‘Executive Mansion Still Unusable, Incomplete After US$33.4M Payout’

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Since fire gutted the Executive Mansion on July 26, 2006, renovation works on the building are yet to be completed.

— House Special Investigative Committee Reports

Longstanding public perception of gross corruption and waste associated with the Executive Mansion renovation project appears to have strong elements of truth, given revelations by the House of Representatives Special Investigative Committee, whose recent probe into the matter confirmed that, despite enormous sums of money (US$33,492,101) spent on the renovation project over a 13-year period, the Executive Mansion remains in a state of disuse.

In a report to the House Plenary on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 during the 10th day Special Sitting, the House Special Committee, appointed to investigate the renovation of the Executive Mansion, said to date, 14 years after the fire incident which occurred on July 26, 2006, the Executive Mansion remains unusable. The renovation is incomplete and artifacts of historic significance preserved at the Executive Mansion before and after the armed conflict, have not been found and are yet to be accounted for.

The 7-man Special Committee chaired by Grand Gedeh County District #2 Representative George S. Boley, in its report, said the Executive Mansion’s renovation project is a complex web of apparent collusion by individual actors at practically all levels of governance. The report indicated that several companies, contractors and individuals associated with the ongoing renovation are yet to be identified.

Other members of the Committee are representatives Jimmy Smith, J. Fonati Koffa, Robert F. Womba, Rosana Schaack, Acarous Gray and Tibelrosa Tarponweh.

The House of Representatives Special Investigative Committee said, “No one has been held accountable for his or her conduct in the misapplication of the national resources expended, to date for the 13-year-old ongoing project of the Executive Mansion.”

Former Special Presidential Task Force’s Findings

The Committee said that it obtained a report from a Special Presidential Task Force established by former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to investigate the Executive Mansion’s renovation, and that the report was submitted on June 21, 2017. Findings and recommendations of the report are yet to be addressed.

Between April 2011 and January 2015, a total of US$24,788,101.18 was expended to repair the Executive Mansion. Several contractors, subcontractors and individuals were involved. A General Auditing Commission (GAC) report for the period of July 1, 2006 through December 31, 2015 reveals that the Executive Mansion’s renovation contract was awarded in three phases.

Phase 1 Contract was for the fourth floor only, where the fire took place. Phase 2 contract was for the renovation of the seventh and other floors unaffected by the fire; Phase 3 contract was to undo all the renovation work previously done due to the use of substandard materials by the first contractor, CNQC, a Chinese construction firm.

The Special Committee noted that CNQC Quinlian (LIB) was the first major contractor hired to renovate the Executive Mansion, despite the fact that the company had no extensive work experience in Liberia. Other contractors included Milton & Richards, Pan African Engineering Group, Cape Resources and Vax.

The report further said the CNQC contract was terminated July 1, 2015 as the materials used to renovate the mansion were grossly substandard. “Most of everyone associated with the first and second CNQC contract did not do justice to the government as per the findings of the report of the Special Presidential Task Force established by President Sirleaf. Those companies are yet to account for their respective roles in the renovation of the Executive Mansion.

The report detailed instances of the dereliction of duty and apparent collusion between the CNQC and individual actors associated with the Executive Mansion’s renovation through December 2015, the House Special Committee reported.

AIRRET Vs Ecobank Liberia

The Special Committee said after meeting with Solicitor General Syrenius Cephus and Cllr. Arthur Johnson of the Assets Investigation, Restitution and Recovery Team (AIRRET), it has realized that the government is planning to file a lawsuit against the management of Ecobank Liberia to recover the US$4,378,245.49 performance bond (indemnity bond) in relation to the Executive Mansion’s renovation Ecobank Liberia issued, as required on behalf of CNQC.

“No one has been held accountable for his or her conduct in the misapplication of the national resources expended, to date for the 13-year old ongoing renovation project of the Executive Mansion,” the Committee report said.

It added, “Since the termination of the CNQC renovation contract in 2015, other contractors continue to work on the renovation of the Executive Mansion, but the Committee has not had the time to know and contact individuals and contractors involved with the ongoing renovation of the Executive Mansion.”

The Committee on the Renovation of the Executive Mansion requested for an additional three months to continue its probe of contractors’ performance as of 2015 and the ongoing renovation, and that the House of Representatives provides US$30,000 to the Committee to facilitate its investigation.

14 COMMENTS

  1. 33 million US spent to renovate the mansion and still not completed while thousands of Liberian children cannot attend school because of insufficient schools and inadequate space. Imagine how many schools 33 million could build around the country. People associated with this project need to be investigated and if found guilty, they should pay back or go to jail.

    • In a rational or normal situation, before renovating a building, surely, estimate is made both of the cost as well as when the timeline for competition of the project. But then this is the Liberian government system which is hopelessly incapable of ever doing anything of substance without it being essentially soaked and dripping with corruption. More importantly, this and other criminal activities thrive because the players in such activities never face dire consequences.

      Since the light of day has brought this scam to public view, the only way to cut our losses is t simply demolish that building. At least then we can start with a clean slate by building a new executive mansion contracted the builders of the new ministerial complex in Congo Town.

      • Notice the last statement of this report: “The Committee on the Renovation of the Executive Mansion requested for an additional three months to continue its probe of contractors’ performance as of 2015 and the ongoing renovation, and that the House of Representatives provides US$30,000 to the Committee to facilitate its investigation.”

