Bong County — Bong County Superintendent Selena Polson-Mappay says the County has not received two-hundred thousand from China Union for scholarships as reported by two civil society actors in the county.
Superintendent Mappay said the county is to receive Seventy- Five Thousand for scholarships as per the Mineral Development Agreement between the company and the Government of Liberia, noting under the MDA, the company is to offer two-hundred thousand for scholarships, fifty-thousand of which is appropriated for students studying geology at the University of Liberia, while Bong County is entitled to fifty percent of the remaining One- Hundred and Fifty-Thousand, as Montserrado and Margibi Counties benefit from the rest.
Quoting the MDA, the Bong County Superintendent added that it was important for the right information to be transmitted, instead of the public being misled with information that are far from the truth. According to the Superintendent, China Union is yet to remit the money to the county for the past three years, assuring that the company is expected to live up to its obligations this October.
The Bong County Superintendent further clarified that the money that is to be provided by the company is not intended for the entire county, but the affected communities which include Fuamah and Sanoyea Districts, indicating that the money will be available in the account of the Bong County Independent Scholarship Committee.
She expressed her administration's commitment and openness to the people of Bong County, assuring that she would do nothing outside the county's interest. The county's social development fund has been the center of confusion between the leadership and people of the county for the two years now. The Chairman of the Caucus, Representative George Mulbah and a few other officials have continuously been accused of allegedly diverting the funds to their personal use under the guise of undertaking projects.
Mulbah and others are blamed in Bong County for the delays in completing the Bong Technical College, formerly the Gboveh Community College for almost four years. The College should have been completed for normal academic activities since two years ago.
7 Arrested in China Union Riot
Seven persons have been arrested in Bong Mines in connection with rioting in China Union concession areas. Officers of the Emergency Response Unit or ERU, deployed to the area to calm the situation, arrested seven of the protesters at the main entrance to the residential compound of the company.
According to our correspondent in the area, a group of citizens and contractors had been demanding that the company lives up to its social obligation and improve the wages of its Liberian contractors. Our correspondent said gun sounds could be heard in the area, but it is still unclear who fired.
Deputy Police Director for Operations Abraham Kromah, who arrived on the scene of the riot, appealed for calm among the protesters as investigation into their concerns was ongoing. He urged them to observe the law of the land as they go about their protest.
Protesters blocked the railway, preventing trains of the company carrying iron ores to Monrovia from leaving the company. Those arrested are still with the police in the area, and it remains unclear whether or not they will be taken to Monrovia for investigation.
The latest riot in Bong Mines is the third in less than three months, as citizens of Fuamah District and contractors of China Union continue to express dissatisfactions over the company's operations in the area.
At one of the meetings, chaired by Bong County Superintendent Selena Polson-Mappay and Deputy Internal Affairs Minister for Administration Varney Sirleaf, China Union Deputy Manager Ken Shen admitted that his company needed to improve the status of its Liberian workers, as well as community relations.
Gbarnga City Corporation Receives Donation
The Gbarnga City Corporation has received several items from the UN Habitat following the closure of the Urban Land Inventory Project in Gbarnga City. The items include a desktop computer, generator, as well as office chairs, among others.
Gbarnga City Mayor Esther Worbeh described the donation as very essential to the GCC, emphasizing that the equipment would be used to easily locate houses in the city. She commended UN Habitat for the project in Gbarnga.
According to her, currently there were more than twelve thousand structures in the city of Gbarnga as per the survey conducted by UN Habitat and the Land Commission. The Gbarnga City Mayor wanted residents of the city against tempering with the numbers placed on their homes, adding that it was the only way their houses can be easily located.
She expressed the belief that if residents of the city began erasing the numbers written on their houses, it would be against the modernization. She also commended residents of Gbarnga for cooperating with n members of the inventory team during the exercise. Worbeh, who had returned to work since her health trip from India, also described the exercise conducted as the beginning of the modernization of Gbarnga.
In June this year, the Land Commission and UN Habitat launched the Urban Land Inventory project in Gbarnga, in a bid for statistical analysis of structures in the city to include location and number of houses, as well as occupants.