Monrovia — The Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) says it has been drawn to an "Open Letter" from Mr. Christopher Z. Neyor, former Energy Advisor to the President, in which he claims to have "initiated and spearheaded ... sensitive negotiations" with Nigeria and Kuwait for the allocation of crude oil to Liberia.
According to Mr. Neyor, proceeds from the allocation transaction should have been used to reduce the cost of electricity in Liberia but were not, leaving Liberians with the sad impression that proceeds from the allocation have been abused, misused, squandered, and are unaccounted for. This is appalling.
The LPRC reserves judgment on the motive of the Montserrado County Senatorial Aspirant's "Open Letter" but cannot permit these brazen lies and insinuations to fester unchallenged in the public domain. Here are the facts supported by the public records.
The LPRC is unaware, and the public records do not support claims by Mr. Neyor that he "initiated and spearheaded negotiations" with the Nigerian and Kuwaiti Governments for the allocation of crude oil for Liberia.
In the case of the Nigerian allocation, the President wrote the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria requesting the allocation. The Presidential Letter neither introduced Mr. Neyor nor did it mention him as the responsible party to follow-up on the negotiations, which is often the case with such "quiet diplomacy".
While Mr. Neyor, in his capacity as Advisor on Energy would have had reasons to know about the letter and its content, to claim that that knowledge deferred upon him the duty of 'initiator' and 'spear-header' of the ensuing negotiations and diplomatic efforts, are over-extension of his imagination; anover-exaggeration of whatever staff function role he may have carried out;and unfairly dishonors the actual efforts of the line functionaries and relevant agencies of the government which worked diligently to ultimately make the transaction possible.
The simple truth is that the Agreement between Liberia and Nigeria for the allocation and supply of oil is a bilateral one initiated and spearheaded by the President. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company acted out their respective roles and functions in relation to the hammering out of the Agreement. We continue to be grateful to the Nigerian Government for the assistance.
The Agreement, dated July 19, 2010, is signed by the Ministry of Justice and the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company on behalf of the Government of Liberia.
On September 13, 2010, the LPRC Board and Management dutifully communicated to the public through the press that proceeds from the allocations will be used for national reconstruction projects.
On February 9, 2011, through a Board Resolution, USD390,434.00 was released for the West Point Road Project. Additional amounts of over USD 2.1 Million out of total deposits of USD2.2Million have been subsequently disbursed for various projects ranging from Bole-hole wells and hand pumps across the country to the tank construction at Tappita Hospital. Again, all deposits and disbursements are fully accounted through the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment, and can be made available upon request.
On the Kuwaiti Oil Agreement, we recall that Mr. Neyor was amongst officials of Government who accompanied President Sirleaf on a State visit to Kuwait and was present when the Liberian leader requested diesel fuel to be sold to Liberia at concessionary prices by the Government of Kuwait.
The proceeds from the Kuwaiti request would be used to assist the LECin expanding and diversifying its power grid to low income families in and around Monrovia, as well as to create some cushion for the National Transit Authority(NTA) against the burdensome cost of fuel oil for its public buses. This would then lower the transport cost for students, the elderly and security personnel in uniforms who would commute via the NTA buses.
Giving that the agency of the government responsible for the supply and distribution of downstream petroleum is the LPRC, the President instructed the Management to proceed with the technical negotiations with the assistance and support of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice.
Interestingly, Mr. Neyor, for reasons unknown to the LPRC, held secret meetings and unauthorized discussions with the Kuwatis. It was subsequently revealed that contrary to the original request of the Liberian Government, an additional request of US$8 Million was made by Mr. Neyor without any reference to the President.
Again, we are in no position to judge the motive of Mr. Neyor. However, we are pleased to report that the ongoing discussions are proving to be fruitful and rewarding. Mr. T. Nelson Williams of the LPRC and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Sylvester Grisby are representing the Liberian Government in these negotiations.
Finally, the LPRC recommits to serving the people of Liberia in an accountable and transparent manner, and feels obliged to set the record straight.