18 September 2017

Liberia: Press Union of Liberia 'Enters Illegitimate' Contract for Construction of Headquarters

Monrovia — Documents obtained by FrontPageAfrica reveal that the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) is at the verge of sealing an illegal construction agreement with Civil Design Inc. for the construction of its new headquarters.

The new headquarters is valued at US$300,000 - a money that was appropriated by the Government of Liberia in the 2017-18 National Budget.

A FrontPageAfrica investigation established that without regards to the Public Procurement laws, the PUL leadership, precisely the President Mr. Charles Coffey and the vice President Mr. Octavin Williams, allegedly connived and awarded the contract to Civil Design INC., without putting up a bid as required by the PPCC.

A source closed to the leadership informed this paper that PPCC law was grossly violated by the pair because their deal is to get a 20 percent kickback from the contract.

"This money that has not been given to the PUL yet. It's government money and must be spent in line with the PPCC laws. "

"Why would the leadership award a contract of his huge sum without putting up a bid? There's a sinister motive behind their action," the source who asked for anonymity said.

Both Williams and Coffey could not be reached by this paper for details on how the contract came about as they've traveled to China and the USA, respectively.

However, when contacted the Secretary General, Mr. Daniel Nyakona termed the contract as illegal and a violation of the PPCC laws.

He told FrontPageAfrica that the money appropriated for the construction of the headquarters by the government has not landed the PUL account yet, yet he was surprised that a contract was drawn and he was asked to sign it.

"The contract is not legitimate so I refused to sign it; that is why in fact, the PUL pulled out of the DDC because I'm the PUL Representative at the DCC. They thought by pulling out would put me under pressure to sign the document," he said.

The Secretary General and the President are the PUL signatories to the contract. However, only Mr. Coffey's signature is on the document in the possession of this paper.

Nyankona went on to reveal that it was his refusal to sign the contract that led to the PUL pulling out of the Deepening Democracy Coalition (DDC) which recently successfully hosted the first Presidential Debate ahead of next month's Presidential elections in Liberia, since he is the PUL's representative at the DDC.

He insisted that he would not sign contract as it was not prepared in the interest of the PUL, rather at the advantage of the contractor.

As drawn out, the contractor will pre-finance the project, provide its own labor and provide security.

Payment of service fee and other expenses shall be made to the contractor after the completion of each stage as meeting its business interest, specifications and designs;

"Further, it is mutually agreed by parties that upon the signing of this agreement, the contractor shall immediately commence the clearing of the piece of property and shall be the one bear, if any, the cost of the removal of dirt and other undesirable object, warranting that it is ready and prepared to commence construction without any precondition financially, and there shall be no hindrance whatsoever in performing its side of the agreement," the contract notes.

As part of the agreement, the PUL and the contractor "shall make an appropriate adjustment by way of a reduction or increment in the service fees where there exits economic inflation and the rising rate of the US dollar, assuming the required fees has not fees has not been fully settled up to the time of the force majeure."

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