Who Controls US$100K CU Subsidy from GOL?

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The administration of Cuttington University in Suakoko District, Bong County has clarified for the first time that it does not have control over a US$100,000 subsidy from the Government of Liberia (GOL).

The clarification comes in the wake of a recent letter to the CU administration from Rivercess County Education Officer, and also a former lawmaker of Bong County, Samuel Bondo seeking explanation on the usage of the US$100,000 allotted by the government under the category, “Local Scholarships at Cuttington.”

The University’s director of public relations, Prince V. Sampson, disclosed that the amount in question is being expended by Rep. Edward Karfiah through the Neyongor Welekelen Scholarship Scheme and Senator Jewel Howard Taylor through the Land Grant Scholarship, respectively.

Mr. Sampson said at a news conference that the money is a CU subsidy, and that the administration has been instructed by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) to direct the money to the legislative programs of the two lawmakers.

“We don’t have absolute control over this particular money and we don’t know how it is being expended. There is no written document from either of these lawmakers acknowledging us on the usage of the money despite being a CU subsidy,” Mr. Sampson said.

The CU public relations director explained that the administration of Cuttington through its president, Dr. Evelyn Kandakai, during the last fiscal year wrote the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning requesting MFDP to detach the US$100,000 from the CU subsidy on grounds that the university has no authority over the usage of the money.

“These are things that can embarrass us in our report especially when auditors come to audit government funds sent to the institution. If these lawmakers were giving us reports, we could attach their reports to ours and provide it to the government,” Mr. Sampson explained.

Rivercess County education officer Samuel Bondo on February 8 addressed a letter to CU President Dr. Kandakai seeking an explanation on how the money was being managed and who were the direct beneficiaries of the scholarship.

In the 2012/2013 budget year, Cuttington received US$1 million from government as a subsidy. The subsidy amount has been drastically reduced to less than half of the US$1 million.

In an interview with a local radio station in Gbarnga over the weekend, the political affairs officer in the office of Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, Josiah Marvin Cole, said at no time did the Land Grant Scholarship place the money as part of Cuttington University’s subsidy.

Mr. Cole explained that the Land Grant Scholarship has budgetary allotment in the National Budget, but not under Cuttington, as claimed by the CU administration, and challenged the University to provide documents to support the claim.

When contacted for comment on the issue, the office of Rep. Edward Karfiah said it will comment on the situation at the appropriate time.

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