LIBERIA: House Halts Payments To Road Construction Firm

The Plenary of the House of Representatives has endorsed recommendations by the Joint Committee on Public Works and Contracts and Monopolies calling for a halt to further payments of money to the SEK Liberia Incorporated.

The road construction company was awarded the Logan Town Road construction project.

Plenary has resolved to write the Ministries of Finance and Public Works informing them of its decision putting a halt to further payments of money to the company, pending the outcome of investigation to be conducted by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC)  and the Ministry of Justice into the road project.

According to the Liberia News Agency (LINA), the recommendations of the Committee which was mandated by plenary two weeks ago, to carry out a probe into the award and administration of roads and infrastructure projects undertaken by foreign and local contractors in Liberia, were contained in its report to Plenary on Thursday.

The Committee reported that during the investigation, it found out that SEK is an Ivorian Company being operated from Abidjan with local counterparts playing figure-headed roles.

During the investigation, it was discovered that the Chairman of SEK Liberia Incorporated, Mamady Komah flies into Monrovia whenever payments from the Ministry of Finance are due, and flies out without proper arrangements, for the continuation of the road project in keeping with contract specification.

According to the Committee's report, the then authorities of the Public Works Ministry had determined that the company lacked the capacity both financially and in terms of equipment, to execute the full specification of the contract.

It made specific reference to a letter dated April18, 2012 and signed by Assistant Ministers for Operations and Construction respectively, Messrs. William Slour and Victor Smith, terminating the Logan Town and Momboe Town road project.

The Committee reported that two weeks after the April 18, 2012 letter, the Ministry of Public Works wrote SEK to proceed with the works, and in the same letter increased the contract cost by US$1,981,134.16, thus increasing the contract value from the initial US$1,671.903.80 to

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