LIBERIA – The Plenary of the House of Representatives has invited the Minister of Education and the Management of Bridge Liberia to appear before the body on Tuesday, November 1.
The Plenary’s decision followed a communication from Montserrado County District#9 Representative Frank Saah Foko.
In his communication to Plenary on Tuesday, Rep. Foko stated that Bridge International Academies, an educational, profit-making company, continues to defraud the Liberian Government through thousands if not millions of United States Dollars through duty-free and other privileges.
He further explained that one of the company’s annual reports in his possession saw them raise around six million USD from donors and being in partnership with Liberia and Liberians can barely see what these monies go towards as monies collected are not in Liberian banks but outside adding that in the last three years, Bridge Liberia has moved to three new offices like squatters and working conditions are very unfavorable.
“There is barely a vehicle they own to their name, lest you say a bike for their rural workers. This is a scam Hon. Speaker and colleagues”. He stated in his communication.
The Montserrado County lawmaker accused the company of having one of the worst labour practices on record.
He said in 2020, the company laid off seventeen staff on the grounds of “Force Merger”, but as per the law, according to him, such layoff when effected, upon recruiting for the same position, the laid off staff should be given first preference, this law, as many others, was disregarded by Bridge, and the matter is still on the docket at the Labor Ministry.
Recently, Rep. Foko said, Bridge continued their usual pattern and layoff over fifteen Liberians and the staff were never warned or suspended but dismissed arbitrarily with matters languishing at the Labor Ministry at the moment.
The Montserrado County lawmaker further explained that Bridge Liberia has changed its name globally from Bridge International to New Globe without having those changes affect Liberian books which in his mind has got criminal intent and at the same time, they have been receiving duty-free privileges at the free port of Liberia for years, claiming to be non-profit which is grossly misleading.
“What is even more regrettable Hon. Speaker and distinguished colleagues is that a recent interview by a Principal of a Bridge sponsored school, Wilis Town Public School in Montserrado decries situation at her school: leaking roof, limited supplies and inadequate teaching materials etc” Rep. Foko stated.
According to the Montserrado lawmaker, if this is happening right within Montserrado County, it worries him about Bridge’s operations with schools in Maryland, Grand Kru, Grand Gedeh, Lofa and other hard-to-reach places.
Following the reading of the communication, Grand Bassa County District #5 Representative, Thomas Goshua, made a motion, which was subsequently endorsed by the plenary, that Bridge appears before full plenary Tuesday, November 1, to address itself to the issues raised by Montserrado County District #9 Representative Foko. LINA