International natural resource and anti graft campaigners have alerted law enforcement authorities in the United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom to investigate former Liberian officials who may enter its territory or resident there for corruption.
UK based governance watchdog Global Witness placed the request after it unearthed what seems to be a state sanctioned corruption within the West African Country’s oil sector.
In its March 29, 2018 report Global Witness said several officials who served in the erstwhile Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration received irregular payments from US oil firm ExxonMobil.
“It’s very encouraging that President Weah has called for an investigation into the 2013 Block 13 deal,” said Jonathan Gant, Senior Campaigner at Global Witness.
“Global Witness is also calling upon law enforcement in the US, UK, and Canada to investigate.”
The New Democrat has obtained evidence then President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and son Robert Sirleaf approved the distribution of the country’s oil revenue amongst several top officials for their role in sealing US oil firm ExxonMobil petroleum exploration concession. Total amount dash out to officials is far more than what Global Witness reported.
Following Exxon acquisition of offshore oil Block 13 and subsequent payment of US$50million, the Board of Directors of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) convened an emergency board meeting on Saturday, April 27, 2013 to discuss how they will collect some of the Oil money for personal benefit, NOCAL board resolution showed.
The resolution revealed the official solicited the payment via a proposal to President Sirleaf, which she endorsed.
Johnson Sirleaf directed that 10 percent of the US$50million be given to Hydrocarbon Technical Committee members, NOCAL officials and staff.
The payments are in violation of the country’s public finance Management law and constitution.
President George Weah’s administration has described the revelation as allegation of bribery and abuse of office, which will be investigated, and people blameworthy for the act with face the law.
Global Witness says the revealed kickback scandal is Weah’s first major test in office to see if he will make good on his promise to fight corruption.
– Festus Poquie