NaFAA DG Glassco Admits To Diverting World Bank’s Project Funds -Provides Conflicting Accounts

Madam Emma Metieh Glassco, Director General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority

 

The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) was listed among other institutions by the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) that poorly contributes to the country’s revenue envelope –the National Budget. Efforts by international partners including the World Bank through the Liberia Sustainable Management of Fisheries Project (LSMFP) to rewrite this imbroglio are hitting the rocks. The Director General of NaFAA, Madam Emma Glassco is reportedly diverting funds from the project to other things not initially considered in the project’s budget.

For instance, the fourth implementation support mission reported in its Aide-Memoire, that US$831,000 was taken from a US$3 million allocated for the construction of the new headquarters of the Fisheries Authority. The Aide-Memoire says the money was used instead to buy six cars, and two motorbikes, erect billboards and buy two generators.   The review stated “It is noted that funds amounting to US$ 831,000 (of the allocated US$ 3.0 million) for this activity were instead spent on procurement of 6 vehicles, 2 motorbikes, public awareness materials and billboards, laboratory equipment and solar power and generators. This deviation must be corrected during the proposed project restructuring and a justification provided to the Bank”.

The project’s financial management, according to the World Bank’s team, has been rated as moderately unsatisfactory, with an inability to account for $34,894 given to staff members for international travel.

In the aftermath of M-News Africa’s publication of the World Bank’s mission report, the NaFAA Director General Glassco said the report was misleading but admitted that the funds were diverted with the “no objection” approval from the World Bank. “There was no disbursement done without the explicit; no objection; from the World Bank,” Madam Glassco said in a press statement.

“Regarding the US$3 million initially allocated for constructing the NaFAA Headquarters, Madam Glassco explained that US$831,000 was spent on essential project items, including six vehicles, two motorbikes, public awareness billboards, and electric generators. The NaFAA Boss further stated, “This expenditure was necessary for the effective implementation of the project and was sanctioned by the World Bank”.

In her press statement, Madam Glassco said two of the six cars mentioned are in use by the project office. She did not say what happened to the remaining four cars; the two bikes and the two generators. The press statement indicated “the procurement of the six vehicles received was approved by the World Bank, and two of these vehicles are actively used by the PIU for project activities. All expenditures are aligned with the project’s objectives and have been transparently managed with the World Bank’s consent.”

The same World Bank that she said gave consent to the diversion of the funds is asking for justification and rating the financial management of the project budget “moderately unsatisfactory”.

She provided no account for the generators and motorbikes but the Workers Association of NaFAA has issued a counterstatement revealing that the two generators have a capacity of 100KVA and are in use at the private residence of Madam Glassco. There is no explanation of how these generators help the project’s objectives.

“Disturbingly, the two 100KVA generators are in use at the residence of Madam Glassco and the vehicles are being used at the discretion of Madam Glassco while the project has only two cars for its operations. Despite encouragement from the World Bank Mission to return these assets to the project, Madam Glassco has refused to comply,” NaFAA Workers said in a statement issued on Tuesday, June 25, 2024.

Her misapplication of donors’ funds undermines the credibility of NaFAA and betrays the public trust and will serve as an impediment for international partners to support the institution. Besides misappropriating

World Bank funds, NaFAA has also been involved in mishandling donor materials intended for fishermen and fishmongers and diverting materials intended for fishermen to political stakeholders in the past regime.

NaFAAWA reiterates her VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE in Madam Glassco as Director General of NaFAA as she has become overbearing in the discharge of her duties.

When the CDC-led government selected Madam Glassco as head of a newly established autonomous institution, with no prior leadership or management records, she was a danger waiting to happen to the fisheries sector. Currently, Madam Glassco is the damage that is happening to the fisheries sector, and if caution is not taken immediately if her quest to further attain wealth, institute bad labor practices, violate all laws governing NaFAA is not halted by this Government, the potential of this sector will never be realized, professionals will abandon their inspirations to develop the institution, and fishermen who should be the symbol of growth in the sector will remain dejected, impoverished and ill-prepared to meet future challenges. There will be irreversible consequences from the damage which Madam Glassco intends to leave behind at NaFAA,” the Workers maintained.

 

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  • M-News Africa

    M-News Africa is an online magazine that reports trending issues, politics, tourism, investigative reporting, Environmental, Marine Ecosystem, Human Rights, Human Interest and other cross-cutting issues. Contact us: +231 775 552 553; editor@mnewsafrica.com; info@mnewsafrica.com; Carey and Center Streets Intersection, Monrovia

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M-News Africa is an online magazine that reports trending issues, politics, tourism, investigative reporting, Environmental, Marine Ecosystem, Human Rights, Human Interest and other cross-cutting issues. Contact us: +231 775 552 553; editor@mnewsafrica.com; info@mnewsafrica.com; Carey and Center Streets Intersection, Monrovia