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GeneralLiberia news

Senate probes NTA over US$2.1m

-As where abouts of Indian donated buses raises eyebrows

By Ethel A. Tweh

The National Transit Authority (NTA) is under a Senate probe for US$2.1m approved in the 2022 National Budget for the entity, and for the whereabouts of 45 buses donated by India, among others.

The Senate Standing Committee on Transport has mandated NTA Managing Director Herbie Tekonblah McCauley to submit in one week a comprehensive report for the entity.

As per the Senate’s mandate, the report must include the budget performance, and the contract signed with the University of Liberia (UL).

The NTA is further mandated to include in the report an analysis of finances received from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning in the current budget, among others.

The Senate Committee’s decision was due to the failure of Mr. McCauley to confirm whether his entity received US$2.1m from Finance Ministry following the budget’s approval.

The Fiscal Outturn Report indicates that NTA has received the amount. 

Director McCauley has informed the Committee that the NTA has not received any money from MFDP allotted to the entity within the 2023 National Budget.

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He made the statement on Monday, while appearing before the Senate Transport Committee to respond to an inquest regarding the unavailability of NTA Buses in Monrovia and its environs. 

The appearance of the Managing Director and his team was triggered by a complaint filed before Plenary by River Gee County Senator Jonathan Boye-Charles Sogbie.

Senator Sogbie, in his complaint, contended that 45 buses were donated by the Government of India, but those buses are not seen running in traffic. 

Responding to the Senator’s complaint, Mr. McCauley informed the Senate Committee on Transport that out of the 45 buses donated, the NTA received 39 buses.

He added that only 15 of the 39 buses are currently operational, while 24 have broken down.

Addressing the Committee, Mr. McCauley attributed the breakdown of the buses to lack of spare parts within the ccountry.

He complained that spare parts have to be imported from India, but the MFDP has failed to give money to the entity to address such problem.

According to the Managing Director, upon donation of the buses, the India Government laid down guidelines for the maintenance of the buses.

Part of the guidelines, he said, requires that after three years, the buses must be overhauled to extend their durability.

At the close of the hearing, the Acting Chairman of the Transport Committee, Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon indicated to Mr. McCauley and his team that they will remain under oath.

Dillon added that a subsequent hearing will be arranged to give the witnesses time to better address several queries that they have failed to address before the Committee.

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