The Informer (Monrovia)

20 April 2012

Liberia: NOCAL Opens Up for Audit

The National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) Wednesday announced a bold move to subject its books to a forensic financial audit by independent auditors.

The announcement comes as the latest in a series of moves by the state oil agency to increase transparency and usher in a new era of openness - including the publication last week of its annual budget for the first time in its 12 year history, a release said.

NOCAL says the audit will be conducted by a world-class international auditing firm - to be named shortly - which will work in close collaboration with the General Auditing Commission (GAC).

The audit will look in detail at the records, beginning with the years 2009, 2010, and 2011; with others to follow.

NOCAL said it embraces the cooperation of all branches of government, especially the Legislature that has recently shown keen interest in the sector.

The Oil Company which has been under serious spotlight since the reported discovery of oil earlier this year said it intends to make the results of the audit fully public, both locally and internationally, in its continued commitment to transparency.

According to NOCAL, the audit will pay special attention to the year 2011, and to records and transactions relating to the concession of Block 13 and Liberian interests held in that concession.

Dr. Randolph AKW McClain, President and CEO of NOCAL, said: "This audit is crucial to the new era at NOCAL. Indeed it is a part of our commitment to complete transparency when it comes to the oil sector".

NOCAL is reaching out to Liberia's General Auditing Commission to work closely with NOCAL and the international auditors to open up the books and put them in order. Meanwhile, it is expected that NOCAL will announce the name of the external audit firm being commissioned in the very near future.

Section of the public including the National Legislature has called for the audit of NOCAL's financial books and deals it has signed with oil prospecting companies. NOCAL's activities have been flooded with corrupt practices and are incapable of managing a transparent oil sectors critics have said.

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