CSOs in River Cess to File Lawsuit Against County Authorities

YARPAH TOWN, River Cess – The River Cess chapter of the Civil Society Organizations of Liberia has announced it will file a lawsuit against the county administration.

According to George Trokon, the chairman of the group, the lawsuit is being filed because the county administration refused to account for River Cess’ county social development funds over a number of years.

“We can’t always sit and allow people go with impunity in this county,” Trokon said. “This time around, they must account for the county’s money before leaving their respective offices.”

Trokon told The Bush Chicken that on so many occasions, the local administration has been asked by citizens and civil society organizations to account for funds received on behalf of the county. Those calls, he said, have never been answered.

“We have written them several times and they have continuously ignored our communications,” Trokon said. “So, the next thing is we will take a legal step against them.”

According to him, the court action is the best option for now, because those responsible for the county’s funds will soon leave their respective offices.

“If we don’t take the matter to the court before this government’s time expires, those responsible for our money will go their individual ways and to get them as a body will be difficult.”

Samuel Outland, chairman of People Living with Disabilities in River Cess, said his organization supports the group’s action.

“I think River Cess is not different from other counties in Liberia,” Outland said. “If Milton Teahjay, Sinoe county senator can be [sent to] court for wrongful acts allegedly committed while serving as superintendent, I think we can do the same.”

In response to the pending lawsuit, the project management committee chairperson, Elijah Kassaynee, said he is obligated only to report to the county Superintendent, and not to the organizations.

“I respect the civil society as a legitimate body, ” Kassaynee said. “But I have a mandate to make reports to the county superintendent and at the County Council Sitting.”

In December 2016, the government released US$380,000 to the county as county social development funds. In a recent telephone conversation with The Bush Chicken, Kassaynee said “the government has since released another US$125,000 to the county administration.”

“The money came during the time of the elections,” Kassaynee said, “I can’t tell you the exact date the money came, and I can’t say what has happened to it because we all have been busy with the elections.”

Featured photo by Eric Opa Doue

Eric Doue

Eric Opa Doue is a co-founder of Echo Radio Station, which does a series of programs in Bassa, Kru, and simple Liberian English. Under his leadership, Echo Radio was selected as one of the Moody Radio global partners for training opportunities in 2013 and 2014. Eric was one of a handful of reporters who received training from Internews in 2015 on humanitarian reporting during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. He holds a diploma in Journalism, from the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

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