US$30,000 Needed To Probe Executive Mansion 13 years Renovation -As Millions Remain Unaccounted For
The Specialized Committee constituted by the House of Representatives to probe immeasurable spending in the renovation of the Executive Mansion has pleaded for US$30,000 and three (3) months extension to adequately investigate the matter.
The committee report was based on Plenary’s August 8, 2019 decision from a researched communication from Grand Bassa County District 4, representative Vicent S.T. Willie II over continuous allocation of the country’s resources to the renovation of the Executive Mansion which has lasted for more than eight (8) years.
The Executive Mansion, per the constitution of Liberia, is the official seat of the president. In 2006, during the tenure of former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the fourth floor of the mansion was gutted by fire which forced to the executive to change its official office to the Foreign affairs and renovation works began.
The Specialized Committee preliminary report indicated that between 2008 to 2018, a total of thirty-three million five hundred two thousand one hundred United States Dollars (US$33,492,101) was budgeted for the renovation of the Executive Mansion.
The preliminary report highlighted a portion of the GAC’s report establishing that the government of Liberia procured contracts in excess of US$30 million for renovation works.
“To date, fourteen (14) years after the fire incident the Executive Mansion remains unusable and the renovation is incomplete.
Preliminary findings in the specialized committee report revealed that contracts were awarded in three phases. “Phase I Contract was for the fourth (4th ) floor only where the fire took place, phase II Contract was for the renovation of the seven other (7) floors of the Mansion unaffected floor of the fire; Phase III Contract was to undo all the renovation work previously done due to the use of substandard materials by the first contractor, CNQC.
CNQC Quinlian LIB, a Chinese state-owned company was the first major company hired among other companies including Milton & Richards, Pan African Engineer Group and Cape Resources and Vaxs.
The Committee findings continued that mostly everyone or company hired or associated with the first and second works of the mansion were substandard and undermine government efforts in ensuring the functionality of the mansion.
“The CNQC was terminated July1, 2015 as the materials used by the company to renovate the Mansion were grossly substandard materials. Everyone associated with the first and second CNQC contract did not do justice to the government as per the findings of the report of the Special Presidential Taskforce established by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
These companies are yet to account for their respective roles in the renovation of the Executive Mansion. The report detailed instances of dereliction of duty and apparent collusion between CNQC and individual actors associated with the Executive Mansion renovation through December 2015”, the specialized committee findings noted.
The Committee added that since the termination of CNQC, other companies continue to carry out works on the mansion as per the contractual agreements.
The committee stressed the need for more time in the space of three (3) month to afford the committee adequately investigate and report subsequently to the body for next action though it was previously given more than a month.
“The Committee has not had the time to know and contact individuals and contractors involved with the ongoing renovation of the Executive Mansion”.
“That the Committee be granted an extended period of three (3) months to continue its probe of contractors performing the ongoing renovation of the Executive Mansion and that adequate resources in the amount of US$30,000 be made available to the committee to facilitate continuation of its mandate”, the House’s Specialized Committee headed by Grand Gedeh County Representative George Boley recommended.
The House’s Plenary could not reach a decision due to the absence of the Committee’s Chair Rep. George Boley from the session.