15 November 2012

Liberia: Bong County PMC Under Threat - Caucus Seeks Re-Application

Members of the Bong County Legislative Caucus have asked elected members of the county's Project Management Committee to apply to the caucus despite two years to their end of tenure.

The Project Management Committee is comprised of three persons, who are responsibility to manage all finances for the county. They are to be elected every two years by delegates from the various districts of Bong based on the budget law.

In a letter to the PMC, the Chairperson of the Bong County Legislative Caucus Hon. George Sylvester Mulbah said county authorities have agreed to set up a new committee to manage the county's finances, leaving the present members with a chance to apply for their posts which is a contradiction of the new budget law.

The PMC was only responsible for the management of US$ 200,000 provided by government for the county, but the 2012/2013 budget law mandates the PMC to oversee all finances in the county, including county development and social development funds.

Hon. Mulbah's letter furthered that the positions currently occupied by the PMC members no longer exist and that theUS$200,000 they were managing will be added to the social development fund for the county.

He told one of the community radio stations in Bong that he stands by the decision and if any of the PMC members feels this was a transgression of the law that person should go to court.

According to the Bong Lawmaker, if this was done in Margibi County, why it shouldn't be in Bong County, stressing that this latest decision will not be reversed, and that public sentiment will not interfere.

Some members of the Bong County Legislative Caucus including Hon. Mulbah have complained of the PMC members not taking instructions from them relative to financial issues as they seem very bureaucratic in their way of disbursing finances, especially with some local financial experts on the committee.

The current PMC members were elected last year when current Superintendent Selena Polson Mappay formed part of the Salala District delegation prior to her appointment by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

The PMC escape its first dismissal when Madam Mappay took over and issued a public service announcement, calling for application, but she quickly ordered the announcement halted after gathering that its tenure was not over.

It appears that Hon. Mulbah's recent request for US$5,000 to complete a project in one of the towns in his district was questioned after members of the PMC sent an assessment team to verify whether a project was actually on the ground, but the team discovered that the lawmaker had no project in the area.

This action by the lawmaker met bitter criticism in many quarters in Bong with citizens urging lawmakers not to break laws they have made because of personal greed.

Staff of Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, including her political advisor Marvin Cole condemned the lawmaker's action and called on him to refrain as it is in violation of the budget law.

Bong County is currently the recipient of more than US$2 million annually as social benefit from concession companies operating in the county, excluding 200,000 provided by the government each year as county development fund.

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