        The committee realized this is an easy money making case for all involved so they are going after theirs. In the end nothing will come of it so why not get some for themselves.

  2. I believe the Assets Recovery Team will not only hold Eco bank liable, but will also investigate other interested parties linked to the E-mansion renovation such as the other contractors that were hired.

    • It looks like you have too much confidence in the Assets Recovery Team although they haven’t yet recovered a dime. Until they produce results, I won’t bet on it.

  3. Wouldn’t it had been easier if the government of Liberia would have contracted the original Israeli company that built the Executive Mansion to do the renovation work? I think this would have been a better route to take since they know its blue print and can deal with its technological intricacies more than anyone else.

    Why has it been impossible for the government to do this?

  4. Apart from the Executive Mansion being renovated, this is an old political and money making game that illiterate citizens do not know about. When the President used his personal properties to work or to live in, who is responsible to pay for the used of that property? As it has been over the years, the President of Liberia is Homeless. It is the responsibility of the country to provide for the safety and housing facilities for its head of state. This is the normal practiced the whole world. In the case that the nation can not provide housing for its head of state, and the President has to use his personal properties to work and live, the government pays the bills or the rental fees. This is an old game played on the citizens in the days of Tolbert and Taylor. But Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and George Weah are taking full advantage of the fact they have to use their personal properties since the nation and its citizens have failed to provide them a living and working quarters. What the citizens actually do not know will not hurt them. Cause how much is being paid to both Presidents they just do not know. That amount could be one million US dollars, two million USD or above. And that comes from the budget to renovate the mansion which is being controlled by the same Executive Branch in its budget. That is the pepper spray the Presidents have been using against its citizens for them not to know that they are being charged for rental fees. The two Presidents are Homeless. Ellen was Homeless and Weah is Homeless. Someone has to pay both Presidents for the used of their properties. It is very much unfortunate that the article failed to pinpoint which agencies of government is responsible for renovation. Which independent committee is responsible for the work on the renovation. Is it Public Works ? Is it the Finance Ministry ? Well go figure ? Until then the President of the Republic is Homeless, and the used of his personal properties as his living quarters, the nation is on the hook to pay. That is the new low of this regime and previous regimes . It is called putting pepper spray into the eyes of the very citizens they would prosecute for stealing from the government.

    • George Weah is the only Head of State in the Sub-region and in the World that is Homeless ! And the illiterate citizens are of the opinion that by Weah using his personal properties, he is saving the nation some money. Cause what they do not know will not hurt them at all. But James Davis is feeling their pain due to their backwardness caused by their illiteracy. A two to five million US dollars renovation is nearing 40 million US dollars. Wow !

  5. Someone in this string of opinion line asked a poignant question, and I paraphrase the question: Why not ask the Israeli builders who built the Executive Mansion to do the renovation work from the very beginning – say on July 28 or July 30, 2006? This very question tells a lot of stories about the Liberian Government, our Government! The main actors in government – the president and his/her advisors and the legislators – know the right answers to a given problem (a given “challenge”) facing the government. They even know the right people with the right acumen and the right disposition to solve that problem efficiently and timely, but these government officials would rather behave as if the problem were insurmountable and would rather appoint people who are grossly incompetent or crooks to solve the problem.

    The scenario given above tells you much about presidential appointments made to fill important positions in our Liberian Government! Our latest keynote speaker during this year’s independence day celebration alluded to this fact when she made it a refrain in her speech that the corrupt nature of our government passes from one administration to the next – From one president to the next president who immediately follows.

    They know the right decisions to make – at least most of the time – and the right people to put in key positions in order to further their agendas either in the right direction for proper nation building or in the direction that will help them to amass personal wealth for themselves, their family, and their friends as quickly as possible. Most of them choose the latter, unfortunately at the detriment of the Liberian people and the nation! In the case of the executive mansion, they would rather give the contract to any other “contractors” but the Israeli contractors who would most likely do an efficient job in a timely manner with less cost. The millions of US dollars wasted find their way in the pockets of these decision makers.

  6. Leaders of our country are very insincere, lack total love for country they claim to lead but are getting it into backwardness. 33,000,000 million is no small boy money that can’t complete a state house in terms of renovation. Is this a new structure for which all this has been expended? If this was truly used, this mansion must be in its glorious form by now. Do we understand how much such millions can do in this country? And for what reasons do these law makers request 30,000? They should not be given a dime to do this investigation. Why are they paid every month such huge salaries? Is it not for cases like these? Ooh, they see this as a process of joining the Executive to suffocate their own country into a financial condition where we can’t easily emerge? Shame on you who see the evil yet want add to it.

    • All what have been said still points to the fact the George Weah as President is officially Homeless. If he did not build his multimillion complexes, he would be living in the same old rundown structure. But off he goes to Ghana , there he will find be entertained in the Presidential Palace of Ghana . Off to Senegal there he will be entertained with the best of foods and drinks. Invite those same head of state to Liberia, oh well, no palace, no Mansion, but hotel to entertain or the backyard of the Embassy. Or his private property. A Homeless President without shame. At 172 , and counting, no place for the head of state.

  7. MY TURN: $33 million dollars wasted just to renovate an executive mansion? up to now…there is no one responsible for this (monies) that was spent?…to add injuries further, the house committee appointed and headed by George Boley to investigate this malfeasance are asking for $33,000USD to conduct investigation…..are you kidding me?…..For the President, it is a chopping gala for him ….while the tax payers continue to provide extra money for the president home as rental property….God help Liberia

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