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Friday, June 14, 2024

LIBERIA: SENATE COMMITTEES PROBE $21 MILLION ROAD CONTRACTS AWARDED BY MINISTRY OF PUBLIC WORKS

Date:

MONROVIA – Three Committees of the Liberian House of Senate have launched an investigation into the awarding of several contracts by the Ministry of Public Works for road construction projects. Concerns have been raised regarding alleged non-compliance with the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) law and expenditures without budgetary approval.

On March 18, 2024, Senator Nathaniel McGill of Margibi County, joined by Senators Abraham Dillon of Montserrado County, Simone Taylor of Grand Cape Mount County, and Gbehzonhar M. Findley of Grand Bassa County, penned a letter to President Pro-Tempore Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence. The letter highlighted a significant concern regarding a $21 million contract awarded by the Ministry of Public Works.

While recognizing the importance of road rehabilitation and construction in Liberia, the senators emphasized the necessity of adhering to Liberian laws and regulations. They expressed suspicions of potential corruption and legal breaches in the Ministry’s recent actions.

The senators pointed out that the awarded contract violates Article 34(d) and its subsection III of the Liberian constitution, which prohibits raising or guaranteeing loans without legislative authorization. Additionally, the Ministry’s actions are in conflict with the Amended and Restarted Public Procurement and Concession Act of 2005.

The senators stressed the importance of verifying funding availability before awarding contracts, as mandated by the Public Financial Management (PFM) and PPCC Act. These regulations also advocate for open competitive bidding processes for contract allocations.

A table provided by the senators details the awarded contracts by the Ministry of Public Works, including locations, contract prices, and contractors involved. The absence of an approved budget for most contracts, except for a $2 million allocation for Policy Priorities, has raised concerns about the funding source.

The senators have called upon the Liberian Senate to summon key ministers and the Executive Director of PPCC to clarify these alleged violations. They have urged the Senate to halt the Ministry of Public Works from proceeding with the contracts until an approved budget is in place. Any institution seeking pre-financing agreements must secure legislative approval in accordance with Article 34(d) of the Liberian constitution.

Emphasizing the principles of good governance, transparency, and accountability, the senators assert that the government must act in the best interests of the Liberian people and uphold the rule of law.

The letter concludes with a call to action, urging the maintenance of transparency and accountability in all government actions and endeavors.

Socrates Smythe Saywon
Socrates Smythe Saywon is a Liberian journalist. You can contact me at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or reach out via email at saywonsocrates@smartnewsliberia.com or saywonsocrates3@gmail.com.

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