Saturday, October 10, 2015

Open letter to LACC

J. Partick Kollie
Freelance Journalist
Monrovia, Liberia
pjkollie@gmail.com


Cllr. James N. Verdier
Executive Chairman
Liberia Anti Corruption Commission (LACC)
Republic of Liberia

October 4, 2015

Dear Cllr. Verdier,
I present compliments and write to bring to your commission’s attention several irregularities leading to massive corruption in Gbarpolu County. As head of Liberia’s anti graft institution, I think it is prudent and necessary to investigate these allegations and bring those culprits to book. In my candid opinion, this will help deter/minimize future corruption.

Recently, a syndicate was uncovered by the new Gbarpolu County Project Management Committee Chairman “Mr. Sam K. Zinnah” covertly linking several Government Officials to a company that is believed to have defrauded Gbarpolu County of USD$300,000.00 United States Dollars. The officials conspired and participated in affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of forming a company to undertake contracts in Gbarpolu County.
Communications in my possession shows that Internal Affairs Deputy Minister for Administration, Hon. Varney A. Sirleaf on June 23, 2015 wrote Gbarpolu County Superintendent Hon. Armah M. Sarnor requesting the Superintendent to authorize the remaining 10% retention payment in the amount of USD$29,875.00 (Twenty nine thousand eight hundred seventy-five United States Dollars) in favor of Renewal Liberia Limited, the company that fraudulently won the Bopolu City layout contract in 2012.
On October 13, 2012, the then head of the Gbarpolu County Administration, Hon. Allen M. Gbowee in a mass Gbarpolu County Citizens meeting in Bopolu City announced that Renewal Liberia Limited was the winner of the USD$300,000.00 dollars City layout contract.
After reviewing the procurement process that led to the result in favor of Renewal Liberia Limited, a citizen of Gbarpolu County Attorney Harris F. Tarnue filed a formal complaint to the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission through the Commission’s Complaints, Appeals & Review Panel (CARP) against the process. Upon receipt of Atty. Harris Tarnue’s written complaint with all his supporting documents attached, the PPCC’s CARP requested Superintendent Allen Gbowee to submit all documents pertaining to the Bopolu City layout bid process in a specified time. According to the CARP investigation report also in my possession, the following list of documents was requested from Superintendent Gbowee.
1.      List of participating bidders and qualification criteria
2.      Minutes of procurement committee & bid opening meetings, including attendance record
3.      Bid evaluation Panels report/recommendations
4.      Bid evaluations criteria 
5.      Finding of a review proceeding held upon the complaint of Atty. Harris F. Tarnue
6.      Copies of the signed contract and
7.      Copies of bid advertisement and other related document not specifically named herein.
The qualification requirement listed by Superintendent Gbowee in the advertisement reads below:
-Current business registration certificate
- Current valid tax clearance certificate
-Ministry of Public works certificate
-Instant Financial statement
-Ability to pre finance per stage
-Past performance records/report, including project title, Project location, Project value, client’s full addresses and contact number(s).

The bid evaluation report and exhibit 5 of the November 2014 GAC report shows the below report:
MPW Certificate……………………………..not current
Pre-finance…………………..………………..50% acceptable
Business Registration Certificate ……………. available
Tax clearance…………………………………..not current
Past performance…………………………...not available
Cost of project………………………………...in range of the estimated
Technical ability……………………………….equipment and professional capacity limited

It was clear that the purported winner of the bid was not qualified to take part in the bidding process but Superintendent Gbowee, in total gross violation of the PPCC laws, defiantly proceeded with allowing Renewal Liberia Limited to take part in the bidding process
(See GAC report, page exhibit 5). As if the initial gross violation was not sufficient, Superintendent Gbowee in a continue defiance posture, awarded the contract to Renewal Liberia Limited. The Chairman of the Gbarpolu County Legislative Caucus attempted to intervene but was disrespectfully ignored by Superintendent Gbowee.


After thorough investigation into the complaint, the CARP ruled; “Therefore, it is the opinion of this panel that respondent, the Honorable Superintendent of Gbarpolu County, Allen M. Gbowee and his procurement committee violated all of the above cited provisions of the PPCC Act and regulation No. 003 during the conduct of the tendering process of EOI No. GBARC/NCB/001/12/13, and also failed to perform their functions in line with section 27 (c) (d) (f) (k) of the Amended and restated PPCC Act of 2010 in the conduct of the proceedings described above and the award of the works procurement contracts to Renewal Liberia Limited. In view of the above, the panel hereby upholds the contentions of the complainant that the procurement committee of Gbarpolu County Administration headed by Superintendent Allen M. Gbowee grossly violated the above cited provisions of the PPCC Act and its regulations during the tendering process. Accordingly, the panel here by invalidates and reverses the decision of the procurement committee to award contract for Bopolu City layout to Renewal Liberia Limited. The Gbarpolu County Administration is hereby ordered to re-run the procurement process with provision that those companies that participated in the July 2012 procurement proceedings do not pay any additional fees for participation”.

Despite the PPCC ruling, Superintendent Gbowee defiantly moved on with the contract.

Conspiracy or Gross Incompetence

The above narration does not need a rocket scientist to tell that the Bopolu City layout contract was in violation of the PPCC Act. What remains a multi-million dollars question now is whether Deputy Internal Affairs Minister for Administration Varney A. Sirleaf and Internal Affairs Assistant Minister for Legal Affairs Hon. Losene F. Bility (Esq) both conspired and participated in affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of forming Renewal Liberia Limited to undertake the Bopolu City layout contract or both are grossly incompetent to read and analyze the above public documents.
An internal Memorandum (LFB/AMLA/) 91) in my possession also reveals the legal opinion of Assistant Minister for Legal Affairs Hon. Losene Bility (Esq). In his opinion dated May 12, 2015, Hon. Bility writes, “In consonance with your April 28, 2015 instruction to the Deputy Minister for Administration, Hon. Varney A. Sirleaf, which was forwarded to me for legal advice, I have reviewed the attached instruments and arrived at the following findings:
1.      That, the project was successfully completed as same was dedicated during the July 26, 2013 Independence Day celebration in Bopolu City, Gbarpolu County by Her Excellency, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia.
2.      That, the assessment report of the Public Works Resident Engineer of January 28, 2014 certified the work
3.      That, the 1st payment was made in April 2013
4.      That, the 2nd payment was made in October 2013
5.      That, the 3rd and final payment as retention was due in January 2014 but up till now is has not been paid,
Wherefore and in view of the foregoing, and coupled with the fact that the 3rd and final/retention payment in the amount of US$29,875.00 is overdue, I advise that same be paid in accordance with the terms and conditions enshrined in the contract”.

