Corruption Over COVID – 19 Stimulus Package in Nimba County

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Flag of Nimba County

Tension is brewing in the Buu-Yao Administrative District, Nimba County, over the extortion of money from the citizens before receiving their portion of the COVID – stimulus package.

Information reaching the Daily Observer suggests that there is a collection of money from each of the bordering towns, including Buutuo, Beuhlay, and Dinplay among others to get their portions of the stimulus package.

Dixon Koryeah, a concerned citizen of the district, told the Daily Observer that each town had been asked to pay not less than L$15,000 depending on the size or population of the NGO in charge of the distribution.

“Depending on the size and population of the town, some towns are paying the amount of L$ 15, 000, L$ 20, 000 and even L$ 30, 000 for the stimulus package,” he said.

Mr. Koryeah pointed accusing fingers at Prince Kpelah, Town Chief of Buutuo, Mr. Prince, who accordingly is being selected by the distributor to collect the money. When contacted via mobile phone, Mr. Kpelah confirmed the collection but said no NGO ever instructed them to do so. He said the communities decided to collect the among themselves to enable the food items to reach them.

Although he did explain how much each town was paying and how much he had collected so far, he said communities including Buutuo, Beuhlay Old and New towns, Tanwea, Younlay, and Gbanwea were carrying out the collection.

He explained that the World Food Program (WFP) brought their stimulus package and dropped it about 70km away, and if an individual was to receive their ration, it may cost over L$1,000 a trip by motorbike. The six communities mentioned earlier decided to collect money so as to hire trucks to bring the food close to their location.

“When WFP brought the food, they dropped it in Beeplay near Bahn, and we said if we go there individually and it will cost a huge amount individually. So, we decided to hire a truck to transport the 600 bags along with oil and beans,” Mr. Kpelah clarified.

The distribution of the COVID – 19 stimulus package landed in confusion in January, when some angry citizens ransack the warehouse in Gbadin, looted the supplies on claims that they were delaying to distribute them.

In February, the same incident occurred around the same Buu – Yao belt, particularly in Gblarlay where the was complaint of massive selling of the food items to vendors leaving the beneficiaries out, but this incident is yet to be verified. It is not clear, which of the local NGOs is carrying on the distribution in the Buu-Yao area, as all those contacted for their identity could call a name.

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