Allege that cost is inflated and building is substandard
Citizens of Gbahn and nearby communities in Nimba County electoral District #8 have threatened to reject a guesthouse, constructed for them with funding from ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML) through the county authority, on grounds that the building is substandard. They have also alleged that the actual cost of the building is far less than that officially reported.
The citizens of the town said they received US$30,000 from AML as a benefit to them as project affected communities (PACs). Gbahn and other farming communities near the railroad received this amount from the company due to noise pollution from the freight trains and the destruction of their cash crops, among others.
Gbahn is nearly 5 kilometers from the commercial hub of Ganta and lies astride the highway leading to the southeastern part of Liberia.
The citizens of the district said they are dissatisfied with the alleged misapplication of their deserved benefits as PACs.
Displaying an architectural design of their selected guesthouse, the citizens said, in collaboration with the architect they decided to construct a six-bedroom guesthouse that could be undertaken with the US$30,000 available to them.
James Gatei, the development chairman of Gbahn, said the citizen’s commitment to the project persuaded them to produce bricks, avail land, manpower and other essential materials for the project, yet the company, owned by defeated District# 8 representative candidate Saye Miannah, did not satisfy their dream of having a modern guesthouse.
Since its completion, the guesthouse has not been used by the targeted communities partly because, according to them, it has only an entrance and no exit and lacks electricity and water facilities.
Gatei said that instead of constructing a six-bedroom guesthouse as proposed, Miannah’s company constructed a four-bedroom house with two bathrooms, a small sitting room and a dining room, adding, “besides, the hand pump is malfunctioning and the newly constructed building currently has leaks.”
The aggrieved citizens said although the building was constructed for US$26,000, they alleged that it costs less. According to them, besides the substandard nature of the building, U$4,000 is allegedly missing without accountability.
The citizens of the communities are calling on Nimba County authorities to ensure that the missing amount is made available and that a comprehensive appraisal is done on the building or else they will continue to reject the building.
Gatei said the amount in question, when made available, will be used to electrify the town, apart from providing water and electricity to the guesthouse.
When contacted, the development superintendent of Nimba County, Macpherson Davies, said the county’s leadership is not aware of such a project and they have not received any complaint from the aggrieved citizens.
“They have not reported that to us, and I am not aware of that; it is an emerging development that we have to follow. If they have arranged with a contractor that has billed them without us ensuring that we have value for money, it becomes a problem,” he said.
Davies stated that he neither knows the details of the contract agreement nor had any agreement with Saye Miannah, adding that it might have happened through the district’s Representative.
“What I know of is Honorable Younquoi has an earmarked project that was done through that contracting firm you are talking about, and they had some pitfalls in back-filling of a bridge that they constructed and we had to send our yellow machine to help them. But besides that, I am not aware of anything,” he said.