GNN-Liberia has reliably learned that Tony Lawal, a Nigerian businessman who was awarded several contracts by the former Unity Party-led Government of ex-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the tune of millions of United States dollars to undertake road projects specifically in Gbarpolu and Montserrado Counties that are yet to be completed and seen, is again walking the corridor of the Ministry of Public Works to in a bid to secure another lucrative contract worth over Ten Million United States Dollars for the pavement of streets in Kakata, Margibi County.
Our source further hinted that this Nigerian businessman who is claiming to be a Liberian is using his financial influence to convince authority at the Ministry of Public Works for the Kakata contract, despite of he being in the center of many scandals and investigations of his alleged involvement of illegal activities in Liberia is doing all in his powers to grab this contract worth $10.138, 000.00.
Tony Lawal who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Pealat Constriction Company over the years during the administration of the former Liberian leader, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, have been a business partner of the former president’s sister, Mrs. Jenny Bernard, and reportedly used his connection allegedly to defraud the Liberian government significantly on the construction of the Belle Yella Road, and the Brewerville/Bopolu road of millions of United States dollars.
Tony Lawal also owns another company called the Praise Glory Lawal Construction Company which was invited by the LACC in 2015 in regards to defrauding the Government of Liberia in the amount of US$5.7 million dollars, at that time refused to answer the LACC’s summons and instead fled to Nigeria.
However, when staff of the GNN-Liberia contacted the Minister of Public Works, Mobutu Nyanpen via mobile phone to ascertain the facts about the reported awarding of contract to Lawal and his company, the Minister confirmed that Lawal was one of those who expressed interest to bid for the pavement of the Kakata Streets, but noted that said contract has not been consummated, and that discussions were still ongoing.
He told the GNN-Liberia that his ministry and the Ministry of Finance, Development and Planning are reviewing the bids of all of those who have applied for the contract, stressing, “Up to present the contract to be awarded has not been consummated, Tony Laway has not been given any contract,” Minister Nyanpen told our staff.
In 2015, Tony Lawal filed a ten million United States dollars lawsuit against the Publisher of www.gnnliberia.com at the Civil Law Court after it was reported by this outlet that this Nigerian businessman had allegedly colluded with some Liberian officials in misapplying of more than $18 million US dollars from the Liberian government for the purpose of road construction.
Lawal, who runs several bogus companies in Liberia including the utopia Praise Glory Lawal (PGL) Construction Company filed Action of Damages for Libel case against Journalist Joel Cholo Brooks, Publisher of www.gnnliberia.com for exposing a corruption saga in which he (Lawal’s company),exploiting the Liberian government of more $18 million US dollars for construction contracts which were never fulfilled. At that time, www.gnnliberia.com published series of articles referencing documents from the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).
In one of the documents, the LACC urged the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) to deny payments to the Praise Glory Lawal (PGL) Construction Company until what the LACC described as “The ongoing investigation surrounding circumstance leading to the award of the contract to the PGL Construction Company valued at Five Million United States Dollars” was verified.
According to the LACC’s document, dated May 13, 2015 and signed by the agency’s Program Manager/Enforcement Division, which are in the possession of Globe Afrique, GNN Liberia and several Liberian local dailies, the agency said it had keen interest that “Result from our preliminary investigation suggested that the PGL Construction Company had allegedly received additional one million nine hundred thousand US dollars to rehabilitate the Brewerville–Bopolu road.”
Moreover, reliable sources and the documentation from the LACC point out that the contract was awarded to Lawal’s company without “submission of a Bill of Quantity (BOQ) to the Ministry of Public Works.”
In view of these allegations and based on documentation provided from the LACC against Lawal’s bogus construction company, journalists from www.gnnliberia.com conducted an independent inquiry in order to verify the allegations from the LACC and other sources.
During an assessment and research visit, the journalists also discovered a 5-page document from the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning (MFDP), describing the poor and unprofessional performance of Praise Glory Lawal Construction Company on the so-called rehabilitation work it claimed had been done on the Brewerville/Bopolu road.
The MFDP noted in its report: “PGL is registered under Code F4100 which is for the construction and renovation of buildings, instead of roads and railways.” According to the MFDP, this statement in the PGL Company’s registration documents undermines and contradicts the rationale behind why the Ministry of Public Works would award road construction contracts to the company.
In another development, findings dated June 27, 2017, also revealed the Verification Committee’s disappointment as to why more road construction contracts were awarded to PGL Construction Company, a non-Liberian owned business that did not bring in its own resources.
According to verification team, “Physical verification established that from Kpo Hill to Bomnoma, there is no clearing of vegetation on the side of the road. From Gandima to Bopolu there is no evidence of clearing of vegetation. We verified twenty-three bridges and eight drainages; out of the eight, six are untouched, there were two drainages constructed by the Company (PGL) with incomplete wing walls causing erosion that undermines the culverts. Bridges on this road are still in a deplorable state, meaning that they were not improved by the Company in accordance with the contract. Approaching Winnie Town, the culverts were poorly done which is resulting in the overflow of the water.”
The government’s Verification Committee membership comprised Ezekiel Korva; acting director of the Accounting Service Unit; Steve Joe, director of the Physical Audit Unit; Juvenal C. Pearson, assistant director of Physical Audit Unit; Gabriel B. Nyenpan, II, Senior Compliance Auditor; Patrick S. Jackson, Senior Compliance Officer; and Sando Adams, Compliance Auditor.
From all indications, PGL defaulted in its contracts agreement signed with the Liberian Government to rehabilitate roads in rural Liberia and leeward counties. Apart from that, the company lacks the expertise and professionals to handle and manage architectural and construction works as well as project management.
Besides, PGL Construction Company was set up to renovate homes, not roads. However, Lawal, according to sources, used his connection with influential people close to the Liberian presidency and various government agencies, particularly at the Ministry of Public Works to secure multi-million dollars construction contracts that he and his company have no prior experience and expertise in carrying out.
Reliable sources and research revealed that Lawal’s PGL Company is a front and vehicle for some corrupt government officials and influential individuals. These people continue to protect Lawal by using their power and influence in the country.
Meanwhile, residents of the areas where the roads supposed to be renovated called on the Liberian government and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for explanation and answers but so far, the Liberian presidency which has, over the years, said, corruption was “public enemy number one” has gone AWOL on the Lawal’s corruption saga.