This is a continuation of SDI’s ongoing investigation of the audit report from NOCAL on how Chevron’s $10.5 million social development fund was spent in Liberia. This is an interview with one tenant in Buchanan during a visit to the low income housing units that were built using part of the $10.5 million.
On how long she had been a tenant at the housing facility and what the process was to get in she explains below:
**The interview is longer but these are responses to key questions**
"It’s just been a year….the process is like we apply to National Housing Authority. Apply to them telling them that you’re interested in the units. And when you apply, they will invite you, when you go there; they will request that you carry – because they want to know if you’re working permanently – carry uh – your HR should write a letter stating that you’r working."
00:40 "…when you carry it to housing now then housing will in turn come and give you the unit they want to give you. Because that’s what they did. We didn’t get what we wanted, it was that house we wanted – the three bedroom. Right on the road there…"
*** James Otto explains to the tenant, again, that we’re recording video and asks to get closer and she continues explaining about how her family got the two, two bedroom units they’re in albeit they wanted a three bedroom unit.
James Otto: "Do you know how much you paid? You are supposed to pay in total?"
"…first, when we came newly, they said. To be frank they houses are substandard. Because according to how they were giving them to us. First they told us to pay $11,000 USD – for this dirt block, two bedroom house. That’s what they told us first."
James Otto: "For the two houses combined?"
"One! That man you see over there paid $14,000 for that house. For the three bedroom up there. He was the very first that came. At least we were lucky they brought it down small. He was the very first that came. We came and they said $11,000 for the two bedroom; we went on and on and on they brought it down to $9,000. We said OK, and three bedrooms would be $11,000…"
03:15: "…we paid certain amount to LBDI and then they were going to be cutting the balance from the salary every month. That’s how we started the process, my husband went and deposited a certain amount to LBDI."
"Right after that then, I think it was some part of this same year or the ending of last year…they came again. Because at that time 1, 2, 3, 4 units behind there were empty."
"…the marketing manager at the time came with his secretary…they noticed that people weren’t taking the houses because the prices were too high. SO then they came back and said OK, they decided to bring the prices down. But they way they brought it down, it would have to be cash down – no more mortgage payment arrangements."
"…They said now the two bedroom houses were four thousand, three something and three bedroom was five thousand plus. But you had to pay cash down. They came down now, so other people got interested…"
James Otto: "You talked about the house being dirt bricks and substandard…what are the facilities inside?"
"What facility? Nothing! Everything inside there, we got to put it there. The house just like this…even in the bathroom, we got to put our own tiles. If we want tiles in the house, we got to put tile in the house. This house you see with that iron door, it was not built by them. The people who got, EPA – Environmental Protection Agency – they got it for their office. They put the steel door, they put the iron bars there. Any other thing you want to do you do it yourself…they built it just like this and leave it with you. Any other work…"
James Otto: "Like painting?"
"No, they painted, window glasses were there…the doors yeah..OK."
James Otto: "But internally nothing."