Construction work on the multi-purpose Tappita City Hall in Lower Nimba County has reportedly stalled due to the alleged failure of an individual to deliver US$25,000 entrusted to her by project sponsors in Australia to the Tappita City Council for the building project.
Project initiators residing in Australia had requested one Amanda Gbarmo Ndorbor who was returning to Liberia to convey the amount of US$25,000 to the Tappita City Council to fast track the building project.
The money, according to Tappita City Mayor, Sarah Z. Mendoabor, was sent by three officials of the Nimba Union in Australia through Ms. Ndorbor also from Nimba County. But the funds did not reach the Tappita City Council. It is alleged that Ms. Ndorbor squandered the money intended for the development project in her own county.
According to Mayor Mendoabor, Ms. Ndorbor converted the funds to her personal use upon her arrival in Liberia. This has infuriated the Tappita City Mayor to the extent that she is threatening legal action against Ms. Ndorbor.
Meanwhile, Amanda has since made part payment of the money through Ecobank-Liberia, in the amount of US$9,400 leaving a balance of US$15,600 owed to the Tappita City Council.
“Following the initial refund on cash deposit slips from Ecobank-Liberia, Ndorbor has pledged to make available the balance of US$15, 000,” says Mayor Mendoabor.
However, Ndorbor in her hand written promissory note dated January 31, 2015 to representatives of the Nimba Association of Australia, has requested for time to make the balance payment. She has at the same time promised to make final payment whenever she retrieves her luggage which she claims the airline she traveled on took to another destination.
She reportedly received the amount of US$25,000 (now in question) from vice president for Administration of the Nimba Citizens Union in Australia, Amos W. Dogolea and two other officials on December 31, 2014, while en-route to Liberia.
Ms. Ndorbor was returning to Liberia after completing her studies in Australia where she obtained her Master’s degree in health-related courses.
When the Daily Observer contacted the accused yesterday by mobile phone, she told our reporter that she was busy and at the time attending a meeting.
“Right now, I am busy at work and in a meeting so I am not able to respond because I am busy. I will give you a call within an hour,” she promised at 1:14 P.M yesterday.
But when she called back at 3:38 P.M. she explained that she arrived in the country on January 4, 2015, but her luggage, which she claimed contained a portion of the US$25,000 did not arrive and has not been traced by the airline. She did not name the airline in question, but said she was going through a lot of problems since she arrived in the country from Australia.
The foundation for the two-storey building, which was started in March this year, has been completed, but there is no money now to continue the project since Amanda, who reportedly brought the second installment of the money, US$25,000, for the project, has allegedly failed to produce the full amount to continue the project.
Madam Mendoabor told the Daily Observer that she will pursue Ms. Ndorbor “until the money is produced out of her, even if this will mean going the extra mile.”
Nimbaians residing in Australia and the Tappita City Council are collaborating to construct the hall, but a huge portion of the US$161,000 earmarked for the project is expected to come from the Australia group.
It was based on that agreement that the US$25,000 was sent by Ndorbor, but little did the Australian group expect their money to end up in her personal account.
"At the moment, the project has stalled due to lack of funding, but we are hoping that very soon our foreign-based counterparts will make some money available to take us to the final stage of completion," Madam Mendoabor confidently told this newspaper few months ago at her office in Tappita.
For his part, the manager of the Millennium Construction Firm, Isaac G. Kabakollie, told the Daily Observer recently that the architectural design of the hall is meant to host comfortably several different events simultaneously, without inconvenience to the users.
Since completing the foundation the issue of funding has hampered the work, exposing most of the planted steel rods to extreme sun light thus posing some danger to them.
"If we had the money, I can assure you that this project would be finished the first part of this year," Mr. Kabakollie asserted.
A similar construction of a city hall under the auspices of the Nimba Citizens Union in Australia, in collaboration with the Ganta City Council, is also expected to kick off shortly, an official of the Association has assured.
However, with this latest development, residents are now uneasy since one of their own Nimba daughters, who had the opportunity to come home with the needed funds from Australia, could not account for the money up to the present.