The 9th Judicial Circuit Court in Gbarnga Bong County has declared suspended Kokoyah Statutory District Superintendent Joseph Weleteh Flomo a wanted man.
In an arrest writ issued on December 20, 2013, the court said Flomo is wanted to stand trial for alleged theft of property and misapplication of entrusted property.
According to the Bong County Attorney, Att’y. Cornelius Flomo Wennah, the case was assigned to the Kokoyah Magisterial Court; but because the case went beyond the trial jurisdiction of the Magisterial Court, it was forwarded to the 9th Judicial Circuit Court for prosecution.
“In the indictment Mr. Weleteh Flomo was charged with theft of property and misapplication of entrusted property; he is required to come to the court to be exonerated from the allegations,” Att’y. Wennah stated.
The Statutory District Superintendent was suspended by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on November 14, 2013, for his alleged involvement with the misapplication of US$30,000, provided by Atlantic Resource Company to the people of Kokoyah Statutory District as rental fee for land used by the company to temporarily pack its logs before transporting them to the port city of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
Flomo was suspended by the Liberian Chief Executive following a formal complaint, filed by the Chairman of the Bong County Legislative Caucus Representative George Sylvester Mulbah to the President, on the alleged misuse of the county’s fund by the Statutory Superintendent, the County Attorney disclosed.
Atlantic Resources is a logging company operating in Lofa County but used the route through Kokoyah Statutory in Bong County to transport its logs to the port city of Buchanan.
The County Attorney informed this paper that the suspended Superintendent is on the run but the Liberian National Police, and other national security apparatuses in and outside the county have been mandated to arrest and turn over the living body of Flomo to the 9th Judicial Court.
Att’y. Wennah maintained that the Statutory Superintendent was encouraged to make himself available to a special investigative panel headed by Bong County Superintendent Selena Polson Mappy for a probe. The county attorney disclosed that after going through the investigation, the team found Flomo guilty of misapplying the county’s fund.
The County Attorney explained that in accordance with the committee’s findings and as required by law, the court subpoenaed Flomo, who failed to appear. “The court had no other alternative but to indict the suspended Statutory Superintendent,” Att’y Wennah added.
The suspended Statutory District Superintendent from an unknown location by a mobile phone conversation with this paper admitted receiving the US$30,000 from the company but said the amount in question was used to implement tangible projects in the three sub-districts and was never diverted into his personal pocket as being claimed by the special investigation panel set up by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
“The money was given to the people of Kokoyah Statutory District not the county as people perceived. Unlike the county’s social development fund, this money is not reflected in the budget law, so it is for the people of Kokoyah, who must decide how to use it—not the county,” Flomo challenged.
He told this reporter that projects were identified by the citizens of the district at a mass meeting in Botota, the district headquarters.
According to him, they resolved that portion of the amount be used to renovate the Administrative Building at the District headquarters, a building that was constructed during the administration of the late President William R. Tolbert; the other two sub-districts received their share of the money for projects they will identify for implementation. He failed to say how much was given the other two districts.
The suspended Superintendent specified that he did not inform the County Superintendent officially upon receipt of the money from Atlantic Resources Company; however, he was swift to tell this paper that the District Representative to the National Legislature Tokpa J. Mulbah was notified.
When contacted via mobile phone Representative Mulbah confirmed that he was aware that Atlantic Resources presented the money to the Kokoyah Statutory District but was not part of any meeting and was never informed by Flomo as to how the money was expended.