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Abandoned Community College Site US$300,000 Swindle

Grand Gedeh County dream of owning a junior college seems fare from reality, as the project has been abandoned by Quest Construction Company (QCC), a local contractor hired to construct the facility owing to the lack of funds.

Despite a US$300,000.00 allocation for the speedy construction of the college, it is yet to be completed. When this reporter recently visited the project site in Zwedru, it was observed that only three structures including one administrative and two instructional buildings were being erected.

The structures two of which are at roof levels and one at window level are without a modern bathroom facility, no space for a library, lest to talk about an auditorium.

It can be recalled; in time past, three counties including Nimba, Lofa and Grand Gedeh received a budgetary allotment of US$150,000.00 each for the construction of a junior college in each of these areas.

Today, the people of Lofa and Nimba are benefiting from theirs, but Grand Gedeh is yet to afford its youth and students an opportunity to acquire a degree at their door steps.

Despite the receipt of US$150,000.00 for the entire project, the Liberian government recently approved and disbursed additional money in the same tune so as to complete the project, but nothing is being done.

Meanwhile, youth and students of the County are calling on Education Minister Edmonia David-Tarpeh to quickly intervene and ensure that the college is constructed and fully functional. Many of youth who spoke to this paper at the weekend in Zwedru expressed frustration over the manner in which the County education officials were handling the project.

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“Some of us have been forced into mineral mining, motorcycling and petty trade upon the completion of secondary school, because of the lack of funds to migrate to Monrovia or nearby counties for further studies,” George Washington lamented.

Speaking in an interview with this paper in Zwedru on April 14, 2012, the County Education Officer (CEO) Mr. Bestman R. Charpy, confirmed the abandonment, blaming it on the National Commission of Higher Education (NCHE) headed by Dr. Michael Slewion.

Sounding very upset, Mr. Charpy stated, “Dr. Slewion hand-pick the contractor without any of the County official input, whereas there are more qualified local contractors based in Zwedru that could do better compare to Quest.”

Mr. Charpy told this paper that he was asserting every effort so as to ensure that the project is completed. Expressing disappointment over the manner in which issues relative to the community college was unfolding, the County CEO disclosed that plans were underway to hire a new contractor for the successful completion of the project.

When contacted via cellular phone at the weekend, Grand Gedeh Education Board (GGEB) Chairman Mr. Alfred S. Gbarplay also confirmed the ugly, describing it as unfortunate and unacceptable. Mr. Gbarplay also accused Dr. Slewion of making unilateral decisions on behave of the Grand Gedeians, hence ‘this would be the last.’

All efforts by this paper to contact both Dr. Slewion and the head of Quest Construction Company proved futile, as no representative of the contracting company was willing to comment on the matter, while Dr. Slewion cellular phone rang endlessly without any response.

Reports Nathaniel Walker

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