Looking at the bid evaluation report and exhibit 5 of the November 2014 GAC report, it is clear that Renewal Liberia Limited did not have current Ministry of public works certificate, on what basis did the Public works resident engineer assess the project?. Also, the contract was attested to on behalf of the Finance Minister by the Gbarpolu County revenue agent even though Renewal Liberia Limited did not have tax clearance at the time of the bid. Again, on what basis did the revenue agent affixed his signature to the contract?
I am urging the LACC to dig into the motives of these individuals to make sure they too did not receive their share of the $300,000.00. The GAC report revealed that the individuals who signed on behalf of the Justice Minister and Finance Minister (because of the $250,000.00 threshold) were not the statutorily authorized individuals to sign the contract but they still did. Could they have been influenced by unprofessional or unethical token?

It is professionally amazing to read such a legal advice that has absolutely no legal basis. In my view, the Minister is either in a covert conspiracy or is grossly incompetent to know that no contract exists between Gbarpolu County and Renewal Liberia limited. How could this Legal Affairs Minister be so blind to the law he professes to know?

Further investigation into Renewal Liberia Limited’s activities reveals that most of the documentations were done whenever the minister proper was out of the Country. The original contract that was nullified by PPCC’s CARP ruling was signed by Hon. Varney A. Sirleaf, Deputy Minister for Administration, Ministry of Internal Affairs. Payment requests were always submitted while Hon. Varney Sirleaf was acting as Minister. It was in one of their usual covert activities that PMC chairman Sam K. Zinnah lunched a stink operation that unveiled this scam that is now raising bunch of unanswered questions.

 PMC Chairman’s efforts

In a leaked package in my possession, it is becoming crystal clear that someone is finally prepared to draw a thick line between corruption and accountability. In response to what appears to be a letter received from Gbarpolu County Superintendent Hon. Armah M. Sarnor, Gbarpolu County newly elected Project Management Committee Chairman, Mr. Sam K. Zinnah seems to be sitting pretty good and ready to battle or challenge the legality of the Bopolu City layout contract. As such, he will need the full support of the LACC to nail these corrupt activities in Gbarpolu County.
In a well written letter to Justice Minister Benedict Sannoh dated June 28, 2015, Chairman Zinnah wrote:

Cllr. Sannoh,
I present compliments and write to seek the advice of the Ministry of Justice about the request for payment to Renewal Liberia Limited concerning a purported contract for the layout of Bopolu City, Gbarpolu County.
On July 20, 2015, I received a letter dated July 10, 2015 in which Superintendent Armah Sarnor, acting on advice from Hon. Varney A. Sirleaf, Deputy Minister for Administration, Ministry of Internal Affairs requested the Gbarpolu County PMC to pay Renewal Liberia Limited the amount of USD$29,875.00 (Twenty nine thousand eight hundred seventy five United States Dollars). Please see attached letters regarding the request for payment.
Notwithstanding, the request for said payment, my attention has been drawn to the June 6, 2013 ruling  of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC)  and the November 2014 General Auditing Commissions report regarding the unlawfulness of the above mentioned contract.

Hon. Minister, the holding from the June 6, 2013 PPCC’s ruling reads as follows:
 “The Panel hereby upholds the contentions of the complainant that the procurement committee of Gbarpolu County headed by Superintendent Allen M. Gbowee grossly violated the above cited provisions of the PPCC Act and its regulations during the tendering process. Accordingly, the Panel hereby invalidates and reverse the decision of the procurement committee to award the contracts for EOI No.GBARC/NCB/001/12/13 to Renewal Liberia Limited and Trans-Africa Trading Company. And that to ensure compliance with the PPCC Act, the Gbarpolu County Administration is hereby ordered to re run the procurement process with provision that those companies that participated in the July 2012 procurement process do not pay any additional fees for participating”.

A finding from portion of the November 2014 General Auditing Commission’s report covering the fiscal years 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 states “ The Gbarpolu County Administration grossly violated the PPCC Act and PFM law in awarding the contract. Also, despite a precept from the Public Procurement and Concession Commission’s CARP, prohibiting the execution of the contract and ordering the re run of the procurement process, the County Administration opted to ignore the CARP’s ruling and preceded with the execution of the said contract at the detriment of public resources”.

Also, recommendation on page 16 of the November 2014 GAC report states “The Gbarpolu County Superintendent, Allen M. Gbowee, Assistant Superintendent for Development, Yassah Karmo-Fallah, the PMC Chairman, Desmond A.T. Boimah should be held accountable for the USD$268,875.00 paid to the contractor for the layout of the Bopolu City”.

It is also interesting to know that the laws specifically requiring that the Ministers of Finance and Development Planning and Justice to sign and attest to contracts above$250,000.00 were ignored. According to the November 2014 GAC report for fiscal years 2011/2012 & 2012/2013, the individuals who signed the contract on behalf of the two Ministries were not the statutorily authorized officials thus raising more credibility issues about this contract.

As the newly elected Chairman of the PMC, it is one of my sworn in or oath commitments to ensure that the resources of Gbarpolu County are expanded in line with the laws of this Nation. I am seeking your advice in order to move forward with the payment request”.

My investigation into the letter to Minister Sannoh shows that the letter landed at the Ministry when Minister Sannoh was out of the country. Fortunately, the letter with all the supporting documents was forwarded to Cllr. Emmanuel Tulay, Deputy Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Justice. It is interesting to note that Cllr. Tulay served as legal consultant at PPCC and he presided over the PPCC ruling that nullified the Bopolu City layout contract but he’s now very reluctant to take action or decision against the violation of his PPCC’s CARP ruling. Could there be another connection between the syndicate at Internal Affairs and Justice?.  Since the submission of the June 28, 2015 letter to the Justice Ministry, Cllr. Tulay is yet to respond to the letter thus raising additional unanswered questions.

