17 January 2014

Liberia: Senator Wotorson Rejects Foreigner As LEC Head

The Chairman of the Senate Statutory Committee on Lands, Mines, Energy and Environment, Cletus Wotorson, has described as "unconstitutional" the appointment of a foreign national to head the management team of the Liberia Electricity Company (LEC). Senator Wotorson also described the act as counter-productive to the Liberalization policy.

He explained that the Act creating the LEC allows only Liberians to head this public corporation and not foreigners.

Wotorson made the criticism Wednesday when the LEC Management and Board of Directors appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Lands, Mines, Energy and Environment to provide information on its achievements and challenges in 2013.

Prior to the appointment of a foreign national Gregory Sylvestre, as Chief Executive Officer last year, Joseph Mayah, a Liberian national now serving as Deputy CEO, was Managing Director.

Senator Wotorson also argued that since the LEC was established by an Act of the National Legislature, the decision to bring in a foreign national to head the management of the corporation should have met Legislative approval.

In response, Lands, Mines and Energy minister Patrick Sendolo, who is Chairman of the LEC Board, said the move to appoint a foreign national as Managing Director and make the former Managing Director Deputy CEO was dictated by partners and donors.

Sendolo explained that the donors doubted the ability of Liberians to adequately manage the money they were putting into the rehabilitation of the LEC.

He said since the Government of Liberia was interested in the rehabilitation of the LEC and never had the funding to single-handedly undertake the project; it had no alternative but to comply with the donors' request. Sendolo, however, made it clear that the management of the LEC will revert to Liberians in 2016 at the end of the contractual period.


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