The Consortium of Civil Society Organizations of Liberia (CONCISOL) has frowned at internal wrangling currently ongoing between the Africa Rice Managerial Team and the Central Agriculture Research Institute (CARI), calling mainly on CARI to rule out politics in its work as the institution is meant for technical services and not a political institution.
According to the civil society group, CARI Officer-In-Charge, Paulette G. Findley, and Africa Rice Representative to Liberia, Inoussa Akintayo, have in recent times been at loggerheads, with Madam Findley accusing Akintayo of some practices not expedient of the AR Representative.
In a release issued on July 16, 2020, the group noted as an unfounded allegation that the Africa Rice Representative was keeping expatriates in a building belonging to CARI. The release quoted the group as stating that Africa Rice, as an international organization operating widely in Africa and other parts of the world, will lodge its staffers in its operational setting and not outside of such vicinity.
In another allegation, the group indicated after conducting its investigation, it realized a statement by OIC Findley that expatriates are paid a prodigious amount of money more than the scientists of CARI is contrary to the reality on the ground.
While, the press statement, the Consortium of Civil Society Organizations did not state how much an expatriate is paid, it said expatriates are paid harmoniously in line with best international financial management practices, and scientists to the projects are only trainees who will serve the institution and champion the cause for meaningful managerial and effective status hereafter for future references.
The civil society group also noted with emphasis that memorandum of understanding between Africa Rice and the Ministry of Agriculture to work in Liberia was signed by all parties including CARI and NaFAA with copies shared contrary to OIC Findley’s assertion that CARI and others do not have copies of the document.
The group, quoting documents it claims to possess notes: “Documents in our possession also show that in the MOU, CARI is benefitting US$900 per month as a contribution towards the purchase of fuel oil for the entity generator. And as we stand, the leadership of CARI through its OIC, Mrs. Paulette G. Findley, has already received three months of this allotment.”
Concerning two vehicles said to be in possession of Africa Rice, CONCISOL said “Our investigation has also revealed that it has also been alleged by the OIC of CARI that two (2) vehicles are still in the possession of Africa Rice. Only one (1) vehicle, which is a Toyota Hilux Pickup, is in the possession of Africa Rice, and this vehicle was purchased by Africa Rice as regards to their previous project that ended June 2020.”
“Over the last few weeks, with deep remorse, the Consortium of Civil Society Organization of Liberia’s investigation established that Africa Rice is Rice and Fish Production Company, and the Country Director, Mr. Akintayo is a long time scientist, Agriculturalist, and a Crops farmer,” said the group.
According to the group, the project currently under review which allegations have been leveled against AR Representative Akintayo is an EU funded project with a 3.4million investment package with said named under: “Fish and Rice Integration Project.”
The Consortium of Civil Society Organization of Liberia reiterated its call on the management of CARI to turn down the politics to allow the common good of the Liberian people to prevail over individual interest.
It further called on President George Manneh Weah to weed out all political employees of CARI who put on destructive political garment against investors and donor partners as this technical institution is meant for productivity and not a war of words to give favor to some.
The group in its statement signed by the spokesperson, Samuel Benson, further called on the CARI authority to exercise the required role to ensure that the proper due diligence is observed in all operations with the authority of Africa Rice.