Suspected owners of Renewal Liberia Limited

Since the emergence of Renewal Liberia Limited, there have been many speculations in Gbarpolu County about the owners of this suspicious company. According to the November 2014 GAC report, Renewal Liberia Limited did not meet most of the important requirements for participating in the biding process but the Company still won the bid which later dragged in to PPCC court and resulted to cancelling of the contract. Although the contract was nullified by the PPCC, payment of over US$268,800.00 to the Company was processed through the Ministry of Internal Affairs thus raising more questions than answers about the powerful hands behind the company.
It is widely speculated that Renewal Liberia Limited is covertly owned by Deputy internal Affairs Minister for Administration, Hon. Varney A. Sirleaf, and Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel Naatehn. The status Of Hon. Losene Bility, Assistant Minister for Legal Affairs is not too clear as he remains under close watch. Hon. Bility’s recent (May 12, 2015) legal advice in favor of Renewal Liberia Limited shares more lights on his covert connection to this suspicious company.
In one of my many attempts to track some of the fishy activities of Renewal Liberia Limited, I’ve been trying to investigate how the earth moving equipments that were used by Renewal Liberia Limited landed in the hands of the company. The equipments in question were bought by Bokomu and Gou Ngolala Districts with the aim to undertake road works in the two Districts but the machines have been in the Possession of Senator Daniel Naatehn. Without the knowledge of the owners of the Mechines, a purported rental contract was entered into between Messrs Alfred Morris and Alex kpuway ( Chairmen of both districts development associations) and Renewal Liberia Limited without the involvement and authorization of the local authorities of the two Districts under the watch of  Hon. Daniel Naatehn who served as the custodian of the yellow machines and a dump truck purchased by the two Districts from their share of the County Development funds thus shinning more lights on Senator Naatehn’s connection to this suspicious company.  After the illegal use of the two yellow machines, the machines disappeared at the end of the layout project. To date, only the dump truck is visible at Senator Naatehn’s House in Bopolu. The where about of the two yellow machines remains an unsolved misery. As I pen this letter, the people of Bokomu and Gou Ngolaila are gearing up to file a law suit against the fronting General Manager of Renewal Liberia Limited, Mr. James Q. Folokula.

If it is proven that the above named officials are in any way beneficiaries of Renewal Liberia Limited, their action will be total conflict of interest. I am of the strongest conviction that the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission would be highly interested in digging out the owners of this suspicious company as they anxiously wait to take care of their final chopping from the US$300,000.00 contract.
It is also reported in the November 2014 GAC report that Renewal Liberia Limited owed over $12,800.00 in unpaid taxes to Government thus constituting tax fraud and another form of corruption.

Deputy and Assistant Ministers denied knowing about PPCC ruling & GAC report

In a August 6, 2015 edition of the Frontpageafrica news paper sub caption “who wants Gbarpolu County 29K road Money”, reporter Henry Karmo contacted Internal Affairs Deputy Minister for Administration “Hon. Varney Sirleaf to get his view about the dubious transaction. In Minister Sirleaf’s respond, according to reporter Karmo, Minister Sirleaf claimed his instruction to the Gbarpolu County Authority to pay the contractor (Renewal Liberia Limited/James Folokula) the remaining $29,875.000 United States Dollars was base on a legal advice from Assistant Internal Affairs Minister for Legal Affairs, Hon. Lusene Bility. Minister Sirleaf Also claimed that he had no knowledge that the PPCC had ruled in the awarding of the contract. He claimed that the PPCC ruling was not communicated to him when he wrote the Gbarpolu County Administration about the ten percent retention payment.

When contacted, Internal Affairs Assistant Minister for Legal Affairs, Hon. Luseni Bility claimed that he too was not aware of the PPCC ruling and the GAC report. He pushed that it was only fair to pay the last money since the first and second payments were done. Minister Bility’s legal advice further exposes him to either conspiracy or gross incompetence. Since the August 6, 2015 frontpage Africa publication, the two ministers are yet to write to withdraw their letter of authorization.

Fake names on Renewal Liberia Limited’s article of incorporation

A copy of the article of incorporation of Renewal Liberia Limited in my possession shows that most, if not all, of the names listed on the article of incorporation are fake names. Further investigation reveals that one of the names listed is that of Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel Flomo Naatehn, Sr. Last month I traveled to Senator Naatehn’s District to verify some of the names and identity shown on the ID cards that I could lay my hands on. A particular name “Flomo D. Kpailee, Sr was pointed out by many to be the traditional name of Senator Daniel F. Naatehn, Sr.
In my opinion, it is the right of Senator Naatehn and any Gbarpolu Citizen to form company and create or provide employment for Gbarpolu Citizens but doing it with fake identy(ies) creates suspicion. The following names are listed on the Renewal Liberia Limited article of incorporation.
1.      James Q. Kpaihn 13% share
2.      Mulbah K. Zinnah 10% share
3.      J. Sando Momo 20% share
4.      Flomo D. Kpailee, Sr 20%
5.      Quaye Kogo 12 %
I am urging LACC to please invite the General Manager of Renewal Liberia Limited, Mr. James Q. Folokula to produce all of his share holders for questioning. I believe this will help eliminate the suspicion of questionable identies.

Hon. Allen Gbowee continuous defiance

Sometime in October of 2014, Superintendent Allen Gbowee and Development Superintendent Yassah Karmo-Fallah were dismissed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The two, in a continuation of their defiance, drove away with the government assigned vehicles. As I pen this letter, they are in possession of the GSA coded and assigned vehicles. Further investigation shows that they are still receiving pay while they are out of government. One source from the office of Senator Daniel Naatehn disclosed that “as long as Senator Naatehn remains the most powerful Senator in Gbarpolu with the backing of Hon. Varney Sirleaf, he will do whatever he wants”.

