Former Superintendent of Sinoe County in southeastern Liberia and now Senator of the County, J. Milton Teajay has been ordered arrested if he fails to pay into government revenue a fine of $50,000.00 into government revenue by the Judge of the 14 Judicial Circuit in Rivercess County after being found guilty of misappropriation of the County’s development funds.
Handling down the ruling yesterday, after months of legal battle between the former Superintendent and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) for his alleged link to the misappropriation of over $700,000.00 during his tenure as Superintendent of the County, the state radio (ELBC) Correspondent said His Honor Judge S. Geevon Smith in the County has ordered the Senator to pay the fine within nine months or go to jail.
Prior to this latest development, the than Superintendent was indicted by by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), after been accused of expending US$50,000, representing 30% of land rental fees entrusted to him by the Government for the development of the county.
“In addition, Teahjay illegally disbursed, used and expended without any evidence, US$12,000 of proceeds realized from sales of rubber seized from illegal tappers from the SRC plantation,” the indictment statement.
“Therefore, the defendants did knowingly, feloniously, purposely, criminally, maliciously, willfully, and intentionally steal, pilfer, take and carry away, exercise unauthorized control over and converted the total amount of US$12,000 to his own use and benefit and or the use of benefits of others.”
Further to the litany of charges allegedly committed, the indictment disclosed that “defendant J. Milton Teahjay awarded contracts valued at US$764,500 to individuals and or companies without the processes and procedures required for the awarding of such contracts.”
Giving a breakdown of how the various crimes were committed, the indictment revealed that during December 2009 and March 2012 Defendants Teahjay and Wlemus, using their positions and authority as Superintendent and Development Superintendents respectively, took advantage of their influence as chief custodians of all county and social development funds and other monies allocated to the county and created the opportunities to embezzle the total amount of US$50,000 without the consent of and approval of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
“The amount, which was received from Forestry Development Authority (FDA), was intended for development purposes which would have been determined by the County Development Agenda emanating from the county council resolution, however, they, not being mindful of their fiduciary duties to the people of Sinoe, wrongfully, feloniously, illegally converted the money.”
US$35,000 of the money, according to Teahjay, as stated in the indictment, was used to purchase a Mitsubishi jeep for the use of the county authorities without any evidence of the purchase of such jeep or accountability for the vehicle or its scraps.
According to the indictment, on the contrary, the government in 2008 purchased and distributed Mitsubishi Pajero jeeps to all county superintendents including co-defendant Teahjay.
He also allegedly received from SRC, resources intended for social development fund in the tone of US$12,000 of US$17,000 and allegedly converted same into his personal use, thereby committing the crime of economic sabotage.
Explaining how defendants Teahjay violated PPCC laws, the indictment revealed that Teahjay, in his capacity as Superintendent and being charged with the responsibility as Chairman of the County Procurement Committee to ensure that all required PPCC processes and procedures regarding the awarding of contracts to individuals or companies were followed, did knowingly and wrongfully award seven development projects at a total contract value of US$764,500.00 in total disregard for the required PPCC bidding process and procedures.
“That though the contract value of each of the seven projects was above the threshold of US$10,000 and therefore required bidding processes and procedures as provided in the PPCC Act and its regulations, Co-defendant Teahjay for his own benefit and or benefit of others awarded the below development projects to individuals and or companies without due regard to the required PPCC processes and procedures.
In some instances, contracts were awarded full and or substantial amounts paid to individuals and or companies that did not have the capacity and or ability to perform which situation led to the delay in performance while other projects are on-going.