 bags at US$80     = US$37,200

HTH ___________________45 buckets at US$24  = US$11,925

Lime ___________________ 87 bags at US$10     = US$870

Total _________________________________          US$49,995.00

We anticipate your fullest consideration in this regard to enable us continuously pump water to serve our valued customers.

Best regards,

Duannah A. Kamara

Managing Director

When contacted for comments, the Public Relations Department of the LWSC told FrontPageAfrica that the Corporation has a contract with Moinou Solo Bility Business Entity for the supply of treatment chemicals. According to the department, in cases where the Corporation does not have the funding for the chemicals, it implores the financial help of some big clients like Club Breweries in order to get the needed materials when they have issues.

FrontPageAfrica has not been able to independently verify whether Moinou Solo Bility Business Entity won the contract through a National Competitive Bidding process and the LWSC management refused to give FrontPageAfrica a copy of the contract for verification.

Reviewing the same document obtained by FrontPageAfrica, a former high-ranking executive of LWSC said, “All bills to the Corporation are to be paid to the Corporation, and then the corporation pays for chemicals after bidding and PPCC processes have been completed.”

He said such a communication leaves the impression that someone wants Club Breweries to pay the bills into a different account so that they can easily collect and divert the money.

The former LWSC executive who expressed regrets at the extent to which the Corporation has retrogressed but asked for anonymity further stated, “No money should go from a customer to a supplier.  Even if it was an absolute emergency, it should have come to the Corporation and then the Corporation pays the vendor.  And even then, there should have been a PPCC approved process for bidding or sole sourcing.”

According to him, expediency does not allow anyone to break the law, and Club Beer can surely not dictate how LWSC should receive payments.  

The LWSC Bill Payment Policy states that when a customer receives a bill, the customer proceeds to the designated banks of Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation namely Ecobank and Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) to deposit. After deposits to the account, the customer then moves to any convenient location hosting LWSC Cashiers with a deposit slip to obtain a valid official receipt.

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