Cllr. Verdier, after all the above analysis, I humbly beg your commission’s indulgence to swiftly probe into these grief alleged malpractices. Am quite sure that bringing the culprits to justice will serve as deterrence for would be dowers.
Yours,

J. Patrick Kollie
Citizen, Gbarpolu County 











Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Two Top Internal Affairs Officials in Corruption Web!!

By: J. Patrick Kollie
pjkollie@gmail.com

Reports emerging from the Ministry of Internal Affairs indicate that two top officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs covertly linked to a company that is believed to have defrauded Gbarpolu County of USD$300,000.00 United States Dollars. The two officials conspired and participated in affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of forming a company to undertake contracts in Gbarpolu County.
Communication in the possession of this writer shows that Internal Affairs Deputy Minister for Administration, Hon. Varney A. Sirleaf on June 23, 2015 wrote Gbarpolu County Superintendent Hon. Armah M. Sarnor requesting the Superintendent to authorize the remaining 10% balance retention payment in the amount of USD$29,875.00 (Twenty nine thousand eight hundred seventy-five United States Dollars) in favor of Renewable Liberia Limited, the company believed to have fraudulently won the Bopolu City layout contract in 2012.
On October 13, 2012, the head of the Gbarpolu County Administration, Hon. Allen M. Gbowee in a mass Gbarpolu County Citizens meeting in Bopolu City announced that Renewable Liberia Limited was the winner of the USD$300,000.00 dollars City layout contract.
After reviewing the procurement process that led to the result in favor of Renewable Liberia Limited, Attorney Harris F. Tarnue filed a formal complaint to the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission through the Commission’s Complaints, Appeals & Review Panel (CARP) against the process. Upon receipt of Atty. Harris Tarnue’s written complaint with all his supporting documents attached, the PPCC’s CARP requested Superintendent Allen Gbowee to submit all documents pertaining to the Bopolu City layout bid process in a specified time. According to the CARP investigation report also in the possession of this writer, the following list of documents was requested from Superintendent Gbowee.
1.       List of participating bidders and qualification criteria
2.       Minutes of procurement committee & bid opening meetings, including attendance record
3.       Bid evaluation Panels report/recommendations
4.       Bid evaluations criteria 
5.       Finding of a review proceeding held upon the complaint of Atty. Harris F. Tarnue
6.       Copies of the signed contract and
7.       Copies of bid advertisement and other related document not specifically named herein.
The qualification requirement listed by Superintendent Gbowee in the advertisement reads below:
-Current business registration certificate
- Current valid tax clearance certificate
-Ministry of Public works certificate
-Instant Financial statement
-Ability to pre finance per stage
-Past performance records/report, including project title, Project location, Project value, client’s full addresses and contact number(s).
The PPCC’s CARP waited for Superintendent Gbowee’s response but to no avail till the expiry of the statutory period. Complainant Atty. Harris F. Tarnue wrote the PPCC to inquire about the status of his complaint. In his follow up letter, Atty. Harris F. Tarnue urged the PPCC CARP to investigate his complaint in manner as follows:
1.       Review the procurement proceedings and tendering process leading to entry into of the said illegal contract with Renewable Liberia Limited
2.       Hear, determine and declare whether or not the cited provisions of the PPCC were violated
3.       Cancel or cause to be cancelled,” voidable contract” entered into in violation of the PPCC Act, and
4.       Declare such further rights and remedies complainant would be entitled to under the PPCC Act.

Also Attached to Atty. Tarnue’s follow up inquiry letter was a list of relevant documents further supporting his allegations. Among those documents was a letter over the signature of the Chairman of the Gbarpolu County Legislature Caucus in an attempt to intervene in the situation but Superintendent Gbowee failed to give credence to the County Caucus’ intervention and went ahead to sign the contract with Renewable Liberia Limited.

After the statutory period, Superintendent Gbowee decided to reluctantly reply to the CARP request by submitting documents and responding to Atty. Tarnue’s complaint. After carefully reviewing and analyzing all documents submitted by Complainant Atty. Harris F. Tarnue and Defendant Hon. Allen M. Gbowee, along with other accompanying instruments and referencing the applicable provisions of the PPCC Act of 2010 and regulation No. 003 on the schedule of thresholds, the panel declared in its opinion that the Procurement Committee of Gbarpolu County Administration headed by Superintendent Allen M. Gbowee did not act consistent with the PPCC Act of 2010 and regulation No. 003 on the schedule of threshold during the conduct of the procurement proceedings/tendering process of the Bopolu City layout contract when it proceeded to award the contract to Renewable Liberia Limited.

The CARP ruled; “Therefore, it is the opinion of this panel that respondent, the Honorable Superintendent of Gbarpolu County, Allen M. Gbowee and his procurement committee violated all of the above cited provisions of the PPCC Act and regulation No. 003 during the conduct of the tendering process of EOI No. GBARC/NCB/001/12/13, and also failed to perform their functions in line with section 27 (c) (d) (f) (k) of the Amended and restated PPCC Act of 2010 in the conduct of the proceedings described above and the award of the works procurement contracts to Renewable Liberia Limited. In view of the above, the panel hereby upholds the contentions of the complainant that the procurement committee of Gbarpolu County Administration headed by Superintendent Allen M. Gbowee grossly violated the above cited provisions of the PPCC Act and its regulations during the tendering process. Accordingly, the panel here by invalidates and reverses the decision of the procurement committee to award contract for Bopolu City layout to Renewable Liberian Limited. The Gbarpolu County Administration is hereby ordered to re-run the procurement process with provision that those companies that participated in the July 2012 procurement proceedings do not pay any additional fees for participation”. 

