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NIMBA COUNTY PROJECT MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE (PMC), A BLESSING OR A CURSE

‘’One of these three things must happen to trigger the conduct of any COUNTY COUNCIL SITTING in Nimba County: Set up the County Council in line with the local government act provisions. Full accountability of $2.7M used by the PMC to implement the CSDF program in Nimba from 2020 to the present. Conduct of the CSO's proposed SOCIAL AUDIT''. Zohn Alexander Nyahn Jr, Nimba County Civil Society Council Chapter Coordinator
PMC-1

Nimba County Liberia: – On August 19, 2020 ArcelorMittal-Liberia launched US$840k Development Fund for Affected Communities in three (3) counties namely, Nimba, Bong & Grand Bassa. The development fund was launched in the conference room of the Capitol Building annex. Those in attendance were the Legislative Caucuses of Nimba, Bong and Grand Bassa counties; Internal Secretary Varney Sirleaf; Mines and Energy  Minister Gesler Murray, as well as the Superintendents of Nimba and Grand Bassa Counties.

Mr. Marcus Wleh, the company’s Head of Government Relations, said ArcelorMittal-Liberia is required to pay annually US$3 million as social developments in Bong, Bassa and Nimba counties and, in 2020, the Liberian government and ArcelorMittal-Liberia agreed that the company shall pay 20% of the CSDF to the affected communities in its operational areas while the remaining 80% be paid to the Government on behalf of the beneficiary counties. “The Community Development Fund will provide US$840,000 to support development projects in 2020. The projects are divided into six categories: agriculture; education; road and bridges; water, health and hygiene; community cohesion and peace building; and housing,”

“There will be a County Approval Committee to approve all projects selected by the District Sittings. The County Superintendent chairs the County Approval Committee, and ArcelorMittal-Liberia manages all contracts for goods and services and disburses payments as per stipulations in contracts,” Mr. Wleh indicated.

Separately, Representative Joseph Somwarbi spoke on behalf of Nimba Legislative Caucus; Rep. Albert Hill, on behalf of the Bong Caucus and then Vincent Willie for the Grand Bassa Caucus, expressing their thanks and appreciation to ArcelorMittal-Liberia and the Government for not fighting against the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) that called for 20% to be directly disbursed to affected communities in the mining operational areas. Source: Leroy M. Sonpon Observer (Liberia)

Fast forward on August 22, 2022 The 54th Nimba County Legislative Caucus, including the local county authorities had a county council sitting that brought together all the members of the caucus including delegates EXCEPT now Former Senator Thomas Garpue who joined via mobile phone from the United States of America where he said he was undergoing medical attention and pointed fingers at Senator Prince Y. Johnson for his ailment because he was heard in an audio that Thomas disrespected me and he’s now crippled.

Sen. Prince Y. Johnson

It is at the County Council Sitting that resolutions are passed for project implementations across the nine electoral districts of Nimba. This County Council Sitting was witnessed by what Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) who were observers including the media termed as very controversial, undemocratic and very fraudulent to the extent that the presiding officer Senator Prince Y. Johnson held what was supposed to be an elections in less than five (5)Mins that brought onboard now Nimba County Project Management Committee (PMC) Chairman Harris Y. Yeanamie as Chairman and his colleagues who critics say they are all Senator Prince Y. Johnson Political Party Members backed by the ruling Party CDC something that this paper is yet to verify.

Nimba PMC Chairman, Harris Y. Yeanamie

This August 22, 2020 Nimba PMC elections ended up in court as some of the law makers, Hon. Larry Younquoi of Nimba Electoral District Eight (8), Hon Prince Tokpah of Nimba County Electoral District Two (2) and Hon Samuel G. Kogar of Nimba Electoral District Five (5) ran to court but was later handled and the PMC started to work.

