The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

LASTWELL Threatens Legal Action against WASHC’s Boss

By Bill W. Cooper
A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), THE-LASTWELL has threatened to take legal action against the Water Sanitation and Hygiene Commission (WASHC) Boss, Bobby Whitfield for statements made against them.
Recently, the WASHC Boss, Bobby Whitfield termed as “deceptive” claims being made by THE-LASTWELL of building over hundreds of hand pumps as well as providing safe drinking water to over two million Liberians across the country.
Mr. Whitfield, in a press conference stated that the commission has unearthed multiple “discrepancies” concerning the purported claims made by the NGO, pointing out that in February 2019, the commission launched an investigation into claims made by the THE-LASTWELL based upon multiple complaints from international and local stakeholders over its alleged false declaration posted on its website.
The WASHC Boss disclosed, “The investigation shows that out of 42 wells claimed to have been dug by THE-LASTWELL in Grand Gedeh and 56 others rehabilitated, not a single well was seen by the team and the team also observed that over 50% of THE-LASTWELL local contractors or implementing agencies are not in legal standing with the government and not obtained sectorial clearances from the relevant government agencies.”
Responding to the NWASHC Boss claims, THE-LASTWELL VP of International Affairs and Strategic Partnerships, Abdul Hafiz Koroma termed the statements emanating from Mr. Whitfield as “libelous” and intended to damage the reputation of their organization, emphasizing “and we intend to seek legal recourse to demonstrate Whitfield’s claims as false, as we are under obligation to protect the last well and its partner.”
Abdul disclosed that they will write formal complaint to the Minister of State, the Liberian Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), the United States of America (USA) Ambassador near Monrovia in order to prevent reoccurrences of said action, stressing, “If anything doesn’t happen concerning all of the complaints we raised, we will not only take legal action but we will withdraw those funds that have been generated for Liberia and be diverted to a different country.”
THE-LASTWELL VP further noted that they have contributed over US$30 million to the provision of safe drinking water- stating averagely; it has been US$3 million a year and that the LASTWELL in collaboration with its partners in the field including Living Water International, Water of Life, Equip Liberia among others had implemented several hand door well projects as well as rehabilitated so many and installed pretty close to 30 thousand water filters across the country.
He alluded that there are many who feel that the idea of bringing safe drinking water to Liberia cannot be achieved and want the crisis of lack of safe drinking water to perpetuate forever, indicating “but we believe that it can be achieved when we all work together to raise the necessary money; together we can end this crisis.”
“As we have said and will continue to say, THE-LASTWELL exists to provide clean access to safe drinking water to most of the vulnerable communities as well as to also serve the Christian message to every community we serve and that by December 2020, the aims and objective are to serve every city in the country,” Mr. Abdul averred.
Also in reaction to Mr. Bobby’s claims, the Deputy Minister for Rural Development and Communities Service at the Ministry of Public Works (MPW), Benjamin G. Baunt Jr. said the press conference held by the WASH boss called to mind a similarly unhealthy memory in their history especially at a time when clearly, they appear to be experiencing a breakdown in cordiality across and within the WASH sector, lamenting “What has happened to the WASH sector”? Why this show of poor leadership manifested at a time when the nation is facing political and economic challenges?”
The MPW Deputy Minister indicated that The Ministry for the past ten years has worked with over 75 partner’s year in year out and had managed the government’s relationship with those partners thereby paving the way for funding to flow within the sector even as government never prioritized funding for the sector, stressing “the only authority that can be held responsible when no drinking water is found in our communities is the government! No NGO will be held liable for not providing hand pumps or toilet facilities to our vulnerable and poor communities”.
He added that if the government has a problem with the way donors intend to work, they must firstly respect themselves by deciding on the best rules of engagement, instead of reducing their partners’ interest to Facebook posts and poorly organize and deliver press conferences which he said will do them no good, while at the same time reasserts government’s support and commitment to the LASTWELL and lauded them for their intervention and support to the government PAPD agenda.

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