LIBERIA: NOCAL Threatens With Eviction?

The National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) is said to be finding it difficult in meeting its domestic obligations including the payment of its lease agreement for the building’s three floors being occupied by the entity as offices located at the corner of Ashmun and Randall Streets.

The building in question is owned by the Episcopal Church of Liberia, under the terms of the lease agreement, NOCAL is obligated to paying to the church a total of US$135,000.00 per annum for the premises, but report gathered by our staff has revealed that the entity is finding it very difficult to settling its obligation with the Church due to financial crisis at that institution.

Recently a spokesman of the entity denied report that the entity was finding it difficult to pay its rental obligation to the Episcopal Church of Liberia for three floors it is currently using as offices.

Mr. Cyrus Wleh Badio in his clarification to a local daily recently noted, NOCAL has already made an initial payment of US$45,000.00 (Forty-five Thousand Dollars) towards the amount, and has now processed and made payment for an additional US$45,000.00 (Forty-Five Thousand United States Dollars).  Processing for the remaining balance of US$45,000.00 (Forty-Five Thousand United States Dollars) is in progress.

Mr. Badio in his statement to the paper further said, we hope this clarification will help to provide a more accurate picture of the lease agreement entered into between NOCAL and the Episcopal Church of Liberia for three floors our entity is now occupying as office space, and the efforts we continue to make to meet our obligations to all of our partners–despite the austerity measures the global economic meltdown has imposed on the oil company.

Alarming reports of economic failure at the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) has drawn the attention of many Liberians, including the former Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company, Mr. Harry Greaves who citing the issue of huge salary including board Fees Payments.

Mr. Greaves has credited the current economic crisis at NOCAL to the payment of huge and alarming salary to the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Randolph McClain who reportedly earns a monthly salary of US$30,000.00 in poverty striking country.

Mr. McClain on Wednesday July 1, 2015 appeared before Legislative Joint Committee on Oil, Gas and Petroleum to give detailed short and medium term plan of NOCAL to keep the Liberian basin active in the next fiscal year and in the future. He was also asked to explain austerity measures to remedy the current financial crisis at the company.

Unfortunately, during his presentations, the NOCAL Boss who was unable to respond to many questions from members of the Committee on salaries of employees; current bank balance; number of consultants and their salaries; and current budget needed to operate the company, told the committee that he was deriving at solution to remedy the situation and as such, he would furnish committee members with those relevant information in subsequent time.

But Mr.  Greaves, Jr. told reporters at the Capitol Building after the hearing that part of the financial crisis at NOCAL was prompted by huge salaries disbursement and the payment of US$1.5m as Board fees annually to members of the Board of Directors.

According to him, during his tenure at LPRC, he personally loaned NOCAL US$30,000.00, something the former LPRC Managing Director noted guaranteed him to be a shareholder in NOCAL. Amongst other things, Mr. Greaves told reporters that he once took personal initiative to pay salaries and travelling cost of the then President and CEO of NOCAL, Dr. Fodee Kromah to attend an oil conference in outside of Liberia.

“Currently, NOCAL is not producing anything. Tthere is no oil that has been discovered, the company just operating on administrative unit; they are only doing the paper work to submit them that there is a potential oil blocks in Liberia; they should be thinking about how to have geophysics, financial experts and geologists.  NOCAL payroll should be 20-persons and not 160-persons,

some of them have huge salaries, even the salary of the President of the United State of America, Barack Obama is not amounting to US$30,000, no public servant in Liberia, including the President is making such an alarming salary; this is complete foolishness, NOCAL spends US$25m of public funds annually, they are not producing anything, their presentations at the hearing were just to fool the Liberian people,” Mr. Greaves said angrily.

Meanwhile, Mr. Greaves has recommended a remedy, which in his review would prevent the reoccurrence of financial crisis at the oil company. Amongst things, he called for the reduction of huge salaries, number of staff members.

He also recommended that Liberian President must stop appointing head of the entity, adding that the NOCAL is a cooperate entity and as such, the sole appointing power is vested in the Board. “If all of these recommendations are followed, NOCAL  will be safe from high alarming rate of corruption, why will a single, who is not the only beneficiary of the country’s economy, receives US$30,000.00 as monthly salary, this wide range of corruption, why the ordinary Liberians are going to bed hungry, this is complete wickedness,” he added.

However, shortly after the hearing, all efforts made to contact Dr. McClain for clarity on Mr. Greaves’ claim did not materialize. He refused to talk to the media and angrily got into his vehicle and parted company with journalists without a word, .

 

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