Conspiracy or Gross Incompetence

The above narration does not need a rocket scientist to tell that the Bopolu City layout contract was in violation of the PPCC Act. What remains a multi-million dollar question now is whether Deputy Internal Affairs Minister for Administration Varney A. Sirleaf and Internal Affairs Assistant Minister for Legal Affairs Hon. Losene F. Bility (Esq) both conspired and participated in affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of forming Liberia Renewable Limited to undertake the Bopolu City layout contract or both are grossly incompetent to read and analyze the above public documents.
An internal Memorandum (LFB/AMLA/) 91) in the possession of this writer also reveals the legal opinion of Assistant Minister for Legal Affairs Hon. Losene Bility (Esq). In his opinion dated May 12, 2015, Hon. Bility writes, “In consonance with your April 28, 2015 instruction to the Deputy Minister for Administration, Hon. Varney A. Sirleaf, which was forwarded to me for legal advice, I have reviewed the attached instruments and arrived at the following findings:
1.       That, the project was successfully completed as same was dedicated during the July 26, 2013 Independence Day celebration in Bopolu City, Gbarpolu County by Her Excellency, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia.
2.       That, the assessment report of the Public Works Resident Engineer of January 28, 2014 certified the work
3.       That, the 1st payment was made in April 2013
4.       That, the 2nd payment was made in October 2013
5.       That, the 3rd and final payment as retention was due in January 2014 but up till now is has not been paid,
Wherefore and in view of the foregoing, and couple with the fact that the 3rd and final/retention payment in the amount of US$29,875.00 is overdue, I advise that same be paid in accordance with the terms and conditions enshrined in the contract”.

It is professionally amazing to read such a legal advice that has absolutely no legal basis. In my view, the Minister is either in a covert conspiracy or is grossly incompetent to know that no contract exists between Gbarpolu County and Renewable Liberia limited. How could this Legal Affairs Minister be so blind to the law he professes to know?

New Gbarpolu County PMC Chairman Draws Corruption Lines

In a leaked package in the possession of this writer, it is becoming crystal clear that someone is finally prepared to draw a thick line between corruption and accountability. In a respond to what appears to be a letter received from Gbarpolu County Superintendent Hon. Armah M. Sarnor, Gbarpolu County newly elected Project Management Committee Chairman, Mr. Sam K. Zinnah seems to be sitting pretty good and ready to battle or challenge the legality of the Bopolu City layout contract.
In a well written letter to Justice Minister Benedict Sannoh dated June 28, 2015, Chairman Zinnah wrote:

Cllr. Sannoh,
I present compliments and write to seek the advice of the Ministry of Justice about the request for payment to Renewable Liberia Limited concerning a purported contract for the layout of Bopolu City, Gbarpolu County.
On July 20, 2015, I received a letter dated July 10, 2015 in which Superintendent Armah Sarnor, acting on advice from Hon. Varney A. Sirleaf, Deputy Minister for Administration, Ministry Internal Affairs requested the Gbarpolu County PMC to pay Renewable Liberia Limited the amount of USD$29,875.00 (Twenty nine thousand eight hundred seventy five United States Dollars). Please see attached letters regarding the request for payment.
Notwithstanding, the request for said payment, my attention has been drawn to the June 6, 2013 ruling  of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC)  and the November 2014 General Auditing Commissions report regarding the unlawfulness of the above mentioned contract.

Hon. Minister, the holding from the June 6, 2013 PPCC’s ruling reads as follows:
 “The Panel hereby upholds the contentions of the complainant that the procurement committee of Gbarpolu County headed by Superintendent Allen M. Gbowee grossly violated the above cited provisions of the PPCC Act and its regulations during the tendering process. Accordingly, the Panel hereby invalidates and reverse the decision of the procurement committee to award the contracts for EOI No.GBARC/NCB/001/12/13 to Renewable Liberia Limited and Trans-Africa Trading Company. And that to ensure compliance with the PPCC Act, the Gbarpolu County Administration is hereby ordered to re run the procurement process with provision that those companies that participated in the July 2012 procurement process do not pay any additional fees for participating”.

A finding from portion of the November 2014 General Auditing Commission’s report covering the fiscal years 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 states “ The Gbarpolu County Administration grossly violated the PPCC Act and PFM law in awarding the contract. Also, despite a precept from the Public Procurement and Concession Commission’s CARP, prohibiting the execution of the contract and ordering the re run of the procurement process, the County Administration opted to ignore the CARP’s ruling and preceded with the execution of the said contract at the detriment of public resources”.

Also, recommendation on page 16 of the November 2014 GAC report states “The Gbarpolu County Superintendent, Allen M. Gbowee, Assistant Superintendent for Development, Yassah Karmo-Fallah, the PMC Chairman, Desmond A.T. Boimah should be held accountable for the USD$268,875.00 paid to the contractor for the layout of the Bopolu City”.

It is also interesting to know that the laws specifically requiring that the Ministers of Finance and Development Planning and Justice to sign and attest to contracts above$250,000.00 were ignored. According to the November 2014 GAC report for fiscal years 2011/2012 & 2012/2013, the individuals who signed the contract on behalf of the two Ministries were not the statutorily authorized officials thus raising more credibility issues about this contract.

As the newly elected Chairman of the PMC, it is one of my sworn in or oath commitments to ensure that the resources of Gbarpolu County are expanded in line with the laws of this Nation. I am seeking your advice in order to move forward with the payment request”.
In an effort to get Mr. Sam Zinnah to discuss his letter to the Justice Minister, the PMC chair, in a short telephone conversation said, “If you claim you have copy of a letter written by me, go ahead and continue your investigation. I do not intend to discuss my professional work in the media”.

Suspected owners of Renewable Liberia Limited

Since the emergence of Renewable Liberia Limited, there have been many speculations in Gbarpolu about the owners of this suspicious company. According to the November 2014 GAC report, Renewable Liberia Limited did not meet most of the important requirements for participating in the biding process but the Company still won the bid which later dragged in to PPCC court and resulted to cancelling of the contract. Although the contract was nullified by the PPCC, payment of over US$260,000.00 to the Company was processed through the Ministry of Internal Affairs thus raising more questions than answers about the powerful hands behind the company.
It is widely speculated that Renewable Liberia Limited is covertly owned by Deputy internal Affairs Minister for Administration, Hon. Varney A. Sirleaf, Former Assistant Minister Florence Dukuly and Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel Naatehn. The status Of Hon. Losene Bility, Assistant Minister for Legal Affairs is not too clear as he remains under close watch. Hon. Bility’s recent (May 12, 2015) legal advice in favor of renewable Liberia Limited share more lights on his covert connection to this suspicious company.
In one of my many attempts to track some of the fishy activities of Renewable Liberia Limited, I’ve been trying to investigate how the earth moving equipments that were used by Renewable Liberia Limited landed in the hands of the company. The equipments in question were bought by Bokomu and Gou Ngolala Districts with the aim to undertake road works in the two District but the machines have been in the Possession of Senator Daniel Naatehn. Without the knowledge of the owners of the Mechines, a purported rental contract was entered into by Renewable Liberia Limited thus shinning more lights on Senator Naatehn’s connection to this suspicious company. As I pen this story, the people of Bokomu are gearing up to file a law suit against the fronting General Manager of Renewable Liberia Limited, Mr. James Q. Folokula.
If it is proven that the above named officials are in any way beneficiaries of Renewable Liberia Limited, their action will be total conflict of interest. I am of the strongest conviction that the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission would be highly interested in digging out the owners of this suspicious company as they anxiously wait to take care of their final chopping from the US$300,000.00 contract.

