19 February 2013

Liberia: Corruption Fight

Two officials of the Liberian government are said to be in a serious corruption fight over the management and usage of development funds allotted for Montserrado County.

Montserrado County Superintendent Grace Kpan and District #16 Representative Edward Forh have been engaged in verbal attacks over the usage of County Development Funds.

The fight between the officials of Montserrado County began when the County Legislative Caucus complained Superintendent Kpan to the House of Representatives for singlehandedly using funds belonging to the county without regards to them.

The Montserrado Caucus, in a communication written by Representative Thomas Fallah, accused Superintendent Kpan of inciting their constituents against them due to her deliberate refusal to approve money allotted in the county's budget for their respective scholarship programs.

The Montserrado County lawmakers told their colleagues that the Superintendent has been disrespectful to them to the point where she has not been able to explain as to how the county's budget is being expended since 2010.

The lawmakers accused Superintendent Kpan of opening an extra account at Ecobank with US$487,000 without the approval of the Legislative Caucus and the Project Management Committee (PMC), and the unilateral dismissal of the Project Management Committee Chairman, Patrick Moore.

Our Legislative reporter said following complaints from the Montserrado County lawmakers, the House Plenary summoned Superintend Kpan and Internal Affairs Minister Blamo Nelson to provide information on the county's development funds. Madam Kpan admitted opening an extra account at Ecobank and the dismissal of the PMC Chairman.

Upon Superintendent Kpan's admittance, the House of Representatives immediately ordered her to open one account for the county, reinstate the PMC Chairman, settle the payments of lawmakers' scholarships in the county and restitute the US$50.000 withdrawn from the County's Forest Account.

Representative Forh is quoted in the conversation between him and the Superintendent Kpan as saying "The money in question must be divided among us; you eat some, I eat some, and the minister eats some."

The superintendent said "on this audio recording you will hear the clear voice of Representative Forh making his request to divide the Liberian people money."

Superintendent Kpan has threatened to expose the lawmaker.

Addressing a press conference at the Capitol, Representative Forh denied the allegation, challenging the Superintendent to play the secret recoding.

When quizzed, the Montserrado County lawmaker confirmed listening to the recording, but declined to disclose whether the recording was his voice.

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