50K Scandal Hits Grand Bassa: Supt.., City Mayor and Senior Senator Linked

Sen Findley of Grand Bassa--what's his role?

Sen Findley of Grand Bassa--what's his role?

By: Nat Nyuan- Bayjay (231-6-402737)

Buchana, Grand Bassa County –

 

 

Grand Bassa County, one of the three founding counties of Liberia noted for its industrial attraction due to the presence of the second largest seaport in Liberia continues to enjoy the influx of industries in the midst of the global economic crisis.

The presence the Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC), Buchanan Renewable Energies (BRE), and Arcelor Mittal plus possible incoming ones are indications that the county is benefiting compensation packages from these many companies for development purpose.

 
 

The many companies make huge contributions to local county officials as benefit for the local citizenry but an investigation conducted by me has gathered that the funds provided to the county are making no impact due to acts of corruption on the part of county officials.

Superintendent Duncan Cassell--She said $50,00 was given to City Council but Major said $25,000

Superintendent Duncan Cassell--She said $50,00 was given to City Council but Major said $25,000 Three officials from the county have been accused by the citizens of the misapplication of US$50,000 provided the county by a Spanish Company as well as County Development Funds provided by Arcelor Mittal.Reports gathered by me from citizens during a recent visit to the county suggest that the funds have been diverted into personal use by three of officials including City Major Obadiah Zangar who is alleged to have bought a gray brand new Nissan X Terra jeep with his share of the US$50,000.Superintendent Julia Duncan Cassell and Senator Gbezongar Findley according to the citizens also got some portion of the money.According to Bassa citizens, the amount of US$50,000 was given to the county officials by a Spanish recycling company that is expected to begin operations in the County.The Liberia General Recycling Plant (LGRP) is said to have reached an agreement with Grand Bassa county officials to carry out the scraping of old metals.With an 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 accordingly paid the sum of $50,000 specifically for the City of Buchanan.Superintendent Julia Duncan Cassell confirmed to me that the $50,000 was given to the City Major and City Council representatives.Superintendent Cassell refused to state how much she received from the US$50,000 and laughingly said: “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”.Superintendent Cassell described as untrue allegation that she, City Major Zangar and Senator Findley shared the US$50,000.“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”, Superintendent Cassell told me in a cellphone interview.But during a recent trip to the Buchanan, I gathered from some citizens that the County leadership has not formally met them to explain the whereabouts of the amount in question.“We only see the City 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 city remains dirty like this”, Oldpa Weayeh, referring to himself as a concerned citizen told me.Grand Bassa Flag

Moses Gborgar, Grand Bassa Youth Representative to the Mano River Youth Parliament told FrontPageAfrica that the Liberia General Recycling Plant conducted a preliminary recruitment exercise at the county office of Senator Findley, promising to short-list potential employees but is yet to begin full operations.

Most citizens of the county squarely blamed the Superintendent for prioritizing national issues over local issues which they said should matter the most to her.

They accused Superintendent Cassell of wanting to be almost everywhere President Sirleaf goes describing her action as sacrificing the interests of Grand Bassa County in the process.

Superintendent Cassell admitted that she is on many occasions busy and is usually out of the country, travelling with President Sirleaf and also performing extra duties outside her function as Grand Bassa Superintendent.

“O yes that is true; I am always busy, just imagine I just concluded this women colloquium thing, I had to travel with the President to the States”, Superintendent Cassell admitted to what the citizens considered neglect of the county.

County Officials Contradict US$50,000

What makes the issue of the Spanish company’s ‘good will’ gesture to Grand Bassa county to appear fishy is confusing statements from both Superintendent Cassel and City-Major Zangar on the actual amount received in which two different figures have been mentioned.

Superintendent Cassell told me the amount given Grand Bassa by the Spanish Company is US$50,000 while City Mayor said the county only received is $25,000.

The contradicting statements by the two Grand Bassa officials have sparked more questions than answers.

City Mayor Zangar appearing recently on a live local radio talk-show in Buchanan according to Bassa citizens publicly announced that the City government was given US$25,000 out of which he bought himself a vehicle in order to enhance his work as a Mayor.

According to reports from Buchanan, the major stated that the amount in question was given to the City Council and as such he could choose to do anything with it in as much it is in the interest of the City of Buchanan.

But what remains unanswered is the conflicting information regarding the actual money given by the Spanish company with the Superintendent saying it was $50,000 while the City Mayor is saying $25,000.

When contacted, the City Major Zangar could neither confirm nor deny the allegation but said he was unable to talk to FrontPageAfrica because he is attending a Good Governance Conference in Gbargna, Bong County.

Mittal US$ 1 million Not Forth Coming

It has also been also gathered that the annual Social Development Fund provided by Mittal to the county through the Liberian Government has not been received in full by the County leadership.

A dedicated committee was set up by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf comprising the Ministries of Finance, Lands, Mines and Energy and Internal Affairs to manage the fund.

Reports speak of complete dissatisfaction among the citizens of Grand Bassa who are said to be planning to stage demonstration.

It has been reliably learnt that only US$400,000 of the 1 million United States dollars given by Mittal to the County has been received and has been allotted towards the construction of a college.

Senator Nathaniel Innis Chairman of Grand Bassa County Legislative Caucus confirmed  that the remaining $600,000 of the US$1 million is still 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.

Meanwhile, FPA continues investigation on this matter that involves in the concerned ministries in its subsequent publications.

Investigation continues.

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