The Presidential Task Force headed by Madam Mary Broh has been accused of looting and causing damage to the offices of the York Aqua Mineral Water company, located in the Old Road Community, the Management said. Though Madam Broh confirmed her forced entry, she denied robbing the factory.
General Manager Abraham G. Mendscole said the taskforce, in Madam Broh’s presence, forcefully broke the security booth, the gate to the factory, as well as office doors and took away US$37,350 and over L$400,000 in cash.
Mendscole told journalists that the taskforce, which was in the community to carry out its regular beautification mandate from the President of Liberia, also took a laptop from the office of Mr. Vinoh K. Sharma, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
He added that the taskforce entered the residence of Mr. Sharma, which is in the same fence, and took away a transformer, desktop computer and two cartons of Heineken beer.
“Also in the factory’s garage,” Mendscole said, “the Presidential taskforce allegedly took away four truck batteries, three generator batteries, 63 gallons of diesel (fuel) and six used tires. The looting and destruction of the York Aqua Mineral Water Factory seemed premeditated by the taskforce because the factory was the only building tampered with” in the community.
In response to the allegations, Madam Broh told the Daily Observer that she ordered her workers to forcefully break down doors “which the management had refused to open,” she said, in order to expose the dirty mineral water bags the factory is selling to Liberians.
“I told them to bring all the mineral water outside because it was dirty, but I have no knowledge of the stealing of any money. And let me say I have a video that they are selling dirty water to our people and because of that they need deportation,” Madam Broh said.
According to eye witnesses, the raid on the York Aqua Mineral Water Factory on Tuesday was done in collaboration with the Township of Congo Town.
Eye witnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Daily Observer, “We saw them. They entered the building and we saw them with tubs, buckets, batteries, bicycles but we didn’t see them with money. Maybe they hid them.”
Montserrado County’s District # 10 Representative Julius Berrian has condemned the taskforce’s action at the York Aqua Mineral Water Factory. He said he was extremely taken aback when his office staff told him about the attitude of the taskforce and he was convinced when he saw it on the factory’s CCTV surveillance system.
Rep. Berrian said the destruction and loot carried out by Broh’s taskforce would not scare foreign investors, but has spoiled the legacy of her boss, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and has put over 150 young men and women out of work.
The Montserrado County lawmaker has meanwhile urged President Sirleaf to take the York Aqua Mineral Water Factory’s incident as a litmus test of her campaign against violence to investigate and restitute all that was destroyed or stolen from the factory.
“It’s unfortunate that Broh’s taskforce will stoop so low and loot and destroy the York Aqua Mineral Water Factory. The government should pay back all that was destroyed and looted. This is unacceptable and uncivilized,” Rep. Berrian said.
Mr. Prince P. Sumwor, on behalf of the workers, in a sober tone described the attitude of the Presidential Task Force as “wickedness.”
He said it would have been better for the task force to only break the fence, but to enter and steal money and other things has tainted the image of the government and the President.
Still denying the allegation of theft, Madam Broh said that during her inspection she discovered that there was a pile of dirt in the factory which also houses a mini garage.
“I told them to bring all the mineral water outside because it was dirty, but I have no knowledge of the stealing of any money. I will not allow for Liberians to be drinking the Indian people’s dirty water, so I have to do something for them to know that we know that the water they are selling is dirty and I can prove that,” said Madam Broh.