Deputy and Assistant Ministers denied knowing about PPCC ruling & GAC report

In a August 6, 2015 edition of the Frontpageafrica news paper sub caption “who wants Gbarpolu County 29K road Money”, reporter Henry Karmo contacted Internal Affairs Deputy Minister for Administration “Hon. Varney Sirleaf to get his view about the dubious transaction. In Minister Sirleaf’s respond, according to reporter Karmo, Minister Sirleaf claimed his instruction to the Gbarpolu County Authority to pay the contractor (Renewable Liberia Limited/James Folokula) the remaining $29,875.000 United States Dollars was base on a legal advice from Assistant Internal Affairs Minister for Legal Affairs, Hon. Lusene Bility. Minister Sirleaf Also claimed that he had no knowledge that the PPCC had ruled in the awarding of the contract. He claimed that the PPCC ruling was not communicated to him when he wrote the Gbarpolu County Administration about the ten percent retention payment.

When contacted, Internal Affairs Assistant Minister for Legal Affairs, Hon. Luseni Bility claimed that he too was not aware of the PPCC ruling and the GAC report. He pushed that it was only fair to pay the last money since the first and second payments were done. Minister Bility’s legal advice further exposes him to either conspiracy or gross incompetence.

Additional documents raised more questions than answers

Additional documents obtained from the Liberia Business Registry shows that a list of what appeared to be fake names are shown on the Renewal Liberia Limited's article of incorporation. Among those names is one that appears to be the traditional name of Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel Naatehn. The name shown on the Article of incorporation is "Flomo D. Kparlee". Mr. Kparlee holds 20% share in Renewal Limited. 
Further investigation have revealed that the purported General Manager of Renewal Liberia Limited, Mr. James Q. Folokula was on regular payroll while he was working in Bopolu. It is now clear that Mr. Folokula is fronting for some big hands either in Gbarpolu or in Government. 
For the past few months now since PMC Chairman Sam K. Zinnah blocked the $29,875.00 payment to Renewal Liberia Limited, Mr. James Q. Folokula has reportedly been roaming the streets of Bopolu threatening court action against Sam K. Zinnah and Gbarpolu County but to date, Mr. Folokula is yet to file a single paper at the court in Bopolu City thus clearly showing empty threats on the part of Renewal Liberia Limited management.
Gbarpolu County has finally put a competent person in office. From my own observation and good sense of thought, the next three years of Sam K. Zinnah's PMC Chairmanship will bring some sanity in the County. During his acceptance speech immediately after his election in Bopolu City on June 6, 2015 at the Gbarpolu County council sitting, Mr. Zinnah sounded a very loud open warning to contractors and individuals in the County. He said "the honey mood is over. all those who have been taking money from Gbarolu County in the name of doing contracts and walking away either without doing or completing those contracts will be brought to Justice". Just few months into his three years position, it is now becomming clear that Mr. Zinnah means serious business.
What remains unclear now is weather Renewal Liberia Limited/James Q. Folokula will walk away with the illegal $268,875.00 United States dollars he illegally received in exchange for a contract that was nullified by PPCC or he will face justic. Thousands in Gbarpolu are very anxious to see the next action of the PMC.

investigation continues
 











Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The risk of impunity and Corruption in Liberia


By: Sam K Zinnah

As the much anticipated 2011 elections draws near in Liberia, works are beginning to come to lights from clever politicians. Those works will either serve as political points or bullets for those smart politicians. Recently, a bill to repeal the 9 year old TRC act was recently submitted to the Liberian Senate by Grand Gedeh County Senior Senator Isaac Nyenabo. Although Senator Nyenabo will not be contesting the 2011 senatorial race, his clever bill presentation may be highly influenced by interest to protect his alleged war criminal colleagues and later his own interest after his nine year tenure.
The questions that swing the chest of many Liberians and friends of Liberia are “while is this outspoken Senator just presenting this bill now when the TRC act is nearly a decade old? Wasn’t this Senator (Nyenabo) amongst the 30 or more senators that were swear into office in 2006? Is the Senator trying to design a cleaver impunity exit for him and his alleged war criminal colleagues?
The essence of representation is for the representative to express the view of those represented but this has not been in the case of Liberia. Political and self interests have been some of the biggest problems in the Liberian legislature thus leading serious political and patriotic sanity at the capital building in Liberia. Sanity ‘in this case’ is a matter of appropriateness of response to a choice between two choice distinct interests, the first, a merely habituated sense, “certainty” and the second, reasons the lies within the domain of those efficiently universal principles which exist beyond the direct reach human sense of imagination. To understand and investigate the reason(s) for writing a hatchet bill of impunity by a law marker, Liberian electorates must begin to evaluate the credential of people running for elected positions in their constituencies. Election of candidate(s) should be based on patriotism, accountability, moral and transparency in order to curtail the culture of impunity and the danger of running into yet another round of chaos in Liberia. Today, a commercial politician like Isaac Nyenabo is writing cleaver hatchet bill of impunity that would price tag his political journey but considering the level of electorate education in his country or county (constituent), Nyanebo might be rewarded ‘for contributing to the slaughtering of half a million Liberians during the fourteen year civil war’ by being re-elected to the post of Senior Senator for Grand Gedeh.

