What appears to be a pulling and hauling between and amongst local authorities of Lofa County continues to deepen as accusing fingers are being pointed the wrong way around.
The Alpha Logging Company entered into a concession agreement with the Government of Liberia through an Act of the 52nd Legislature of Liberia in 2011. As part of the agreement, Alpha Logging Company Inc., is to carry out logging activities in the Zorzor Forest of Lofa for a period of twenty-five (25) years subject to a five-year periodic review.
In an interview with Lofa County Superintendent, George S. Dunor, he explained that he has no knowledge about the operations and legal existence of Alpha Logging Company in Lofa.
According to him, after being appointed by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and confirmed by the Liberian Senate as Superintendent of Lofa, he entered the county and met the company carrying on logging activities, but has never been officially informed about the legal existence of the company.
He disclosed that he has raised the issue of the logging company operations in the county with members of the Lofa Legislative Caucus, but no one is yet to provide any concrete and legal information to him about the company up to date.
The Lofa County Chief Administrator disclosed that he immediately launched an inquiry with authorities of Alpha but said he is yet to have a clear idea about the operations of the company.
He at the same time declined to state if the company is making any contribution to the nationwide County Social Development Fund (CSDF), but admitted that Lofa regularly receives her fair-share of the County Social Development Fund (CSDF) of two hundred thousand United States Dollars (US$200,000) per county every budget year.
Mr. Dunor referred the team of investigative reporters to members of the Legislative Caucus of Lofa saying, ‘perhaps they will better provide you the necessary information you need’.
But contrary to Mr. Dunor’s claims, the Regional Officer of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) assigned in Lofa County disclosed that the Lofa County Superintendent is aware of the legal operation of Alpha Logging Company Inc.
Boima Ricks told reporters that authorities of both Alpha Logging and Lofa County usually meet on a regular basis. According to Mr. Ricks, Mr. Dunor has been present at several meetings in Lofa where several developmental issues including the much talked about Alpha Logging Company have been discussed in the past years.
Mr. Ricks told reporters that to his knowledge, the company is legally operating in Lofa evidenced by the periodic review of the company’s agreement by the Legislature of which Lofa County has seven members at both the Upper and Lower Houses.
Reports in Lofa County speak about the mysterious disappearance of seventy-five thousand (US$75,000) United States Dollars from the cover of the County after the departure of former Lofa County Superintendent, Galakpai Kortimai in 2012.
According to the report, Mr. Kortimai is reported to have told citizens of Lofa that prior to his departure from office as Superintendent of Lofa, he left behind the said amount which Mr. Dunor reportedly confirmed but later denied ever having knowledge about said money a situation that is yet to be probed to a logical end or conclusion.
Some citizens of Vezala in Lofa County recently told the team of investigative reporters that due to the mysterious disappearance of the money in question, Mr. Dunor and some members of the legislative Caucus of Lofa are currently living with differences and mixed views as regards developmental priorities in the county.
The issue of County Social Development Fund (CSFD) has and continues to be a problem between and amongst various county authorities and county caucuses across the country with reports of misapplication and or misappropriation as well as lack of transparency and interferences with accusing fingers being pointed out at Superintendents and members of some county caucuses.