Liberian Information Minister Warns Against President Ordering An Audit

Information Minister Lewis G. Brown is warning citizens against soliciting the order of an audit of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The statement is in response to critics calling on the Liberian leader to order an audit of NOCAL by the General Auditing Commission (GAC) and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).

He made the statement at the MICAT press briefing Tuesday in Monrovia.

Brown said while government welcomes concerns and criticisms by some citizens, it is equally advisable to avoid allotting additional powers unto the presidency, especially when LACC and GAC have their mandates and constituted authorities.

He noted that the issue of NOCAL is not an individual duty, concern, nor an individual responsibility, but rather a general concern that makes it a shared responsibility.

“And so those criticizing must not only criticize but also advance meaningful suggestions that address the sustenance of NOCAL, rather than fronting for its dissolution as it is being insinuated in some quarters,” Brown emphasized.

“This is a company that had an average income generation of US$30.5million, translating into US$10.6 million of annual payment to the government Consolidated Fund,” he added.

Describing NOCAL as a “prized asset,” Minister Brown also noted that in 2012/13 NOCAL also generated for government US$15.6 million with the signature fee of US$50 million, which he referred to as the highest fees ever paid to a country unknown to be an exporter of oil.

He argued that while NOCAL possesses these astute qualities, the conduct of managerial activities cannot and must not go unchecked as has been done by President Sirleaf.

The government spokesman, however, frowned on those pre-judging board members, administrative staff and employees of corruption to give way for the audit mandated by the Liberian leader.

“What will be your reliance tomorrow should you become president, especially when this government fails to honor best practices?” Brown wondered.

A forth night ago, President Sirleaf announced an approved Sustainable Action Plan (SAP) aimed at implementing significant restructuring of NOCAL with the objective of ensuring that the company continues its mission to develop Liberia’s hydrocarbon resources in the interest of the nation.

Several measures, including the reconstitution of the Board of Directors, the laying-off of the company’s current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and other employees as well as the proposed resignation or dismissal of the company’s Vice Presidents for Administration and Public Affairs, among others, were announced by the President.

Meanwhile, the Liberian leader has set Thursday, October 1, as the official date for the restructuring of NOCAL.
LINA

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