US$3M Social Development Funds disappear?

Nimba County Representative Larry Yonquoi discloses here that three of the 15 political sub-divisions that are benefiting Social Development Funds from the global steel giant ArcelorMittal are yet to receive US$3 million from the past two years as slated in the social development contract.

Rep. Yonquoi explains Nimba, Bong and Grand Bassa Counties are yet to receive full payment from government despite the management of the company displaying full receipts and other relevant documents to the respective counties’ caucuses.

Speaking at a daylong event of the Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative of the Natural Resource Management (NRM) on Wednesday, 5th September the Nimba Lawmaker laments, it is discouraging after series of meetings with local officials, legislative caucus, and the head of county where projects are earmarked for undertaking, the executive branch of government through the Finance Ministry will renege on making payment for these projects.

The NRM is a coalition of high level policy dialogue on County Social Development Funds Reform facilitated by the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD).

According to him, some civil society organizations and groupings within those counties will directly accused lawmakers of corrupting monies intended for development.

Also speaking at the program, the Minister of Internal Affairs Varney Sirleaf, encourages lawmakers to distance themselves from the County Social Development Funds and the County Development Funds.
He stresses that lawmakers cannot make the laws and same time be at the end point to implement projects that are supposedly earmarked by locals.

Minister Sirleaf continues that locals should head county sittings rather than lawmakers as it is currently happening in the 15 counties.
He notes lawmakers should play the monitoring role and that projects should not be undertaken by them, in order to create check and balance.

Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs Augustus Flomo, appeals to lawmakers to recues from the County Social Development Funds totally to avoid political influence, adding that government will be statutorily prepared to prosecute officials who may temper with public funds.

The program brought together actors from the executive, the 54th Legislature, civil society and the judiciary with international partners as observers.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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