US$150k Tappita Guesthouse Completion Hangs

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In 2016, the amount of one hundred and fifty-three thousand ($150,000) United States Dollars to construct a guest house in Tappita was paid to Mountain Engineering Company (MEC).

Unfinished Tappita Guest House

The project, which was estimated to be completed within five months as a Legislative Support Project (LSP), is currently at a standstill due to the contractor’s demand for additional funds – that’s according to Dorwohn Twain Gleekai, representative of district six in Nimba County.

According to the Liberian Media Budget Monitoring for Accountability (LMBMA) project on County Social Development Fund (CSDF), almost two years since the $150,000 was paid the contractor, the company says it cannot complete the project except an additional fifteen thousand ($15,000) is provided. But the district’s lawmaker insists the first amount was sufficient to complete the project, saying no additional money will be paid the contract until the project is completed.

The project was initiated by former district representative, Ricks Toweh, who has expressed disappointment over its lack of completion, even though the contractor was fully paid.

Unfinished Tappita Guest House

Rep. Gleekai, who was elected in the 2017 legislative elections, has threatened to take legal action against MEC if it fails to complete the guesthouse project.

MEC vice president, identified as Blemie, confirms that his company received the $150,000 from the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE) with a retention of five thousand ($5,000) United States Dollars to be paid upon completion of the project. However, Blemie says materials procured for the project were stolen by community dwellers, hindering its completion.

However, court records have confirmed that one person was arrested in connection with the theft; and that Three Hundred and fifty ($350.00) United States dollars, which was the estimated value of the stolen items, was paid back to the company by one John Kaykay, the man prosecuted for the theft.

An investigation by Voice of Tappita (VOT), a community radio station in the district, reveals that materials stolen were only bought for contingency, suggesting that the theft was insufficient to hamper project completion.  VOT’s investigation also discovered that two other contracts were earlier awarded to this company but were not completed, which continues to raise concerns about how public contracts are awarded.

LACE, who paid out the money on behalf of government, is yet to respond to inquiry on the status and circumstances of the project.

Income generated from the Guest House after its completion is expected to contribute to the development of Tappita City.

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