Bong Superintendent’s Compound Renovation Works Ordered Stopped

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Front view of the official Residence of the Bong County Superintendent

Development Superintendent questions integrity of the renovation contract selection process

Bong County Assistant Superintendent for Development, Anthony B. Sheriff, has ordered the immediate discontinuation of the renovation works currently ongoing at the official residence of the Superintendent of Bong County.

Speaking to Journalists on Friday night February 7, 2020 in Gbarnga, Mr. Sheriff said halting the renovation works stemmed from decision by the Project Management Committee’s Chairman, Stephen J. Mulbah, to award the renovation contract to a group known as “JIMCO”. JIMCO is a local construction firm based in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.

“I don’t know how Stephen J. Mulbah arrived at awarding the contract to “JIMCO Construction Firm” without the knowledge of the Development Superintendent. How will the PMC Chairman award contract to a group without going through the competitive bidding process? By right, the bidding process should have been advertised on the local radio stations and few of the newspapers, but I don’t think that was done, so I ordered that the renovation work discontinues until we can go back to the drawing-board and review the process” Mr. Sheriff advanced.

Mr. Sheriff said any decision coming from outside of the County Council Sitting Resolution requires an emergency sitting by the delegates or the County Legislative Caucus, but such was never done, adding, “Where did Stephen Mulbah come from with this idea to award contract to a group without the consent of the citizens?”

On a local radio station on Saturday, February 8, 2020, Electoral District #3 Representative, J. Marvin Cole, and Deputy Speaker Prince Moye, described the contract as “illegal” and called on the PMC Chairman to cancel it in the name of accountability and unity, adding, “This has the tendency to bring disunity amongst leaders and citizens of the county.”

The building, which is the official home of the Superintendent of Bong County, was constructed during the administration of President William V. S. Tubman.  It was, however, badly damaged during the long years of civil war in the country.

The official residence of the Superintendent of Bong County has been in ruins, with no attention given the building since it was damaged by a violent rainstorm in March of 2018.

Rear view of the official Residence of the Bong County Superintendent, badly in need of renovation

In 2009 under the leadership of Superintendent Ranney B. Jackson, the county expended a little over US$82,000 from the County Social Development Funds (CSDF) to renovate the building in order to give the Superintendent of the county a befitting residence.

On November 12, 2018 during the County Council Sitting, delegates at that sitting allotted US$ 50,000 for the renovation of the building from the County Social Development Funds.

On Thursday, February 6, 2020, the PMC Chairman Stephen J. Mulbah, who is often observed to be in the center of controversy, told Journalists that the county leadership awarded “JIMCO Construction Firm” the renovation and the fencing project of the building in the tune of US$ 149,000.00, a statement that did not go down well with the Assistant Superintendent for Development and some members of the Bong County Legislative Caucus.

Mulbah said the figure in question was derived by the engineers of the construction firm.

Earlier, Anthony Sheriff informed this reporter that his office made assessment on the damage to the building in early March of 2018 and it was estimated that the county leadership will need US$65,000 to recondition the entire building.

In 2018, the county received US$ 1.1M from concessionaires operating in the county as part of their corporate social responsibility as enshrined in the Mineral Development Agreement, but 70% of that amount was used on liabilities as the county has not dedicated a single project since 2018.

Since 2009 and 2011, ArcelorMittal and China Union began remitting US$ 500,000.00 and US$ 1.7M annually in the county’s account as corporate social responsibilities for affected communities and other projects, respectively.

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