As Lawal Issues $10M Lawsuit Against Journalist, Brewerville/Bopolu Residents Complain Of Deplorable Road Condition, Blames Gov’t

Residents of Brewerville and Bopolu say they are finding it difficult to ply the main road leading from Monrovia via Brewerville, Montserrado County to Bopolu, Gbarpolu County which was reportedly given to the Praise Glory Lawal (PGL) Construction Company has gone from bad to worse, according to residents who spoke to the GNN-Liberia over the weekend.

The residents in the Swen-Mecca district who spoke to our team reporters wondered as to why a lawsuit should be issued against a journalist, Joel Cholo Brooks Publisher of the GNN-Liberia who is trying to create awareness of their plight,  especially a road project that was given to a company, and that company has failed to do so, adding, “The Liberian Government must do something about our road. It is very hard for us to leave from here (Swen-Mecca) to travel through this route due to its deplorable state,” Old man Sando Brown speaking through an interpreter told reporters.

The words of old man Brown were repeated by several other residents of the area who complained that they are not been treated fairly, “We have been cutoff of Monrovia due to the bad road condition, our women cannot sell their produce or buy things from Monrovia for our children. You can see when you drove on this ugly road this afternoon. We are tired of this condition we are living, the Government must do something about our plight,” another resident speaking to the GNN-Liberia said.

PGL which is owned and operated by Tony Lawal, who is believed to be a Nigerian ex-ECOMOG soldier, but reportedly denied that he is a Liberian has allegedly failed to provide an accessible route for residents of the affected area after being awarded the contract by the Ministry of Public Works.

According to documents in the possession of GNN-Liberia which was also followed by an intensive investigation by a team of reporters, the PGL two years ago was awarded a contract valued US$5.5 million to rehabilitate the Brewerville/Bopolu road, but up to date, residents of the areas are using detour to come to Monrovia instead, a situation they said is unbearable.

The awarding of this contract to the Company (PGL) which was allegedly done without following the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC) created greater concern of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) to ask the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning (MFDP) put an halt to the payment the amount (Five Million United States Dollars) to Mr. Lawal and his PGL.

In its communication to the than Minister of MFDP Amara Konneh dated on May 13, 2015 and signed by the Commission’s Program Manager/Enforcement, Mr. Aaron Henry Aboah   said, “The LACC is pleased to inform you of an ongoing investigation surrounding circumstance leading to the award of a contract to Praise Glory Lawal (PGL) Construction Company valued Five Million United States Dollars.  According to the result from the preliminary investigation the PGL has allegedly received One Million Nine Hundred Thousand United States Dollars for the rehabilitation of the Brewerville/Bopolu road project without submission of a Bill Of Quantity or BOQ to the Ministry of Public Works,” the LACC letter availed.

In June of this year (2017), a 7-man committee setup by the Minister of Finance & Development Planning (MFDP) to verify report of the Brewerville/Bopolu road project said, “According to GNN-Liberia investigation, despite of the warning from the LACC, a source said, “From Brewerville Store to the boundary between Gbarpolu to Bomi Counties, the road contained more solft and loose dirt then solid content resulting to continuous erosion.”

The communication to the 7-man committee and signed by Patrick S. Jackson, Senior Compliance Officer, also noted that Kpo Hill which seems challenging to drive through because of no cutting and breaking of the rocks. The Committee said there has been no rehabilitation done Kpo Hill since 2015. The Committee also reported that “Approaching Winnie Town the culverts were poorly done which is resulting to over flow,” the Committee among other things that were left undone were revealed by the Committee.

Instead of making an attempt to visit the road and see its condition, the PGL Chief Executive Officer, Praise Tony Lawal has resolved to issue a lawsuit against the Publisher of the GNN-Liberia in order to divert the attention of the public on the deplorable road condition of the Brewerville/Bopolu road.

Investigation continues

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About Cholo Brooks 5090 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists.