The New Dawn (Monrovia)

23 November 2012

Liberia: CDC Wants Accountability in Gov't

The leadership of the Congress for Democratic Change has called for the dismissal and subsequent prosecution of Commerce Minister Martha Beysolow, and the Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company, T. Nielson Williams, over their role in the GAC published irregularities of the Japanese oil contract, which defrauded government of an estimated US$5,000,000.00.

A statement signed by CDC's Secretary General, Mr. Nathaniel McGill, has noted that recommendations by former Acting Auditor General Nanka for Aminata and Sons to be held accountable along with key government officials for financial discrepancies, constitute a legitimate basis for prosecution.

Few months ago, the General Auditing Commission's audit report on the Japanese oil saga concluded that the LPRC's Managing Director T. Nelson Williams should be censured by the President of Liberia for not protecting the interest of the government in ensuring that proceeds from the sales less a reasonable commission was deposited in the account of Liberian market as stated in the Commerce Ministry's cost-benefit analysis.

"There is a need for the Commerce Minister to also be censured by the President for awarding a deep discount of US$4,584,292.90 to Aminata & Sons without any basis. LPRC's T. Nelson Williams be censured for violating Section 48 (1) of the Public Procurement and Concessions Act by not subjecting the contract to monetize the Japanese Oil Grant to the Government", Mr. McGill added.

He said the report also wants 'Minister Beysolow censured by the President for not monitoring the deal to ensure that the terms and conditions were enforced by the LPRC and be equally censured by the President for not ensuring that Aminata & Sons passed down to consumers a discount of 21.19% reflected in the pump price of petroleum sold on the market.'

According to him, the General Auditing Commission in its forensic audit recommendation required 'Aminata & Sons to deposit US$5,788,134.01 into Government Account #0220630001709 at the Central Bank of Liberia, as the excess income was unjustly accrued to Aminata & Sons as a result of the transaction.

This amount includes US$16,000.00 set aside by Aminata and Sons for external audit purposes, as there is no evidence that an audit was conducted, as supported by LPRC's Final Report...'

McGill noted that even though the Liberian Senate is said to have conducted a hearing, the CDC believes the Senate's action did not address the substantive issues of what appears to be a deliberate and blatant violation of PPCC regulations, leading to a defraud of an estimated US$5,000,000.00 in arrears meant for the national treasury.

Meanwhile, the CDC has reminded all branches of government of their statutory obligations to protect public interests, urging the appropriate functionaries of the government to relieve the indicted officials for onward criminal trial.

The party said it is saddened by the proven lack of political will to fight corruption, and has readjusted its collective focus to a more individualized approach to holding violating agencies of government accountable.

McGill concluded that the CDC will hence exhaust all available processes to uncompromisingly ensure that the statutory demand for removal, restitution and prosecution is adhered to.

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