Nimba Legislative Caucus, County Authority Resolve Dispute

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Nimba County Superintendent, Fong Zuagele has disclosed that cordial relationship has been restored between the county authority and the legislative caucus following a protracted period of hauling and pulling.

Zuagele told the Daily Observer recently in Sanniquellie, “March 20 made me two years as Superintendent, and when we got here, we began on a roller coaster because we were misunderstood. My brothers in the caucus had some bad feelings about the conduct of some officials of the county, but with the intervention of Nimba businessman Tomah-Seh Floyd and the coming of Development Superintendent Dorr Cooper and others, we are working together smoothly as a team.”

He said restoring relations between the county administration and the caucus brought changes at all levels involving the “Assistant Superintendent for Development and the Project Management Committee (PMC), coupled with the appointment of Assistant Superintendent for Fiscal Affairs.”

Zuagele said the chairmanship of the Legislative Caucus was turned over from Senator Thomas Grupee to Senator Prince Johnson to settle the leadership dispute that existed among its members.

Since the changes were made, the caucus and the county administration are working in unity with the goal of bringing improvement to the county, the Supt. said.

He added that with cohesion existing among them, caucus and the county authority are moving on with every activity the national government has released money for, citing the opening of streets, building of schools, awarding scholarships and assisting the county community college.

He said as head of the team, his role is to strengthen his deputies to do their work under the economic principle of division of labor.

Supt. Zuagele said restoration of relations between the county authority and the Legislative Caucus now allows him to issue gas coupons and scratch cards to local chiefs.

According to him, the coupons and scratch cards are meant to empower the local chiefs and to allow regular flow of communications, and unhindered travel to wherever they are called.

He indicated that an accounting system has been set up to ensure checks and balance in line with the Public Financial Management Act, and noted that as a result, the Ministry of Finance has commenced releasing Nimba County’s money withheld over the years.

He said they first received US$ 2.6 million when he took over and they recently received US$1.9 million after the Public Procurement and Concession Commission approved the county’s procurement plan.

The Nimba Legislative Caucus and the County Administration had been at odds over the use of development funds in the county. It led District #9 Representative, R. Matinokay Tingba to requeset the House of Representatives to summon Supt. Zuagele and former Assistant Superintendent for Development, Teko Tozay Yorlay.

At the hearing, some members of the Nimba Legislative Caucus said they would not work with the county administration if the two senior officials were part of it.

A few months later the Ministry of Internal Affairs dismissed Assistant Superintendent for Development, Teko Yorlay, but maintained Superintendent Zuagele. Teko was later appointed by President Sirleaf as Assistant Minister for Youth Development at the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

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