Former Nimba Superintendent and candidate in the upcoming special senatorial election, Mrs. Edith Gongloe-Weh, has admitted to receiving house furniture from ArcelorMittal Liberia, while serving as Superintendent of Nimba, but said it was her personal gifts she requested from the company while serving as Superintendent.
In a clash between Madam Gongloe-Weh and former Senator Adolphus Saye Taayor Dolo in a debate organized by a community radio group and the Liberia Media for Development Initiatives (LMDI) in Tappita, on November 30, 2020, Dolo accused Mrs. Gongloe-Weh of receiving furniture from Mittal for use at the Superintendent’s compound but diverted the items to her home outside of the compound. He also said Mrs. Weh looted the compound while leaving the office in 2011.
In response, former Superintendent Gongloe-Weh admitted receiving some furniture from the concessionaire but denied that it was for the Superintendent’s compound. According to her, she made the request when she was building her house in her village.
She said when she was building her house in her home village, she asked one of the company’s managers, identified as Mark, to help her with furniture and it is based on her request that the furniture was given, which she took to her village upon receipt.
Mrs. Gongloe-Weh named those items as a set of dining room furniture and a set of living room furniture.
Responding to the allegation that she looted or took away some items while leaving the superintendent’s compound, she said she only took personal belongings.
Mrs. Gongloe-Weh explained that when she was appointed as superintendent, she took with her mattresses, dishes, icebox and other personal belongings she brought from the USA and she decided to take them away.
“All the government belongings marked “GSA” and even the ones we bought from the county account, were never touched. We left them in the Superintendent’s compound,” she said.
Mrs. Edith Gongloe-Weh has come under the spotlight on allegations of corruption while serving as Superintendent of Nimba from 2009 to 2011. A key point of contention is her alleged misapplication of the US$800k in the preparations for and hosting of the National Independence Day Celebrations, held in Nimba in 2010, where the five public latrines built each cost US$14,000. The toilet facilities in question have commodes, spaces for bathing and a 500 gallons water storage in each. She has always denied the allegation and referenced the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) as an integrity institution that is in the know of all that she did in terms of procurement and awarding of contracts.
Former Senator Dolo said the issue of leadership is all about integrity, moral judgment and being corruption-free, for which he stands firm defense for and will uphold, if elected.
Mrs. Weh critiqued the role of former Senator Dolo as an ex-militia general who vandalized a modern rock crusher built by LAMCO and looted same for shipment to Guinea for sale, but Dolo denied having any connection with the claim.
Dolo is a former General of the rebel group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), loyal to jailed former President Charles Taylor. After the departure of Taylor on August 11, 2003, Dolo headed the militia group that left in control of Nimba after the entire country had fallen in the hands of rebel groups including the Liberia United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL). Both rebel groups made advances on Nimba as Taylor, who would supply arms and ammunition, was no longer in power. Dolo, as the head of the militia group defending Nimba, controlled this group until the intervention of the ECOWAS Mission in Liberia (ECOMIL) and subsequently the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
Former General Dolo used this achievement in Nimba in the 2005 presidential and legislative elections to succeed as a Senator along with warlord Prince Johnson who also controlled the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia in the 1990s. Dolo lost in the 2011 election to Thomas Grupee after his six-year constitutional tenure, and is now contesting for the same position but for nine years, if successful.
Madam Gongloe-Weh, asking Dolo further, said: “What did you leave undone and you want to come back to complete?”
In response, Adolphus Dolo spoke of playing proactive roles in the erection of the Jackson Fiah Doe Hospital in Tappita and reconciling the citizens and ensuring that feeder roads were rehabilitated.
Dolo, in 2009, refused to accept his share of the 100 pickups given to the 52nd Legislature by Arcelor Mittal.
During this period, Dolo was one of those who refused to accept US$400 of about US$6,000 the Nimba Legislative Caucus under Prince Johnson slashed from the county’s social development fund for lawmakers’ allotments made from county coffers to enhance the legislative supervision in the county.
He reasoned at the time that all the lawmakers were getting extra allotment from the national budget to enhance their supervision as part of their legislative duties.
Dolo has, for the most part, been considered by others who had worked for him as an authoritarian who wants his will to prevail without advice from anyone.
Of the seven candidates in the senatorial race in Nimba, only three, including Adolphus Dolo, Edith Gongloe-Weh and D. Dorr Cooper, turned out. The rest were campaigning in other parts of the county.
Dolo remained firm on integrity and moral checking when he asked former superintendent Dorr Cooper to explain how the street in Ganta, called “Dorr Cooper Avenue”, came about, and Dorr responded that the street was named by the community dwellers and not him.