New Democrat (Monrovia)

Liberia: U.S.$125,000 Scam At RIA Under Probe

The dismissed director of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA) Mr. Ellen Cokrum has allegedly stolen over U$125,000 from the account of the account of the Roberts International Airport (RIA) account despite warning from the Public Procurement Concessions Commission (PPCC).

The amount was part of the LAA's account deposited at the Liberia Bank and Development Incorporated (LBDI) "for runway engineering work" at the Roberts RIA and has reportedly left the country.

But the Board Chairman of the LAA Mr. Musa Bility could not confirm the allegation nor deny it. He, however, said the situation will be investigated and perpetrators brought to book.

Reports gathered by this paper suggest that the amount was purportedly paid to the Diaspora Consultancy firm for to supervise an engineering work of the airport despite warning from the Public Procurement Concessions Commission (PPCC).

The PPCC in a December 6, 2012 communication to Madam Ellen Corkrum warned against paying the amount to Diaspora Consultancy firm on grounds that the company was not qualified for the contract.

"Additionally, the Commission wishes to inform you that in the review of your documents, it was unable to find the past performance history and references validity that Diaspora Consulting Engineering has performed, similar services for other such clients, consistent with Section 32 (1) (c) of the PPCC Act. The Commission could not find evidence which proves that Diaspora Consulting Engineering is certified by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which was a primary justification for its selection for supervision of the proposed works" the letter addressed to Madam Corkrum said.

The PPCC also said US$1,283,333 Madam Corkrum submitted to the LAA for the proposed engineering work at the airport was inconsistent with US$948,611.35 which was actually needed for the work.

Information on the account slip reveals that the amount was withdrawn from beneficiary's account # number 004632433219 by order of RIA/LAA on December 13, 2012.

The PPCC further rejected her request to single source the Diaspora Consultant film because it was unable to confirm the existence of the company as written in the company's letterhead "as referenced in your (her) communication."

Copies of the communication were given to the Ministers of Justice, Finance, Public Works and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the RIA.

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