2.7 Million United States Dollars was approved and allocated for project activities across Nimba but the implementers, Nimba PMC has come under serials of alleged misapplication of this fund and here is what of recent Nimba County Liberia National Civil Society Coordinator

Zohn Alexander Nyahn Jr has to say,

‘’One of these three things must happen to trigger the conduct of any COUNTY COUNCIL SITTING in Nimba County:

  • Set up the County Council in line with the local government act provisions.
  • Full accountability of $2.7M used by the PMC to implement the CSDF program in Nimba from 2020 to the present.
  • Conduct of the CSO’s proposed SOCIAL AUDIT.
Zohn Alexander Nyahn Jr, Nimba County CSOs Coordinator

Mr. Nyahn Jr has also frowned at AcelorMittal-Liberia for not getting the Civil Society Organizations in Nimba County fully involved with all the processes.

Henceforth, The Project Management Committee (PMC) of Nimba County is charged with the responsibility to manage the County Social Development Funds (CSDF) and what supposed to be termed as fortunate is all officials of the current PMC came from the background of advocacy something which many people saw as a great change for the county.

The current PMC Committee members all assumed to their respective positions through an undemocratic process, a process which landed in court and follow this link of the processed in Sanniquellie:

https://www.facebook.com/100063605229599/videos/227889098560537/.

‘’The processed was termed undemocratic, because the election which was held during the County Council Sitting in Sanniquellie presiding Senator Prince Yormie Johnson did not recognize all of the candidates, proper voting procedures were not followed and that many sons and daughters of the County were seen complaining about process including the three named Representatives who took the issue to court’’ Nyahn Flomo Jr who reports for Nimba D-9 TV live from inside the hall in Sanniquellie narrates. Please follow the link: https://www.facebook.com/100063605229599/videos/222543652511281/.

With many cries from the people of Nimba, some of our young people appreciated the presiding Senator Prince Yormie Johnson) for conducting a free and fair election.

The Civil Society Council of Nimba including other concern citizens have alleged that there are rampant corruption taking place at the PMC, though 2.7M USDs was approved but yet to complete projects across the county including the earth moving equipment which most if not all are already grounded across the county. They have since called for social audit before any county council sitting which the PMC has refused on grounds that it is at the county council sitting reports are given.

Please follow this link as Zohn Alexander Nyahn Jr Nimba CSOs Nimba Coordinator called for social audit on our sister program, The Truth of the Matter:

https://www.facebook.com/100063605229599/videos/665162481256103/.

They have alleged of wasteful spending, lack of accountability including so many failed projects, yellow machines have been damaged without being repaired, among others.

To balance the story, Nimba PMC Chairman Harris Y. Yeanamie equally counted reacted and debunked everything that the Nimba CSOs said but he said have no fear and prepare for audit at any time but the CSOs should follow the proper channel. He said their hands are cleaned as they are following all the best practices as per the PPCC procedures. He also spoke on our sister program The Truth of the matter and follow the link:

https://www.facebook.com/100063605229599/videos/414725647364134/.

Below are what some critical voices who don’t want to be named have to say about what they think is happening at the current PMC

“Few months back, the PMC went on an assessment tour up to now the only thing Nimba benefited is the huge distribution of funds among themselves’’ A citizen in his late 40s

‘’This current Nimba PMC is a complete curse to the people of Nimba and that their workings do not represent their personalities’’ An older Business Woman

“Many people thought that they were going to do better but surprisingly they are the worst PMC Nimba ever have and some of them were with us saying ArcelorMittal-Liberia not doing nothing we should go protest but ArcelorMittal-Liberia owe us nothing and they paid the money but the PMC is there misusing it” A young emerging Activist

“These young guys who could have made the changes are the ones damaging the system they claimed had problem. Some of them never had anything but in less than two years they have built compounds etc.’’. A young Lady

“As 2023 elections is nearing in just months away, the act of this current PMC will heavily affect many including the ordinary citizens who would have benefited for the different projects across the county and politicians who these projects are in their districts’’- A Political Commentator

Investigations continues and watch out for the next edition if the current Nimba PMC is a Blessing or a Curse

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