It seems all is not rosy in the local governance of Rivercess County in spite of a recent media report that citizens of the county want Superintendent Wellington Geevon Smith be reappointed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during her second term.
A group calling itself “ the Concerned Citizens of Rivercess County” has accused Superintendent Smith of back passing the Public Procurement Concession Comission (PPCC) law to award projects funded by County Development and Social Development Funds to friends against the interest of the county and its citizens.
A release from the group signed by one Jeremiah O. Brown claimed that Superintendent Smith, “ without the public procurement procedure used forty thousand United States dollars from the County Development Funds and purchased eight pieces of Suzuki motorcycles he claimed each caused five thousand United States dollars”.
The release also alleged that Superintendent Smith, while it is the responsibility of the government to purchase vehicles for its officials, again without the public procurement procedure regarding securing government’s properties, in conjunction with the County Development Superintendent deprived the citizens of thirty thousand United States dollars out of the Social Development Funds and purchased one “Double-Cabin Pick- up” for the Development Superintendent.
The release also indicated that “ it is unthinkable that while all these allegations remain uninvestigated,” certain citizens, “ George Garjay, Morris Neewon, Philip Tarwhea, William G. Gbortoe and Isaac P. Juluto have given misleading information to President Sirleaf’s brother Karney Johnson, to prevail on the President to reappoint Superintendent Smith”.
“Their statement is not only misleading but a betrayal to the people of Rivercess and a complete contradiction of what is obtaining in the county. We therefore call on them to retract their statement and openly apologize to the people of Rivercess County,” the release noted.
The Concerned Citizens also called on President Sirleaf not to give credence to those they called “ paid agents” of the Superintendent, noting, “ we therefore reiterate our call for an audit for the Smith’s administration as it lacks transparency and accountability to the citizens of Rivercess County”.
The In Profile Daily has gathered that some abandoned projects claimed are in Barhn Town, Gozohn Town as well as Bolowhea Town where a commissioner compound earmarked to be constructed is at a standstill.
This paper further gathered that one Henry Sando, Acting County Education Officer of Rivercess, allegedly a friend of Superintendent Smith, was awarded one of the projects being abandoned, while another person (name withheld), secured one of the projects and made away with US$150,000 leaving the project undone.
Meanwhile, when Superintendent Smith was contacted Friday, March 9th, via mobile phone, he termed those accusing him as job seekers, pointing an accusing finger at one Peter Andrews, whom he claimed wants to be Rivercess County.
Superintendent Smith also clarified that he did not purchase eight pieces of motorcycles with US$40,000 as alleged by his accusers, rather it was the Ministry of Internal Affairs that procured and purchased those motorcycles at US$3,500 each.
He also clarified that school projects being implemented in the county are projects under the Ministry of Education as such, he does not have any control or influence over them.
Superintendent Smith in spite of these clarifications promised to produce pieces of evidence regarding the purchase of the motorcycles and further clarifications at his A.B Tolbert Road residence on Saturday, March 10th.
However, when the writer visited the residence, Superintendent Smith requested to glimpse at the press release in question before responding but the writer did not produce the release thus the interview was stalled. “My response is no comment… or my official response is the journalist should go in the country,” he noted and the writer subsequently departed.