MOE Confirms Ordering the Transfer of Radio Equipment from Nimba

SANNIQUELLIE, Nimba – After controversy over equipment being removed from its Sanniquellie office, the Ministry of Education has confirmed that it ordered its radio broadcast equipment transferred from Nimba to its central office in Monrovia.

Members of the joint security operations at the Sanniquellie entry checkpoint recently intercepted radio broadcast equipment belonging to the Ministry of Education. Security personnel were suspicious because the items were carried in an unmarked private vehicle.

The pieces of equipment intercepted on June 10 included a set of 5 kW FM transmitters, one 15KVA UPS, one set of 15KVA regulators, one roll of 7/8 feeder co-axial cable with flange and cord, a transformer, and a unit of air conditioner.

The equipment had been installed and used by the ministry’s radio repeater station in Sanniquellie to broadcast its “Teaching by Radio” program. The program began during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country to allow students to continue learning at a time when schools were closed.

After the equipment was seized by security personnel, the Liberia National Police launched an investigation to establish why the equipment was being removed from the county. Johnny Toe, the secretary to Nimba’s county education officer, told police he had hired the vehicle to transport the equipment on the orders of his boss, Moses Dologbay.

Toe disclosed in a written statement that the county education officer had mandated him to immediately report the equipment to the ministry, telling him that the education minister had requested them.

Dologbay acknowledged directing his secretary to transfer the equipment but said he was also doing so in response to a mandate from Education Minister Jarso Jallah. However, the assistant police commissioner investigating the case, Larmie Mendin, said neither the county education officer nor his secretary have provided formal communication from the Ministry of Education to authenticate their claim.

Mendin said police have not charged Toe or Dologbay because Mendin had received a call from James Armah Massaquoi, the deputy education minister for administration, corroborating Dologbay’s claims.

However, despite the verbal clarification, Mendin asked Massaquoi for a formal letter from the office of the minister of education before releasing the equipment.

“We thought that if such instructions have to be implemented by the [county education officer], the official vehicle of the MOE in the county should be used in the process, and also there should be some form of formal communication,” Mendin explained his decision. “So, I told them that the materials will remain in the custody of the police till the minister can give communication. Then, upon that, we can decide what to do.”

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Nimba County School Board, Patrick Luogon Lah, has expressed frustration over the ministry’s decision to transport the radio equipment meant for educating Nimba students out of the county without the board’s knowledge.

Lah said board members representing the county’s 13 educational districts would convene a meeting with the relevant authorities to discuss removing the equipment; after this, a decision will be made on whether the equipment should be allowed to be taken to Monrovia.

“This is Nimba County, and we are also paying taxes to the government. What have Nimba people done to this government for us to be treated this way?” he said.

“Even if the minister sends communication, we will reach it to the county authorities. The superintendent will be involved. The 13 board members of the county school board will be involved, and we will take [an] approved position, or we will meet and take a position that is favorable for all of us. Apparently, these people don’t want us the Nimba people to benefit from the education system of Liberia, or we are being overlooked that there is no one in Nimba County. For what reason, we don’t know.”

Maxime Bleetahn, the ministry’s director of public affairs, confirmed that Min. Jallah had ordered the equipment transferred out of Nimba because it was not being utilized for the intended purpose.

“Recent reports have surfaced alleging the unauthorized transfer of educational equipment to an unknown destination, supposedly intercepted at the Sanniquellie City checkpoint. We are compelled to address these claims and provide clear information,” Bleetahn’s statement read.

“The transfer of the radio materials was executed under the directive of the Minister of Education, Dr. Jarso Maley Jallah. This decision was made because the equipment was not being utilized for its intended purpose. We urge the public and all stakeholders to disregard any misinformation to the contrary. The Ministry of Education is steadfast in its commitment to transparency and accountability.”

Featured photo by Jerry Myers

Jerry Myers

Jerry T. Myers, Jr. is a student of the Nimba County Community College, studying Natural Resource Management. Since 2008, Jerry has worked in the media sector, including at the Voice of Tappita community radio station, ELBC Radio, Radio Nimba, and New Public Trust Media Group. He is the current secretary-general of the Nimba Community Radio Association and a full member of the Press Union of Liberia.

The Bush Chicken is a young operation and we need your support to keep bringing you great content. Please support us.

Monthly   Yearly   One time

Gold Level Supporter—$250/year
Silver Level Supporter—$100/year
Bronze Level Supporter—$50/year
Or pick your own amount: $/year
Gold Level Supporter—$250
Silver Level Supporter—$100
Bronze Level Supporter—$50
Or pick your own amount: $
Contributions to The Bush Chicken are not tax deductible.

Related posts