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How Nigerian Lawal and Sirleaf’s Sister Duped Liberia of Millions

This is the deplorable road for which Tony Lawal  obtained US$18 million from the Liberian government with the alleged collaboration of Janine Johnson Bernard

MONROVIA – LIBERIA –-Despite efforts by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) to invite the Chief Executive Officer of the Praise Glory Lawal Construction Company or PGL, Mr. Tony Lawal, and the Minister of Public Works Gyude Moore for PGL’s failure to properly give account of Five Million United States Dollars received for the construction of the Brewerville/Bopolu road, residents of the affected areas are calling on the Liberian Government to compelled the Company to give reason why huge amount received is not properly been utilized.

The LACC in its communication dated May 13, 2015 addressed to the than Minister of Finance & Development Planning Ministry, Amara Konneh, a copy which is in the possession of the Globe Afrique and GNN Liberia, said, “The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission is pleased to inform of the ongoing investigation surrounding circumstances leading t to the award of a contract to Praise Glory Lawal Construction Company valued at Five Million United Dollars.

Some of the bogus payments (through installments) made to Tony Lawal. Money he and his Liberian benefactors laundered outside of Liberia

 

According to the result of our preliminary investigation the above-mentioned Company has allegedly received One Million Nine Hundred Thousand United States Dollars for the rehabilitation of the Brewerville / Bopolu road project without submission of a bill of quantity (BOQ) to the Ministry of Public Works,” the LACC communication to the than Minister of Finance & Development Planning noted.

The LACC communication signed by its Program Manager/Enforcement, Aaron Henry Aboah, and approved by the acting Chair of the LACC at the time, Cllr. Augustine Toe, said, “The Commission would also appreciate were you to stop all further payments to Praise Glory Lawal Construction Company pending the outcome of the investigation,” the communication warned.

With this warning given to the than Minister (Amara Konneh) by the LACC not to make any payments to Tony Lawal’s PGL, our source said this warning from the LACC was reportedly ignored by the current Minister of Finance & Development Planning, Boima Kamara who allegedly made the payment through the influence of a member of the first family, Mrs. Janet Bernard, elder sister of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Letter from LACC urging that payment is not made to Lawal, yet Janine Johnson Bernard ensured payment was made from the Finance Ministry.
While the road was not done, LACC inspectors were coerced into indicating everything was okay.  There is reliable information that the Bernard used part of this money to renovate their home on Long Island, New York City.

According to our investigation, the payment of One Million Nine Hundred Thousand United States Dollars for the rehabilitation of the Brewerville and Bopolu road project without submission of a bill of quantity to the Ministry of Public Works was paid to the PGL without delay following her intervention, despite an early call by the LACC.

During Globe Afrique/GNN Liberia investigation over the past weeks, after  taken up time to ply the route (The Brewerville/Bopolu Road) it was observed that the road reportedly rehabilitated by the PGL did not meet its required look, as the road has gone beyond accessibility, a situation that have compelled residents of the areas, especially those wanting to travel to Bopolu from Monrovia via the Brewerville route to use a detour, while commuters whose survival depends on business activities and others for the city center are also finding it difficult.

Several documents revealed how Tony Lawal, with the help of Janine Johnson Bernard, sister of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, defrauded the Liberian government of millions, despite call by the Liberia’s Anti-Corruption Commission to stop the payments from the Finance Ministry, Lawal still got the money through Ellen’s sister. The road in question is still incomplete but Lawal siphoned more than $18 million U.S. dollars out of Liberia and the Liberian government, especially the Ministry of Justice, the LACC, Finance Ministry and the Public Works Ministry are all quiet.  These people enriched foreiner in an attempt to steal from their own people and country.  The Liberian senate and the House of Representatives are also quiet.

A source at the Ministry of Public Works hinted our reporter that Minister Victor Smith who was Assistant Minister at the ministry reportedly aided Mr. Tony Lawal who previously had the Pealat Construction Company to establish the Praise Glory Lawal Construction Company in order to win the Brewerville/Bopolu road project which was put at 5.5 million United States dollars.

Our source further explained that this amount, the 5.5 million United States dollars to the surprise of many was increased to 8.9 million dollars, a situation that drew the attention of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) to put an immediate stop to the payment of the funds, but unfortunately was reportedly superseded by the President’s sister who insisted that the amount be paid to PGL.

According to our investigation, recently Mr. Lawal was invited the LACC to explain in detail on how the amount of US$5 million which was awarded to his Company, and later increased to US$18 million for the Belleh Yallah road construction which has failed to be executed.

Residents of the affected communities along the route of the Brewerville and Bopolu who appeared dejected as a result of the lack of good road condition speaking to our reporters complained about this ugly situation they find themselves, and noted that they are the direct victims of the PGL’s inability to meet up with its part of the barging after reportedly receiving millions of United States Dollars geared towards constructing a good road.

$18 million disappeared and laundered out of Liberia; road condition remains even more deplorable. Yet, no word from the Liberian government. The Minister of Justice is mute, Special Presidential Task is mute, LACC is mute and the president who says corruption is her number one enemy is dumbfounded.  According to Finance Ministry’s officials, Janine Johnson Bernard forced them to make the payments to Lawal.  In fact, she took delivery of the checks.

“We’re disappointed the way in which this entire road construction project is going, Tony Lawal and his PGL management must be compelled to either refund the taxpayers’ money or go back to recondition our road, we are suffering as a result of this terrible road condition,” Kona Johnson, a resident of Swen-Mecca district in a chat with our report during the investigation said.

Due to the deplorable condition of the Brewerville/Bopolu road, our reporter in his bid to verify the report that the road in question constructed by the PGL was in a deplorable condition and that PGL engineers did not do well, took up time to tour the entire road in question.

L/R: Tony Lawal being certificated by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for laundering Liberian wealth outside of the country. The Liberian president honors a foreign criminal who helped laundered their ill-gotten wealth out of Liberia but climbed down on poor Liberian custom workers at the Freeport of Monrovia, and street patrol police officers for minor charges such as receiving less than $50 United States dollars.

But unfortunately and disappointedly, the vehicle used by our reporter for the investigative journey could not easily go through due to the deplorable condition of the Brewerville/Bopolu road heading towards Swen-Mecca district in order to see for himself the difficulties being faced by residents of the area who are in dying need of good road.

Dozens of residents who spoke to our reporter expressed outrageous on the part of the Liberian Government by allowing foreign-owned construction companies to overshadowed Liberian owned, noting that these foreign companies that cannot perform extra in their work charged astronomically as compare to Liberian owned construction companies.

“With the huge amount paid to PGL, the road from here to Belle Yallah in Gbarpolu County is still in a deplorable condition, we want the government to come to the aid of our people whose livelihood solely relying on marketing their foodstuff to the city center, but with this ugly situation, it is unbearable for their dreams to come through,” Sando Fahnbulleh speaking to our reporter said.

However, the Public Relations officer of Praise Glory Lawal Construction Company (PGL), Dominic Farley who early promised to address himself on the allegation regarding the CEO of PGL failure to complete road project paid for in the millions of United States dollars by the Liberian Government has failed

Our investigation continues.

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Globe Afrique’s Research and Analysis (GARA) is the primary wing of Globe Afrique Media and Communications that investigates certain research work and analysis, its results and impact, with the goal of discovering useful information, suggesting conclusions, and supporting decision-making for the clarity of the reading audience. With this, we seek to help the reading audience and the public rely on evidence ––based research and analysis and rigorous evaluation to interpret political, social, economic, scientific and cultural conclusions, developments, events, threats as well as promote effective policies and strong management.

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