25 January 2013

Liberia: Rep. Ben Fofana Denies Receiving Bribe

Margibi County District Number Four Representative, Ben A. Fofana, has denied media reports of members of the Margibi County Legislative Caucus of ever receiving bribe to award contract for the rehabilitation of Kakata streets.

Rep. Fofana said as a member of the caucus, he is not clothed with the authority to speak for them but was rather speaking on his own behalf indicating that at no point in time did he receive money from any one or county administration as kickback to award contract to the MDMC Express,,Inc. owned by Mr. John Youboty.

Rep. Fofana strongly indicated that the insinuation that he was a part of a fifty thousand United States dollars deal to award the contract for the rehabilitation of Kakata streets is not true and such act is only intended to put him against his constituents adding " he is not aware nor have he told of any such deal, as doing so will bring his hard earned reputation to total disrepute.

The Margibi Representative however revealed that as far as he is concerned, there are several pending projects that still pending with many procedures involved and they, as members of the Legislative caucus of Margibi County have not participated in any meeting where we allotted a specific amount for any project in the county.

He however revealed that sometimes back in September of 2012 there was a submission made to them by the Superintendent of Margibi County, John Buway accompanied by any assessment, Bill Of Quantity,( BOQ) or design for the projects but rather submitted a matrix with several amounts listed on it including 1.7 million and various amount for other projects and the rehabilitation of streets in Kakata and with his back ground in financial management raised the issue with his fellow caucus members and they agreed with him and said they cannot endorse it for the county authority to expand that amount and others for just the streets of Kakata and others alone.

He indicated that he was not having problem with the projects, but was concerned about the manner and form in which it was being done something that should be the involvement of the people of Margibi County.

The reaction of Honorable Ben Fofana comes in the wake of mounting concerns both from the public and the media that the county administration received from the MDMC Express, Inc. an amount of US$50,000 (fifty thousand United States dollars) as kick back to enable the company win the bid or the contract.

It can be recalled that on several occasions, the MDMC Express, Inc. defaulted on previous contracts given including the rehabilitation of three lots of roads in Larkayta Township for an amount of over half of million United States dollars, the construction of a school in Jeibei that broke down in less than six months after its construction, the procuring of faulty yellow machines for Sinoe and Grand Kru Counties and the incomplete work done on the streets of Gbarnga city in Bong county and yet being awarded contracts in the face of his many defaults on various contracts around the country.

Honorable Fofana further indicated that to allot one million United States dollars for the rehabilitation of Kakata streets there must be a total inventory of these roads, the level of work to be done, its quality, before the caucus can endorse the projects.

Honorable maintained that he just hearing through rumors that specifically Kakata streets rehabilitation have been awarded to the MDMC Express, Inc. won the bid and was finally awarded the contract and for one to suggest that an amount of fifty thousand United States dollars was dished out to them was laughable and a total misrepresentation of facts only intended to bring he and his fellow caucus members to public ridicule.

"I have not seen or received one single paper for assessment of Kakata streets nor have I seen any document relating to any project in Margibi County as a whole in terms of awarding contract or there was a bid conducted rather being told by people that the county authority are about to award contract to the MDMC Express, Inc. and he raised issues with his colleagues and the Superintendent".

Based on the issues raised by him, members of the caucus cited the county administration to their Capitol building office and strongly advised them not to award any contract until they can review every documentation that is pertaining to projects before any contract can be awarded.

And so to just see in the In Profile Daily news paper that the project has been awarded to the MDMC Express, Incorporated and an amount of Fifty Thousand United States dollars have been dished out to caucus members is quite to the contrary as much I cannot speak for the entire caucus but to the best of my knowledge I am not aware of that amount given to us."

I challenge anybody to bring any document where I affixed my signature to finally endorse the awarding of contract to the winner of the bid to rehabilitate the streets of Kakata. But I can attest to the fact that there was a general citizens meeting held in Kakata some time in last year June 2012 where a resolution was derived at from the Special County Council sitting and that resolution did not give any details of would be projects to be under taken in the county without being specific in terms of projects.

At the June 2012, "meeting every district expressed concern about roads in their respective areas and did not say Kakata streets in particular."

With the issue of bad road being a problem for which every district did expressed, the caucus mandated the county administration to do a complete assessment and make a submission them for finalization before any approval. "But we as caucus did not make any allocation for road instead, they county head brought an allocation and we rejected it" on the basis that the allocation did not accompanied assessment, bill of quantity,( BOQ) or inventory of activities that is to be done and if such contract is being given to any contractor outside of the proper procedures, it is a bogus arrangement and I will seek remedy in the law.

"We as a caucus, to the very best of my ability did not award any road rehabilitation contract to the MDMC Express, Incorporated as this is not our responsibility to do so. Moreover, what is considered as ours is to make sure that the due processes are followed and ensured that allocations are made for specific project ".

The details in terms of awarding of contracts is not in our purview and we did not allot any amount for any project in the county and so to derive or insinuate that projects are being awarded with the acquiescence of the caucus is far fetched and I'm taken aback and deeply disappointed if that is the case with being duly informed by the county Superintendent, John Buway.

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