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Representative Lester Paye of Bong County is Misusing County Development Funds

By George K. Gorneleh

 

Hello Mr. Editor,     

 

My name is George K. Gorneleh, a proud son of Bong County from Moanga village. I have been following and reading your publications regularly since 2013. Thanks for all the great work your online publication is doing by informing and educating the Liberian people. Many thanks for your service to the great people of Liberia. For more information about my village, please go to www.thevillageofmoanga.org.

I’m contacting you today to draw your attention to government waste in District 4, and to investigate why Representative Lester Paye is misusing scarce County Development Funds by building a second community center in my village town where we are already constructing one.

District 4 urgently needs money for all sorts of important projects, including renovating Dolokelen Paye Elementary and Junior High School in Foequelleh where Representative Paye was born. The school like many in my district and around Bong County is in total disrepair. It is also worth mentioning that the school is named after Representative Paye’s late father. To date, nobody knows exactly why Representative Paye has not done anything to improve this school in his backyard. His lack of interest in this situation indicates that education is
not his priority. These days, it seems the only thing on Representative Paye’s mind is running for reelection to save his job. That is why we have several fiscally disciplined and competent candidates campaigning to replace him on October 10, 2017.
The citizens of District 4 deserve far better representation than Representative Paye is providing.

Many years ago, my younger brother and I agree to give back to our village by funding the construction of a community town hall in our late father’s honor. Before the project started, we reached out to the villagers and sought their support in the undertaking. As a result, we received overwhelming support from everyone, which continues to date. The project is managed by Mr. Humphrey Loweal, a highly respected citizen of our village. In fact, Mr. Loweal is presently the Director of Paramedical Training Program at Phebe Hospital in Bong County. Because the hall is still under construction, we have estimated it costs between $3,000 and $3,500 USD.

Strangely, while the hall was under construction, Representative Paye rushed to our village and presented his own plan to build a second community center in the village, which duplicated our efforts. Without much input from the citizens, he ordered the construction of the center with money from the County Development Funds. To this day, some citizens wonder why a village of less than 35 houses with barely 300 residents would need two community centers.

You can see from our website, www.thevillageofmoanga.org, which I developed in 2013 for the village where everyone is taking part in the groundbreaking ceremony our town hall. So, rather than Representative Paye supporting our self-help project, he decided to duplicate our efforts by unwisely spending County Development Funds on a center that was not needed in the first place.

Barely weeks ago, I visited my village to inspect our town hall. While there, a man who gave me a tour of the village pointed at the community center Representative Paye built.

I followed up with our project manager, Mr. Loweal and learned that Representative Paye had excluded him and other citizens from discussions about building a second community center in the village. Mr. Loweal believes Representative Paye imposed the community center upon them without soliciting their input. Mr. Loweal rightfully explained that the fund used on the second center could have been put into better use by expanding and improving the exciting elementary school he (Mr. Loweal) built in the village for preschoolers to attend to prevent them from walking nearly two miles each way to school in Foequelleh Town. I believe Representative Paye intentionally built the center to undermine our self-help efforts. And that is simply a disgrace and an affront to the great people of District 4 who deserve a better representative.

According to Mr. Loweal, the citizens do not even know the true cost of the center Representative Paye built. For this reason, I’m challenging Representative Paye to do the honorable thing by going on Radio Gbarnga to explain the true costs of the community center he built in my village and state why he built it in the first place when one was already under construction. Citizens of District 4 and Bong County need to hear Representative Paye’s rationale for misusing their County Development Funds.

That being said, I strongly recommend an investigation to determine the full costs of this unnecessary community center and uncover, if any other wasteful spending by the Representative. Bong County should petition the House of Representatives to demand Representative Paye to reimburse the citizens of District 4 the full costs for this foolish project.

There are three important reasons why Representative Paye built the community center in my village when we were already constructing one there.

First, he built it out of vendetta against me for calling him out in 2013 for
overstepping his legislative duties when he unwisely interfered into a private civil dispute involving me and some relatives.

Second, it is because I wrote a complaint against him in the Liberian Dialogue
website on January 24, 2013 about his misconduct as described above. People say that he is constantly complaining about that article.

Third, Representative Paye is thin-skinned and temperamental, which highlights major weaknesses on his part.

Frankly, no thin-skinned and temperamental person should be in the business of  representing the great people of District 4. So, if Representative Paye cannot stand the heat, he should drop out of the race so fiscally disciplined and competent individuals can contest. 

Contact George K. Gorneleh at www.thevillageofmoanga.org

 

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