NOCAL OIC Blasts People Practicing ‘Yellow Journalism’ Over $600K Allegation

By Amos Harris |

The National Oil Company of Liberia Officer in Charge, Jacob Kabakole has vehemently rubbished media report of his alleged involvement in the stealing of $ 600,000 United States Dollars.

Addressing the Ministry of Information Monday’s press briefing at the Ministry of Information, Mr. Kabakole informed journalists that information circulating in the media is maliciously criminal and a concussion of lies.

He said those involved in what he called yellow journalism are not helping the country and its people in their bid to destroy people who have Liberia at heart, and further used the occasion to publicly challenge anyone with evidence to bring it forward, and proof him wrong.

Speaking on the issue of the  allegations of  “squandering of  funds  amounting  to  six hundred  thousand  United  States  dollars  are  baseless,  malicious  unfounded   and  without  merit at no point in my oversight  of the national  Oil  Company  I have not  signed   off on  any  disbursement of  such   a sum  to  anybody” he told journalists during the press conference.

According to him, these   claims are not only   false, but  are   deliberate  attempt  to tarnishing my hard earned reputation that I have built on  integrity  and  dedication  to  national  progress.

“I am further convinced that  the  actors  behind this  ruse  have  a  more  immediate  intention  to  discredit  the  president’s  appointment of  officers  in charge and  to  undermine  the  amount  of  consideration  His  Excellency  gave  to making  this  decision.

“With this realization,  I am even more compelled to address   the issues as I am now doing”  to  those  media  institutions  who  demonstrated  remarkable  professionalism  in  investigative   journalism, by  seeking  us  out  and making  inquiries  into the validity  of the  story.

While  many of us may  assume  this to be  intuitive  standard  practice on the  part of the media,  this fiasco  and the  related  publications are evident  that it  is  not so.

What  we  see  instead  is  the sort  of yellow   journalism  that  is  characteristic of  a smear  campaign,   so,   I  really  appreciate  those  institutions  who  exercised  due   diligence  to  uphold  both  the  integrity  and  dignity  of our   fourth  estate.

“To   set the record  straight,  here  are  the  factual   details  of  the  project   progression  and  financial  transaction  prior  to  my  appointment  as  officer in charge, on July  13, 2023 ,  NOCAL  entered into  a contract  with   BMC  Group Inc, for  an  office  construction  project  valued  initially at $ 2.9  million.

This   contract was  duly  processed  and appears  to have  adhered  to  the public  procurement  and  concession   commission (PPCC) guideline.

According  to Jacob  Kabakole,  the  first  payment  to  BMC    totaling  $1,456,928.84 million,  was  made   on  July 17, 2023  signifying   the  commencement  of the  contractual  obligations.

This payment was made  in two  separate  checks  of US$ 728,464.42  each,    the  actual   contract  began  in  November 2023  followed  by   a  contract  amendment on  23, 2023.

This amendment was approved by the PPCC to increase    the contract value to $4.5 million to accommodate necessary project adjustment, this new amount represented   an increment of 1.5 million or 51.72%.

NOCAL  hired TSC Global  as  its  project  consultant   with  the  primary   responsibility of  monitoring, evaluating and  certifying   that BMC  was  carrying  out   the project according  to  the terms  and  specifications  of the  contract.

On  December 15, 2023,  an  additional  payment  of $796,259.39 was  made to  BMC  bringing  the  total  disbursement to $ 2.2 million  which  accounted  for 50% of the  revised   contract  value.

“ It  is  crucial  to note   that  these  developments   including  the  financial   transactions,  occurred  before  my  appointment, my official  responsibilities  commenced  on  January 29, 2024  by  which  time  the project  was  well   advanced  and  the  outlined  payments  had  been  completed”  he said.

In continuation of the  fact  stated   above  we  have paid  6.7%  of employees  educational   benefits  which  my  predecessor  did not  see as a   priority over a five  period. The leadership of the company at the time claimed it was executing austerity measures and educational benefits were not as critical   for the operational expense of NOCAL.

The institution on my arrival owed 132, 750.00 USD to staff   for educational benefit, the   some leadership unfortunately during their departure paid  severance in  the tune  of  close  to half  a million  dollars  defeating  their  previous argument  for  refusing  to  pay  employee benefit.

I remain  unwavering  in my  oversight  of  this  very  important  national  corporation, this is my  commitment  to  the  betterment  of NOCAL  and  by  extension  and our  beloved  country, Liberia.

I understand how I may  appear as an  easy  target  on account  of my  relationship to  his  excellency,  but no one  should be  fooled  by this, he said.

“This is not a weakness, but a strength that encourages  me  to be extra  diligent  and to work   demonstratively  harder  to achieve   the pillars  of the   Rescue  agenda  for Liberia”   he said

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