The NEWS (Monrovia)

Liberia: Forh Denies Soliciting Money

The Chairman of the Montserrado County Legislative Caucus has denied ever soliciting money from suspended Montserrado County Superintendent Grace Tete Kpan.

Edward Forh says the total sum of US$ 2.5 million was divided equally amongst the 17 districts, giving each district US$151,900.00.

In a release issued from Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the lawmaker said Superintendent Kpan was just being mischievous which he termed as "unfortunate".

"Superintendent Grace Kpan claimed that I solicited bribe from her that is the reason why we (the Montserrado Caucus) are picking on her. But nowhere in the illegal recording did I solicit from the Supt. Instead, she asked me what should we do with the balance US$$400,000. Knowing that no balance existed, let alone US$400,000, I answered her in a dismissive joking manner which she is interpreting as wrong doing," Rep. Forh asserted in the release.

The lawmaker said if he knew that Superintendent Kpan was recording him, he would have dismissed that question in a more formal way, stressing "This is quite unfortunate as it has cast suspicion on my integrity without actually analyzing the wrongful recording."

The lawmaker said he considered the question regarding the sharing of the money to be awkward, adding "that's the reason why I answered in such joking manner which has come back to haunt me. If I had known that the question was a trap, I would have handled it otherwise."

He accused Madam Kpan of incriminating him. The lawmaker also explained that the superintendent visited his residence at Colonel West in Newkru town on April 11, 2012 during which they shared "jokes" on the Fast and Prayer Day.

On Tuesday, April 16, 2012, Rep. Forh said Superintendent Kpan authorized a check of US$12,000 (check # 00772468) against the New Krutown Library project.

The lawmaker further narrated that when he accidentally discovered the check at the ECOBank, Vai Town Branch, she told him that it was meant for the "Fast and Prayer Holiday", which he (Rep. Forh) objected and had the check voided.

The lawmaker alleged that on May 1, 2012, the Superintendent again authorized another check of US$14,635.71 (check # 00772471) on the New Krutown project which she and the failed contractor encashed before he could find out.

"On May 7, 2012, I wrote the superintendent and demanded that she complete the Library project or have the US$14,635.71 restituted to the District's account. She later replaced 80% (US$11,500) of the money from her operational funds to the District #16 account and asked me to drop the matter. She even visited my home with one official of government to beg me to drop the matter if she replaced the funds," Rep. Forh claimed in the release.

Continuing, the lawmaker disclosed that on July 3, 2012, he wrote the Minister of Internal Affairs, Blamoh Nelson, asking him to put a hold on all payments for projects until the Caucus, the PMC, and Superintendent's office could verify their completion. However, he said by then, a check of US$18,434.25 (check # 00772472) was written on the District# 4 Nirvlin Bridge project.

He also alleged that Madam Kpan made the President to summon him and apparently ordered the check paid. According to the lawmaker, to date, the status and quality of the project is unknown, and that President Sirleaf could not dedicate the bridge during the July 26, 2012 celebration because the bridge was "inaccessible".

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