The Liberia civil Society Organizations on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, (WASH) Network attention has been drawn to a shameful and disdainful situation that is brewing within the Wash sector of Liberia.
The Liberia CSOs WASH Network has worked over the years to bring to an end fragmentation within the WASH Sector by advocating for the establishment of the National WASH Commission which has the mandate to promote and regulate the development, management of water, sanitation and hygiene services and serves as the principal government’s entity on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) throughout the republic of Liberia.
On December 19, 2019, the WASH Commission issued a Press Statement in which a report of the Commission was published for an investigation that was conducted in Bong and Grand Gedeh Counties between February to December 2019.
The National Secretariat of the Liberia CSOs WASH Network said the Last Well claimed to have provided Safe drinking water in five counties in Liberia: Grand Kru, Bomi, Gbarpolu, Bong, and Gedeh Counties.
According to a release under the signature of the newly inducted Chairman of the Liberia CSOs WASH Network, Augustine N. Myers, the Commission established that The Last Well has misled the government and the Liberian people by declaring that it has provided water for over two million Liberian population, whereas the total population of the five counties totals only 684,159 people.
Regrettably, the Ministry of Public Works that chairs the National WASH Commission’s Board has issued a contradicting Press Statement supporting The Last Well which allegedly has not done due diligence in the Sector.
Deputy Public Works Minister, Benjamin Bantoe said President George Manneh Weah has done nothing to bring partners in the sector while at the same time contradicting himself and said the President has brought partners in the country to provide safe drinking water in Liberia.
The National WASH Commission accused The Last Well for breaching National Integrated Water Resources Management Policy of 2009.
The investigation established that out of 42 wells claimed to have been dug by The Last Well in Grand Gedeh and 56 rehabilitated, Exhibit number 7.
The entire Zwedru communities, the WASH Commission team verified including Disco Hills, airfield, and others, a single well founded by The LAST Well was not seen by the team as of the date of the team’s verification in Zwedru.
The investigative team observed that over 50% of The Last Well local contractors or implementing Agencies are not in legal standing with the government, and have not obtained sectoral clearances from the relevant governmental bodies.
In reaction to the WASH Commission’s reports, Mr, Abdul Koroma, Acting Country Director of The Last Well accused the WASH Commission of denying The Last Well duty Free privilege but praised the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs and the Ministry of Public Works who authorized the duty free privilege to The Last Well after allegedly been denied by the WASH Commission.
We, Civil Society Organizations working to ensure access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation in Liberia are disappointed by the profound rift between WASH Actors in Liberia, issuing ambiguous statements that have the propensity to destroy our efforts in the WASH Sector, create credibility gap, continue governance fragmentation thereby undermine the entire WASH Sector of Liberia.
In view of the aforementioned reasons, the Liberia CSOs WASH Network calls on the Government, especially the WASH Legislative Caucus to constitute a joint independent Investigation Committee involving CSOs, WASH Commission, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission and the Ministry of Justice to jointly investigate and verify the claims and counter claims and validate The last Well projects in Liberia.