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LACC Investigation Compromised? …Brewerville-Bopolu Road Report Halted, But LACC Reacts

By Abraham Morris-23188624820-abrahammorrisabrahammorris@gmail.com

An ongoing investigation into the construction of Brewerville-Bopolu road project conducted by the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission (LACC) is reportedly halted by its Chairman Cllr. James Verdier, upon President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s instruction.

 

But in reaction, the LACC Boss in an email communication to the In Profile Daily, vehemently denied the allegation and termed the information as “so-called” and news to his ears because it lacks an ounce of truth associated and referenced to him.

 

During an interview with unnamed official of LACC  said an investigation was launched into a contract awarded by the Ministry of Public Works when a former Deputy Minister (name withheld), reportedly called for a Bid of Quantity (BoQ) from Liberian construction firms Westwood and Solid Rocks presented a BoQ of US$3.5millions, but was reportedly rejected because the then Deputy Minister had allegedly contacted Tony Lawal, owner of Pealat Construction to register another company under the name Praise Gloria Lawal (PGL) Construction Company to enable him win the bid.

Accordingly, the source hinted that when Lawal registered the PGL Construction Company, the contract was reportedly awarded him with an unjustified rise of US$5.5millions.

Hence, the source divulged that when former Public Works Minister Antoinette Weeks took over the ministry, she reportedly put hold on the contract due to its alleged dubious and unjustified nature.

The source further hinted that prior to Minister Weeks departure from the ministry, she reported the case to the LACC for investigation due to the alleged dubious nature of the rise in the contract as well as the manner and form in which the contract was awarded and the contractor’s previous work history on the Belle Yallah road.

Therefore, the source further hinted that the General Auditing Commission (GAC) and the LACC wrote Minister Moore to discontinue contract until a full scale audit and investigation is concluded.

The LACC and GAC, according to the insider, further wrote the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), not to issue or disburse a dime on the contract.

Accordingly, the source intimated that since Minister Moore took over the ministry and further allegedly increased the contract for which he was subject to investigation by the LACC.

Additionally, Minister Moore was invited more than thrice along with his lawyer to show the road works been done by the company that necessitated the rise of the contract from US$ 3.5million to US$5.5million and then US$9.5millions.

The LACC insider hinted that Minister Moore reportedly told the LACC investigators that the road was expanded from its previous size; however, the source averred that when LACC took an independent engineer on the road, there were no sign of expansion for which there was an addendum in the contract.

When the In Profile Daily contacted Minister Moore via mobile phone for his reaction to these claims, Minister Moore reply via text saying: “How many times or what the LACC investigates is not my business. To be honest, I don’t care. I have a job to do and focused on it. PGL has a contract to build the road from Brewerville to Bopolu. They won the contract before I became Minister. That contract was expanded as a notice to proceed. Again, this happen before I became Minister.”

Minister Moore continued: “Under my leadership, the expanded contract was regularized and reduced by US$1million. It is just cynical to report absolute nonsense that is not base on actual fact. Have a nice day.”

The LACC source said the alleged halt of the Public Works Minister was due to the involvement of several top officials of government as well as close family members of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

But Cllr. Verdier in further reactions noted: “I have not placed a hold on any investigation; no investigation for that matter is “on hold.” An investigation involving the Ministry of Public Works is progressing unhindered with no interruptions. I would be pleased to see from you or your so-called anonymous source, any evidence demonstrating intent to disrupt said investigation on my part. This is false and so non-existent.”

He furthered: “That I received bribes on two occasions from persons I don’t even know and have not met? I am not only challenging you, but I also pleading with you to make public, the name of the govt official and those Bank accounts. Why are you withholding them? I urge you to make these evidence available immediately. I can assure you that I have not and will never indulge in such “out of character” conduct. There has been no report submitted to my office or the Body of Commissioners, which has been withheld. This is falsehood, this is malicious and it is wicked.”

Cllr. Verdier, in further reaction, also stated that: “I have not met with nor had any discussion with President Johnson-Sirleaf since the LACC launched a one-day training workshop for targeted government of Liberia personnel who were designated to handle asset declaration filing in the three branches of government. This workshop was held at the Corina hotel and it took place sometime in July 2017. Her Excellency attended and launched that workshop.”

He continued: “Mr. Morris, I can also assure you that you are not going to get this level of attention from me again, if you are going to engage in such cheap journalism. I would appreciate that you will confront me with evidence of these so-called “anonymous accusers” present to you before giving such attention to share lies and destructive plans. These cowards only intended to malign and discredit a worthy public servant who continues to uphold integrity, demonstrate rectitude and promote probity in public service. On the other hand, my office remains open and available to work with you all in the media as we undertake the onerous tasks of educating, investigating and prosecuting acts of corruption in Liberia.”

Meanwhile, investigation continues………..

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