There is sometime a tendency to forget or over look what should have been recalled as the plain fact of occurrences. Obviously, the end of alleged war criminals might be narrowing comes 2011 elections. The likes of Senators Price Johnson, Adolphus Dolo, Isaac Nyenabo, Saah Gbolee and other human hawks who shares intimacy through political acquaintance are all behind this cleaver hatchet bill of impunity. They are all a case of a ‘zombie-like’ synthetic personality taken over by psychopathological equivalent of the body snatchers from outer space waiting to swallow any bad bills that sets them free.

Imagine the commonly heard expression both at home and in the Diaspora today, “alleged war criminals must face the full weight of the law”. Senator Nyenabo and his partners in crime may not feel that the concern of the Liberian people should be raised to address the impunity problems in Liberia. The culture of impunity may not be the direct factor of concern to Senator Nyenabo and his partners in crime but they are of decisive importance to Liberia in the struggle to define a solution to the culture of impunity in Liberia. Senator Nyenabo’s continues quotation of portion of the 1986 constitution as his defense for his cleave hatchet bill of impunity is not a matter of facts but simply a ‘feeling’ which does not have any legitimate place in the efforts to address the relevant risk of impunity in Liberia. Nyenabo’s kind of emotion-driven is a major factor of mass political behavior motivated by a pathological use of the “1986 constitution of the Republic of Liberia” as substitute for rational behavior. The notion of bill to repeal the TRC act is distinct from reasoning which is a fatal contradiction in terms of the essence of his job as a law maker. This expresses a large overdose of feeling but virtually no exercise of reasoning.

Senator Nyenabo and his alleged war criminals watched many Liberians perish of hunger, especially those of tender years while they relaxed or hustle for political positions at the expense of the very people they victimized. Mothers “with scarcely strength to support themselves” carried their famished and malnourished infants in their arms and died with them. Many felt victim to stray bullets, cold, whilst others to intense thirst while the Senator carry his body guards for his personal protection. Today, Isaac Nyenabo and others who overtly violated the rights of other Liberians are walking the streets of Liberia in grand style while their victims roam the streets in search of daily bread. They are referred to as “Senators and Representatives”. They have even become more corrupt to the extent that they did not see the TRC act that has existed since 2003 (three years before they were elected). It’s a disgrace to see a Senior Senator presenting a bill to repeal an act that is almost eight years old.

Risk of Corruption

Corruption increases the marginalization of minority groups including women. It leads to contestation of the state’s monopoly of force or radicalizes opposition to the State and most times contributing to conflict, destabilization and failed State (UNDP). Most recovery programs aim at restoration of peace and stabilizing the economy through sustainable economic programs.
Corruption posts a threat to these efforts hence the need to deal with corruption from the onset of recovery is vital. In recent years, there has been increasing attention to the effects of corruption in post conflict and recovery environments. Various studious (by; UNDP, World Bank & Transparency international) confirm that about half of the post war countries revert to war within one decade and corruption can be considered as one of the major factors that contribute to fuelling a conflict and the return to violent. Therefore, overcoming corruption in post-war Liberia is essential to restoring the confident of Liberians at home and abroad.
Post conflict reconstruction is normally characterized by large scale injection of resources in an environment where the legal and institutional frameworks are weak, fragile or inexistent and the expertise scarce. Detection of crime is very low and enforcement difficult or ignored. The surviving governing structures are weak with financial, fiscal, administrative and regulatory capacities and limited oversight is informal and sometimes criminalized sectors. These institutions are often transitional in nature, carrying very little or no legitimacy, and therefore prone to capture by the privilege elite with access to power and resources. This lack of popular participation in reconstruction is vulnerable to hijacking by local elites, which leads to corruption, waste of available and scarce resources, lack of maintenance and monitoring by beneficiaries and eventual rejection in the long run.
The main purpose of zero tolerance on corruption in Liberia should be to assist post conflict Liberia in developing anti-corruption strategies. These strategies will be used to develop programs on anti-corruption in post-war Liberia and recovery process which will be a tool that will assist affected areas.
Development will never come to Liberia if Liberians continue to rely on foreign companies to do everything. History attests to this. The Indian, Ghanaian, Nigerian and Lebanese business communities in Liberia have never productively participated in Liberia's development. In fact, they have always tended to set themselves apart from Liberia. It is now up to the government and people of Liberia to build-up the credibility to attract investors to boost the Liberia economy.

“When she was not there”

The Paradox of Gbarpolu County Development Superintendent “Hon. Yassah Karmo-Fallah”

By: J. Patrick Kollie

The pen spoke well for her when she sat in the neutral seat and observe with what she referred to as “objective and good faith”. In her opinion, she saw everything objectively in the interest of Gbarpolu County for development and accountability. On that basis, she spoke out loudly against the ills of Gbarpolu politics. Little did Yassah know that sometimes quiet diplomacy is more effective than public rebuke.  As the old saying goes, “what goes around comes around”.

On January 19, 2009, Yassah penned a detailed letter to Gbarpolu County Project procurement Committee outlining various public procurement procedures that were violated by the Procurement committee.  In her letter, Yassah observed at the time that the public procurement procedure was meant to ensure that public funds are used in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner.
Two years after Yassah’s objective letter, she found herself in the driver’s seat as Gbarpolu County Development Superintendent. In that seat, she has the responsibility to manage and ensure that the letter she wrote when she was not there is enforced or achieved objectively. Disappointingly, all objectivity is gone through the political window as the reality finally sets in.

In politics, the traits that make successful political hustlers are not always attractive; in fact, there’s a dark trail of backstabbing types of work disappointingly visible in the politics of Hon. Yassah Karmo Fallah. A  Psychopaths’ politicians, who have no conscience, Machiavels, to whom others are but pieces on a backstabbing board; a narcist, bursting with malignant self love regardless of what it takes or cost. In many Gbarpolu political observers’ opinions, Hon. Yassah Karmo-Fallah is a mixture of all three characters thus making her politically dangerous in Gbarpolu politics and a tragic political character to be associated with.
The once vocal Gbarpolu Citizen has turned blind eyes to the same ills she strongly criticized when she was not in Government. Now that she has the opportunity to make the very changes she advocated for, she has joined the political hustlers to defraud the County she once claimed she “love”. The unanswered million dollars question now is “what’s going on under the nose of Yassah Karmo-Fallah?”

