GAC Audit Worries Disaster Agency’s Executive Director, Others

The persistent and incessant media report of gross financial improprieties, theft of property, misuse of institutional financial resources, intentional non-compliance with procurement protocols of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) by the Executive Director of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), Henry O. Williams has prompted the Liberian Senate to order the General Auditing Commission (GAC) to conduct a forensic audit covering the period 2017 to 2019.

The Liberian Senate through its committee on Autonomous Agencies and Commissions has written the Auditor General of Liberia, Yusador S. Gaye requesting them to investigate the gross financial improprieties allegedly carried out by the NDMA Executive Director Williams.

According to a communication from the Senate Committee on Autonomous Agencies and Commissions’ Chair, Senator J. Milton Teahjay, they are under constitutional obligation to ensure that the public interest is not threatened by gross misuse of public trust and obvious abuse of financial resources as was allegedly done by Mr. Henry O. Williams.

“In this light, we hereby forward to you this communication from the Liberian Senate requesting the GAC to proceed expeditiously to conduct speedy investigation into allegations as stated in the communication sent to the GAC,” Senator Teahjay further noted.

Providing more to the corruption at the NDMA, Senator Teahjay said the Executive Director, Williams has withdrawn some huge amount of money from donors and the government bank accounts of the NDMA and has used those amounts to his advantage against the benefit of the agency.

Some of those donors who have been supporting activities of the NDMA include Plan International and others, including direct cash payment from the office of President George M. Weah for the recent landslide in Nimba that killed over forty persons.

The NDMA Executive Director Williams and his cohorts have created a corruption empire at the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) since it was established; since the ascendency of Mr. Williams as Executive Director, he inherited over US$280,000.00 as bank balance for workers compensation, but instead of paying employees, he and his comptroller, Mr. Rolando Woheel withdrew the amount for personal use.

The illegal withdrawal of the entity’s money by Mr. Williams and his controller has caused employees of the agency not to be paid for March and April as contained in the 2017/2018 national budget, even though the money was disbursed to the NDMA by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning for that purpose.

Some of the corrupt practices by the NDMA’s Executive Director Williams that claimed the attention of the Senate Committee on Autonomous Agencies and Commissions include the use of the entity’s funds to send abroad a dismissed female, Ms. Gemeh B. Roberts who is his alleged girlfriend to Japan for foreign studies when in fact that particular foreign studies opportunity was intended for a qualified worker of the agency.

Up to present, the lady, Ms. Roberts continues to benefit from the Master’s Degree program in Tokyo while the actual potential beneficiaries are criminally denied by her alleged boyfriend, Mr. Henry O. Williams, the Executive Director of the NDMA.

Speaking further, Senator Teahjay disclosed that the NDMA Executive Director also took US$7,812.00 to do minor repairs on a Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep given to the agency by the General Services Agency (GSA), when the actual amount required to do the minor repairs on the vehicle was US$1,500.00 and he (Williams) defrauded the agency in the amount US$6,312 through dubious arrangement between him and his financial comptroller, Mr. Rolando Woheel.

Mr. Williams has been accused of withdrawing US$36,000.00 from the operational bank account of the agency under the pretext of putting tiles on the floor of the entity without following the PPCC laws, but spent US$14,000 out of the US$36,000.00 and allegedly pocketed the rest of the money.

Senator Teahjay said because of his (Williams) corrupt act, the tile project is yet to be completed although the money has been withdrawn by the NDMA Executive Director.

Meanwhile, the lawmaker has directed the GAC to immediately proceed to the extent possible to conduct a timely and exhaustive investigation so as to determine if any laws, criminal or civil, have been broken and/or violated by these behaviors herein cited.

“The committee would appreciate were you to report back to it in a timely faction, preferable by or before September 27, 2019,” the letter written the GAC said.

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