15 February 2013

Liberia: Rep. Forh Challenges Supt. Kpaan

Montserrado County Legislative Caucus Chairperson, Representative Edward Forh, has challenged Superintendent Grace Kpaan to publish or broadcast the recording of lawmakers soliciting bribes to shield her from public scrutiny.

Speaking at a press conference in the conference room of the Capitol on Thursday, Hon. Forh, who represents Montserrado County Electoral District #16, said it is unfortunate that Superintendent Kpaan, who claimed to be mother of a Church to live and swim in corruption at the detriment of students, who want their fees to be paid, and residents who are in dire need of clinics and other social development, to be damaging lawmakers; characters in the name of politics.

Last week, a local radio station broadcast a tape allegedly distributed by Supt. Kpaan with a voice believed to be Rep. Forh's, soliciting US$450,000 from the Montserrado Superintendent to be shared with members of the Monsterrado Legislative Caucus to relax their political strength.

But Rep. Forh claimed that the recording was done in July last year, and has nothing to do with bribery. Superintendent Kpaan has been in a standoff with members of the Montserrado County Legislative Caucus on multiple allegations of stalling progress in the various districts of the county.

Members of the caucus headed by Rep. Edward Forh, last Thursday prayed the House plenary to summon Supt. Kpaan to answer queries regarding cooperation with House members, misapplication of county development fund, and abuse of power. The lawmakers reportedly told plenary that these alleged excesses were hampering development in the county at the expense of the happiness of the people.

At the end of the House's intervention, Speaker Alex Tyler mandated the Superintendent, as initial steps, to reinstate the suspended Chairman of the Projects Management Committee and refund the US$50,000, which she admitted to have used under the county's operational budget without the knowledge of the legislative caucus.

The Financial Management Laws of Liberia provide that the PMC chair be privy to such expenditures. Plenary also mandated the superintendent to provide to the body, on January 22, 2013, data of all project proposals submitted to her office by the county's 19 lawmakers.

Superintendent Kpaan has since threatened to resign if claims that she received US$20,000 for the payment of several students' scholarship fees were factual. At a recent meeting in the Borough of New Kru on Bushrod Island, the Project Management Committee (PMC) Chair of Montserrado County, Mr. Patrick Moore, accused Supt. Kpan of receiving US$20,000 from the County Development Funds (CDFs) for the payment of scholarship fees.

Though Mr. Moore did not name the school, he maintained that the amount was allegedly received by Madam Kpaan.

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