Over controversial L$500K saga
Nimba County Superintendent Nelson Korquoi has broken silence over an ongoing debate about an alleged L$500,000 sport fees in the county, admitting that he received a check of that amount.
It has been reported in the county that Superintendent Korquoi received a check of L$500,000 from the Ministry of Youth and Sports as the county’s share of the gate intake from last year’s County Meet. But Superintendent Korquoi is thought to have diverted the fund into his personal use.
News about the L$500k sport fees has created a dark cloud over the reputation of the newly-appointed Superintendent, whose induction is yet to be held, as criticisms against him mount on local radio stations in Nimba County.
Admitting on July 7, 2020, to receiving the check, Korquoi displayed the L$500K Central Bank Check, which bears the account title: “Nimba County Sport Association March 20, 2020.”
He denied ever diverting the money into his account as alleged. Rather, he said he has kept the money to ensure the previous signatories to the account are changed.
He explained that since he took over as superintendent, this is the first money he has received on behalf of the county and, therefore, he does not want to place it in an account that he was no signatory to.
According to him, there are two signatories to the sport account; the superintendent of the county signs as signature “A”, while the Fiscal Affairs superintendent signs as signature “B”.
“As you all know, I just took over; all the bank documents bear another person’s name. So, we have to ratify all these documents so I will be able to give an account of any transaction I do,” he said.
“When I received this money, I was waiting to get the record straightened up before it can be deposited and, as you can see, this check it is not in my name,” Supt. Korquoi said.
The issues surrounding this sport check created tension among the citizens, because ordinary citizens do not know it to be a practice of the Ministry of Youth and Sports to release gate intake to a county that reaches the quarter final of the National County Sports Meet.
It was alleged that last year, the county authority headed by former Superintendent Dorr Cooper received about L$250,000 from the Ministry of Youth and Sports as a portion or share of the gate intake.
In a further investigation, the Daily Observer contacted Ministry of Youth and Sport Coordinator in Nimba, Mr. William Mandein, about who is authorized to receive this money from the Youth and Sports, and he confirmed that the superintendent of the county is the one entitled to take delivery of the check. “But he can designate anyone to get the money and deposit it into the county’s sport account,” Mandein said.
According to him, the coordinator is responsible to ensure that the rules governing the County Meet are respected or followed, but anything regarding money is in the hands of the superintendent or anyone he wishes to entrust with the money.
In response to allegations on the local station, former Superintendent D. Dorr Cooper denied ever receiving money from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, but said anything regarding sport is squarely in the hands of the Sport Coordinator and the County Sport Steering Committee.
“I don’t handle any sport money or have anything to do with it,” the former superintendent said.
The outgoing Sport Steering Committee chairman, Adonis Menlor, denied having any signatory to the county sport account.
He explained that the sport steering committee is an ad-hoc committee and can be dissolved after the end of the sporting season, which means their contract is temporary and that they may lobby for funding and receive money from the county authority. But they do not have the power to take money from any account.
Scrap deal with Sethi
Superintendent Korquoi has also denied connection with any clandestine scrap deal as it has been publicized in the press and on social media.
He said upon taking over, he put a halt to the mining of scraps in Yekepa by Sethi Ferro Fabrik until he can understand or revisit the deal between the county and company. Given that, the halt remains in place until otherwise ordered.
Audit of predecessor
But Supt. Korquoi is calling on the central government to conduct an audit of activities of the past administration of the county. According to him, he met the office completely empty and with nothing to start with.
“The residence of the Superintendent is completely empty, no common bed sheet and household utensils, and the building itself requires renovation,” he said.
“All the vehicles and county road building equipment are down, so we need a speedy audit,” he added.
Meanwhile, Supt Nelson Korquoi has reaffirmed his commitment to serving the citizens of Nimba County and implementing the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development of the CDC-led government to the fullest.
“We came in with clean hands and want to leave with clean hands. This is why we are calling for forensic audit of the past leadership so the truth can be revealed.”