On July 2nd of this year, a team of expert released their opinion of the complaints, appeals and review panel in the case of √Ątty. Harris Tarnue vs Hon. Allen M Gbowee. The panel review team was chaired by Cllr. Beyan D. Howard, Co-Chaired by Mr. Massaquoi M. Kamara, Sr. Other members of the panel review committee includes Cllr. Eric B. Morlu, Mr. David M. Jallah, Commr. Esther Paegar, and Mr. Martin S. Kollie. The committee in its ruling said, after reviewing and analyzing documents submitted by the Complainant Atty. Harris F. Tarnue of Gbarpolu County and respondent Hon. Allen M. Gbowee, Superintendent of Gbarpolu County, along with other accompanying instruments, and referencing the applicable provisions of the PPC act of 2010 and regulation No. 003 on the schedule of thresholds. The panel is of the opinion that the procurement committee of Gbarpolu County Administration headed by Superintendent Allen Gbowee of which Hon. Yassah Karmo-Fallah is part of did not act in consistent with the PPC act of 2010 and regulation No. 003 on the schedule of thresholds during the conduct of the procurement proceedings/tendering process of EOI No. GBARC/NCB/001/12/13. The procurement committee did not also act consistent with PPC act of 2010 and regulation No. 003 when it proceeded to award the contracts for lot 1 (Construction of Bopolu City Streets) to Renewable Liberia Limited and lot 2 (electrification of Bopolu City) to Trans Africa Trading Company.

The panel went on to further state that it is the opinion of the panel that the respondent, Superintendent Allen Gbowee and his procurement committee violated all of the above cited provisions of the PPC act and regulation No. 003 during the conduct of the tendering process of EOI No. GBARC/NCB/001/12/13 and also failed to perform their functions in line with section 27 (c)(d)(f)(k) of the amended and restated Public Procurement & Concessions act of 2010 in the conduct of the proceedings describe above and the award of works procurement contracts to renewable Liberia Limited and Trans Africa Trading Company.

The Panel stated, in view of the above, the panel hereby upholds the contentions of the complainant that the procurement committee of Gbarpolu County Administration headed by Superintendent Allen M. Gbowee and Yassah Karmo-Fallah grossly violated the PPC provisions in favor of Renewable Liberia Limited, Trans-Africa Company and other contracts that should have met the threshold guidelines. The Panel, base on its findings during their investigation invalidated and reversed the decision of Superintendent Gbowee and his development superintendent Yassah Karmo-Fallah. The panel ordered Superintendent Gbowee and development Superintendent Karmo-Fallah to re run the procurement process with provision that those companies that participated in the July 2012 procurement proceedings do not pay any additional fees for re participation. To date, the panel’s decision is yet to be honored by Superintendent Gbowee and his Deputy for Development, Yassah Karmo-Fallah.

Many Gbarpolu citizens thought the first task of Hon. Yassah Karmo-Fallah’s administration was to ensure equal and unhindered access to all information concerning the various projects in the County, which as the infant County history has shown have been one of the most contentious issues in the county’s political life that to a large extend fueled the political tension in the county.  Development Superintendent Yassah either lacked a vision or the will to enforce whatsoever vision she had for the development of Gbarpolu County when she was not there. The budget law which provides the framework for governance was disregarded and treated with discontent by this very vocal political activist Yassah Karmo-Fallah and the County project management committee (PMC) that should have upheld it. Yassah and her remote control PMC have become more talkative than doers. They have demoted themselves from discussing issues to attacking personalities who speak out on their failed activities in Gbarpolu County.

Disappointment about the Bopolu City layout and electrification projects can be seen in the eyes of Gbarpolu citizens ranging from infants to elders in all six administrative districts of the County. Most people are calling for the immediate dismissal of Superintendent Allen Gbowee and Development superintendent Yassah Karmo-Fallah to avoid further chopping by the two failed individuals. It can be recalled that Yassah Karmo-Fallah escaped several consultative meetings meant to provide clarity on most of the now failed projects in the County prior to the just ended 166 independent day  celebration which was co hosted by Bomi, Gbarpolu & Grand Cape mount Counties.
Immediately after the independent day celebration in the western region, an audit was ordered on several counties. Gbarpolu County is said to be one of the priorities on the list of the audit because of the level of gross violation of the PPCC procedures that appear to be influenced by conflict of interest by Superintendent Gbowee and his Development Superintendent Yassah Karmo-Fallah.

The biggest project in the history of Gbarpolu County since its creation under the regime of now imprison former Liberian president Charles Taylor is the construction of Bopolu Streets/ City layout. The awarding of this contract is now under investigation by citizens themselves. According to the PPCC procedure that was published as a guideline for the expression of interest (EOI) to bidders indicated the submission/qualification requirements as follow:

Current business registration certificate, current valid tax clearance certificate, Ministry of public works certificate, instant financial statement, proof of ability to pre finance per stage/phase, and past performance records/reports. It has been established that Renewable Liberia Limited, the company undertaking the biggest project in Gbarpolu County (lot 1, Bopolu City layout) did not meet the requirement of the bid but was still declared winner of the bid. The company is believed to be owned by controversial former Gbarpolu County junior Senator Daniel Naatehn. Superintendent Allen Gbowee resided in Daniel Naatehn’s  house in Bopolu when he (Gbowee) presided over the bidding process. Did Superintendent Gbowee’s present in Naatehn’s house influence his decision to fraudulently award the bid to Renewable Liberia Limited?. It can also be recalled that Superintendent Gbowee and his Development superintendent Yassah Karmo-Fallah attempted to terminate the contract of Universal construction services headed by Mr. Jallah K. Mendscole. Their attempt brought more exposure as Mr. Mends-cole went gutter with them by explaining how the Superintendent and the Development superintendent took $10,000.00 (ten thousand United States dollars) from him as a kick back while the PMC treasure “Johnson Gotoe” demanded and received $1000.00 (one thousand united states dollars) as his share of the chopping spree.
To date, the actions of Yassah remains ironically inconsistent as more unanswered questions linger the minds of thousands of Gbarpolu County residents.