Liberian Government To Prosecute Global Witness Report Culprits

(LINA) – President George Manneh Weah has vowed that government will prosecute anyone found liable in the Global Witness (GW) alleged corruption report on the sale of Oil Block 13 to Exxon Mobil.

Making the commitment at the start of a two-day cabinet retreat in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County, the Liberian leader disclosed that findings from the five-member Special Presidential Committee on the GW report have been submitted for determination.

“My officials and I will review the document and will ensure that anyone found culpable will be dealt with in accordance with the laws of Liberia. This is to send a signal that we are prepared to confront any form of corruption and mismanagement in government,” President Weah assured.

The Liberian Chief Executive added that the step taken by the government is to regain the trust and confidence of citizens and international partners in order to solicit additional support and funding to implement development projects.

Global Witness on March 29 this year released a report in which it called on the Government of Liberia to investigate officials involved in the Exxon Mobil US$120 million purchase of oil Block 13 in 2013 for corruption and wrongdoing.

The international anti-graft institution in the report alleged that the oil deal likely enriched some former officials of government who may have illegally owned the block and also accused National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) of making unusual, large payments to senior government officials who sanctioned the deal.

According to the report, Oil Block 13 was originally awarded to a Liberian-Anglo Company, Broadway Consolidated/Peppercoast (BPC), by NOCAL in 2005 and was later ratified by the Legislature in 2007 through bribery.

The GW report further indicated that it has evidence that (BPC) was likely partly owned by former Lands and Mines Minister Jonathan Mason and former Deputy Minister Mulbah Willie.

The report also accused the two former officials of granting the oil block to a company in which they held interest while they were also serving as ministers in 2005, which was illegal under the laws of Liberia.

The report named former NOCAL CEO, Randolph McClain; former National Investment Commission (NIC) Chairman, Natty B. Davis; former Finance Minister, Amara Konneh; former Lands and Mines Minister, Patrick Sendolo; former NOCAL Board Chair, Robert Sirleaf, and former Justice Minister Christiana Tarr as officials who allegedly received huge bonuses following the authorization of the oil deal in 2013.

President Weah, upon receipt of the report, constituted the investigative committee to look into allegations made in Global Witness Report on Liberia involving NOCAL and report back to him, findings and recommendations in three weeks.

Those appointed to the committee were Cllr. Ndubuisi Nwabudike, Chairman; Cllr. Pearl Brown Bull; Cllr. C. Alexander Zoe, Rev. Joseph Gardea Johnson, and Mrs. Frances Greaves as members.

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