By Lincoln G. Peters
Liberia’s Public Works Minister Madam Ruth Cooker-Collins has expressed frustration with the performance of Liberian-owned construction companies, referring to them as ‘419,’ suggesting they are fake.
She told an interview with journalists over the weekend in Monrovia that she decided to refer to Liberian-owned construction companies as ‘419’ based on the alleged fake posture that they continue to display.
She expressed frustration over the performances of Liberian construction contractors across the country.
“Now let me tell you why there are ‘419’ companies. Many of the contractor companies owned by Liberia will be awarded contracts and will underperform despite the impression they will create while pleading for contracts,” she said.
She said during the bidding process, they will bring rented equipment that they know they don’t have.
“However, when they are given the contract, they are unable to implement [it] because they don’t have [the] equipment,” she explained further.
The Public Works Minister and her officials were last week held in contempt by the Liberian Senate for lying under oath.
They were addressing the Senate’s concerns over the delay in the construction of roads in southeastern Liberia and other parts of the country when they faced contempt charges.
Minister Cooker-Collins asserted that it is regrettable that several Liberian construction companies are operating on a ‘419’ basis.
She lamented that the actions of Liberian-owned construction companies undermine President George Manneh Weah’s quest to empower Liberian businesses.
She urged Liberian construction companies and contractors to learn to be sincere and honest when they are applying for bidding.
According to her, this has caused the Ministry of Public Works and the government to look ugly on many occasions.