8 February 2018

Liberia to Lose U.S.$120 Million If LEC Contract Prematurely Terminated'

Photo: Facebook
Mt coffee hydropower dam, so far Liberia's biggest post-war infrastructure project

The chairman of the board of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), Dr. Clarence K. Moniba, told the House of Representatives yesterday that Liberia will lose more than US$120 million if the current contract with the management is prematurely terminated.

Dr. Moniba told lawmakers that the Management Service Contract with the Ireland-based ESBI Engineering & Facility Management Limited that is being investigated on allegations of undermining the laws of the country has not violated any of the country's laws.

He said in October 2016 a US$257 million contract was signed between the Government of Liberia and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

The $257 million is intended to encourage economic growth and reduce poverty in Liberia by focusing on the inadequate road infrastructure and access to reliable and affordable electricity in the country.

The program empowered the poor and promoted shared American values through a focus on improving land rights and access, increasing girls' primary education enrollment and retention, and improving Liberia's trade policy and practices.

He said any rash termination of the MSC will cause donors to withdraw their respective support and it would hurt the country badly.

Dr. Moniba, along with Mr. Monie Captan, (LEC Board Member) and head of the Millennium Challenge Account-Liberia, Ms. Krystle, MCC Project Manager; and Cllr. James A.A. Pierre, were in attendance in a Public Hearing with the House's Joint Committee, chaired by Judiciary Committee chairman, Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa.

Dr. Moniba said out of the US$257 million, US$121 million is allotted to Mt. Coffee, training, construction of roads, among others.

The LEC team argued that issues raised by Montserrado County District #12 Representative Dixon Seboe about undermining the country's laws regarding contracts and employees being exempted from tax, are part of the "treaty" signed between the MCC and the Liberian government.

They further said Liberians who were in senior management positions, including the Acting Chief Executive Officer, have been replaced and are serving as Advisors and are under training and their respective benefits, and have not been cut.

They said capacity of local Liberian managers and staff will be done through a structured and comprehensive training and development program that will take place both in the country and in Europe and when the contract expires, the trained and experienced Liberian management team will be in place capable of assuming all aspects of the management of the LEC.

Meanwhile, members of the Joint Committee have expressed dissatisfaction over the MSC, which has exempted contractors and employees from tax and the replacement of Liberians by foreigners in fulfillment of the MCC Contract.

Some members of the Joint Committee include Representatives Adolph Lawrence, Francis Nyumalin, Larry Younquoi as well as the complainant Rep. Dixon Seboe.

The MCS has a three-year Management Service Contract with a two-year renewal option for the management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC).

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