The New Dawn (Monrovia)

4 December 2012

Liberia: Bong PMC in Disarray

The former comptroller of the Project Management Committee (PMC) of Bong County Emmanuel Diabolo has disclosed plan to take the Bong County Legislative Caucus to court for unlawfully dismissing him.

Mr. Diabolo said he is currently consulting his religious advisors and friends on whether to take the Caucus to court for what he termed contravening the budget law. The former PMC Comptroller said due to the wrong dismissal, several lawyers from the Bar Association of Liberia have volunteered their services to plead for him if he decides to go to court to challenge the action.

Prior to the recent county sitting, the Chairman of the Bong County Legislative Caucus George Sylvester Mulbah and some members of the caucus asked elected members of the Project Management Committee to re-apply on grounds that the new budget law has given the PMC mandate to control both the county social development fund and the county development fund, which contravenes the budget.

Mr. Diabolo was the only PMC member, who never applied to the caucus on grounds that he was elected. He has been accused by Representative Mulbah of disclosing financial information to the public, especially when he said the county has more than US$100,000 in its coffer from the previous budget year.

The recent county sitting was the most controversial ever with civil society members staging a sit-in protest at the Gbarnga Administration Building during a development meeting. The protestors claimed they were invited to the meeting as observers rather than delegates, which they noted was a clear attempt to prevent them from having their views heard.

As per the budget law, development priorities should be decided by delicate from the various districts, but Hon. Mulbah took with him a long list of projects already earmarked for implementation and wanted delegates in attendance to endorse.

Mulbah appointed a three-member PMC and asked delegates applaud the decision. "These are the people who will now spearhead financial activities in this county and we don't need people who will be disclosing financial information; this is a confidential position" he stated.

As Hon. Mulbah was calling his new PMC members on stage, the former comptroller woke up and asked for an opportunity to speak, but was not allowed. Mr. Diabolo then took the microphone to speak, but was resisted by Hon. Mulbah and Superintendent Selena Polson Mappay, who wrestled with the former comptroller to retrieve the microphone from him as delegates sat and watch.

Diabolo accused Hon. Mulbah, who chairs the Bong Legislative Caucus of physically assaulting him during the recent county sitting. He disclosed that the physical assault on stage, has created serious psychological trauma for him, thereby leaving him vulnerable.

Relations between Hon. Mulbah and PMC members deteriorated when members of the body especially former comptroller Emmanuel Diabolo refused to make money available to the lawmaker after he requested US$500,000 to complete a purported project, but when members of the PMC dispatched an assessment team to the town, it was noticed that there was no project on the ground.

Mulbah and members of the Bong County Legislative Caucus continue to receive criticism from the public for disbanding the PMC that was elected by delegates from the various districts in 2011 with a three years mandate.

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