NO IMPACT FOR GRAND BASSA’S INDUSTRIAL BENEFITS; CITY-MAJOR, SUPERINTENDENT, & SENATOR LINKED TO $50,000

Grand Bassa Superintendent Julius Cassell

Grand Bassa Superintendent Julius Cassell

By: Nat Nyuan-Bayjay (231-6-402737) 

Grand Bassa County, one of the three founding counties of the Republic of Liberia which has been noted for its industrial attraction due to having the nation’s second largest seaport is one county that continues to enjoy, to some extent, the influx of industries in the midst of a global industrial unrest. The likes of the Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC), Buchanan Renewable Energies (BRE), and Arcelor Mittal plus some likely incoming ones are strategically located within the vicinity of the port City—indications that the County is indeed benefiting from compensation packages from the above companies.

But this does not seem to be the case despite the fact that financial benefits are being given; there is no impact from the funds. The County is currently entangled in a web of scam that involves the City Major of its provincial capital (Buchanan), the county superintendent and its senior senator regarding USD$50,000 intended for the County as well as County Development Funds as provided by Arcelor Mittal.

Reports gathered by Front Page Africa (FPA) during a recent visit by one of its reporter suggest the diverting of county benefits to personal uses by three of its leadership in persons of Buchanan City Major Obadiah Zangar who is alleged to have bought a gray brand new Nissan X Terra jeep, Superintendent Julie Duncan Cassell and Senator Gbezongar Findley.

According to our reporter, the amount of USD$50,000 was given to them by a Spanish recycling company that is expected to resume operations in the County. The Liberia General Recycling Plant (LGRP) is said to have reached an agreement with the county officials to carryout scrape business; thereby providing employment opportunities for citizens of Grand Bassa County. With an already identified spot located within the Wellingburg Training Center that carried out various vocational and industrial trainings prior to the Civil War LGRP recently concluded agreement with the county leadership and left behind the sum of $50,000 specifically for the City of Buchanan.

Confirming it to FPA, Superintendent Cassell said the $50,000 was indeed given to the Major and City Council representatives. Asked as to how much was received by her as superintendent, she laughingly replied: “I just told you that the money was received by the City Major and the Council representatives. But I am aware. As a matter of fact, Senator Findley was instrumental in the bringing in of this Company”.

She however described as untrue allegation that she, City Major Zangar and Senator Findley shared up the money among them. “You know people just have the notion that officials will always eat money. But it is not true that we shared the money. There are even some social benefits attached that will be given to the Bassa citizens”, she said as she spoke via a telephone interview recently.

But during a recent trip to the county capital, FPA was informed by some citizens that the County leadership has not formally met them to clarify the amount in question. “Instead, we only see the Major riding big car around here that cost so much money. Obadiah cannot afford that car on his own. So this tells us that they have already shared this money among themselves while the County remains bad off like this,” Oldpa Weayeh who calls himself a concerned citizen told FPA. Moses Gborgar, a Grand Bassa Youth Representative to the Mano River Youth Parliament told this reporter the Liberia General Recycling Plant conducted a preliminary recruiting exercise at the county office of Senator Findley, promising to short-list potential employees. Gborgar’s statement signified the massive awareness of the scrape company among citizens from which they might have gathered this clue.

Most of the citizens of the County squarely blamed the Superintendent for prioritizing national issues over local issues that should matter the most to her. They accused her of wanting to be almost everywhere the President is thereby sacrificing the interests of Grand Bassa County in the process.

Superintendent Cassell admitted to this and noted that the Bassa citizens had not been met due to her recent busy schedule which had included the just ended International Women’s Colloquium and the her trip with the President that have prevented her from staying in the County. She however promised to address the issue now that she has returned to the County.  

MITTAL’S $1 MILLION NOT FORTH COMING

It was also gathered by our reporter that the annual social development fund as provided by Mittal to the county via the Liberian Government is not being received in full by the County leadership. As a matter of fact, a dedicated committee was set up by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf that comprises of the Ministries of Finance, Lands, Mines and Energies and Internal Affairs to manage the fund. The report speaks of complete dissatisfaction and an imminent disgruntle- situation rests among the citizens of that county who are noted for staging demonstrations that are not terminated until they see fruitful results. It was reliably learnt that only USD$400,000 of the one million United States dollars given by Mittal to the County has been received which has been allotted towards the construction of the County’s first college.

Senator Nathaniel Innis who chairs the County Legislative Caucus confirmed to FPA that the balance of $600,000 remains stuck in the hands of the Dedicated Committee. The Dedicated Committee comprises of the Ministries of Finance, Lands, Mines and Energies and Internal Affairs and one of the County’s representatives Gabriel Smith with the sole purpose of managing the Mittal Social and Community Development Fund—a composition that has not gone down well with both the citizens and some of the county leadership.

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