Harper, Maryland County - The President of the William V.S. Tubman University in Maryland County, Dr. Edward Larma Wonkeryor has announced the dismissal of one of the University’s Vice Presidents for alleged corrupt practices.
Mr. Roland T. Barnes, Associate Vice President for Facilities and Campus Operations, was dismissed following reports that he allegedly received kickbacks from a Construction company that was awarded contracts by the University.
Speaking at a well-attended emergency staff meeting in Harper on Tuesday, Dr. Wonkeryor said Mr. Barnes’ dismissal is as a result of kickbacks he allegedly received in the tune of US$60,000 from GBECCO, a construction company hired to renovate the most talked about engineering Building on the campus of the University.
Barnes, a representative hopeful in Harper District #1 Maryland County, allegedly received kickbacks from GBECCO in exchange for contracts to be awarded by the University to the construction company.
GBECCO, the company in question, has been contracted by the institution on several occasions for construction projects.
An employee of the company who spoke to FrontPage Africa in Harper on the basis of anonymity, said officials of GBECCO felt compelled to give in to the demands of Mr. Barnes and other senior staff of the University for fear that their refusal would result to the company not getting those contracts from the University.
Reports of the kickbacks led the University’s cabinet and President to constitute an independent committee of inquiry to investigate the allegation of corruption by some senior level staffers of the institution.
The committee, headed by the University’s Internal Auditor Lavina C. Gould, submitted its findings and recommendations to the administration after several weeks of investigation involving all parties.
The committee, in its findings, found out that Mr. Barnes was involved in the act and recommended to the University cabinet his immediate dismissal from the institution.
According to eyewitnesses, Mr. Barnes was during the week searched and forced out of the University premises by security guards.
According to Dr. Wonkeryor, Mr. Barnes will be turned over to the Ministry of Justice and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) for appropriate penalties, saying the accused misused tax payer’s money.
“We have recordings on him that he took kickbacks from GBECCO and the company confirmed that, you can be my brother or sister, if you misuse tax payers’ money, the due course of the law must take its place,” Dr. Wonkeryor said.
The TU President called on staff of the institution not to see his action against Mr. Barnes and others as a witch-hunt, but a process intended to create an environment at the University that will be corruption free.
Meanwhile, Committee of Inquiry also recommended an indefinite suspension for Mr. Johnny C. Woods, Chief of Staff, Office of the President and Interim Vice President who the committee said had alleged links with the US$60,000.00 Kickbacks from GBECCO.
The committee in its findings also stated that Mr. Woods’ name will be submitted to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) or the Ministry of Justice to enable him go through the process for exoneration.
“He is hardworking and love the institution and if he is free based on the content of our letter and since he was schooled by the University on the Grow your own program perhaps he can come back and serve as a professor or occupy the position of Chief of staff if possible,” Dr. Wonkeryor pointed out.