25 April 2014

Liberia: Exit At NPA - Nat Barnes Steps Down As Chairman of Board

Monrovia — Mr. Nathaniel Barnes has stepped down as Chairman of the National Port Authority (NPA), FrontPageAfrica has reliably learnt. The resignation comes in the wake of the recent controversy regarding the NPA's handling of a tugboat bid won by Mr. Charles Gyude Bryant, the former head of the National Transition Government of Liberia, who died last week.

It is unclear whether Mr. Barnes' resignation is related to the Bryant saga, but one source told FPA Thursday that Barnes 'was tired with the crap." Bryant who had been ailing, fought in vain with the NPA over a tugboat contract he had legally won through a competitive bidding process.

Gyude Bryant, who was the Liberian representative for Damen Shipyard, a Netherlands-based company, had filed a complaint before the Complaints, Appeals and Review Panel of the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission(PPCC) against the NPA for Tugboats that the company had bid for and the NPA illegally cancelled in contravention of the PPCC Act.

The NPA in a letter to the Damen Shipyards indicated that it was aborting the contract negotiation process because the company did not have the capacity to purchase new tug boats and despite another letter from the shipping agency indicating that the agency also had used tug boats to suit the NPA needs, the port still aborted the contract.

FrontPageAfrica later gathered additional documents which show that Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs wrote the NPA giving the Port Authority the go-ahead for the NPA to purchase used tugboats since acquiring new ones could be very costly for the port. Barnes, a former Liberia's Finance Minister under former Liberian President Charles Taylor from 1999 to 2002, was appointed as head of the NPA board in April 2012.

Mr. Barnes ran under the banner of the Liberia Destiny Party for the Presidency in the 2005 presidential elections and threw his support behind President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Shortly after the elections, in May 2006, he was appointed Ambassador & Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Republic of Liberia. Barnes is a 1972 graduate of the College of West Africa and attended the University of Liberia for one semester, before eventually going to the United States for college.

Nat entered Rider University (then Rider College) in Lawrenceville, New Jersey in 1975 where he in majored in Finance. Upon acquiring a B.Sc. degree from Rider in 1978, Nat matriculated to Pace University in New York City, where he obtained an MBA with concentration in Finance and Banking in 1979.

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