U$5m Oil ‘Kickbacks’ – Legislators Ignored Expert’s Warning

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Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s officials were aware they would receive individual payments in return for granting US oil firm ExxonMobil a lucrative offshore concession before the consummation of the deal.

ExxonMobil Petroleum Sharing Contract reached with the Sirleaf government in 2013 contained a clause that administration officials working on the oil deal would personally benefit from ‘bonuses’. The total amount is in the neighborhood of US$5million.

One expert flagged the issue and alerted legislators but was ignored. In a March, 2013 testimony before members of the legislature, Dr. Lester Tenny said the deal was whiffed with corruption and the provision relative to officials receiving ‘bonuses’ lacks legal basis.

“Bonuses acquired by statutory members as seen in the contract is a clear violation of the standing code of conduct,” he said.

“ The fact that the exact amount for bonuses were not announced gives room and will give rise to future suspicion of a foul play between the parties involved.”

In short, the possibility of a future investigation into the acquisition of block 13 is possible and that a future litigation of exon mobile is imminent, Dr. Tenny predicted in 2013.

Five years after the conclusion of the deal, Global Witness – the UK based natural resource and governance watchdog called the bonus scheme irregular payments , which must be investigated.

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.

President George Weah’s administration has classified the revelation as allegation of bribery and abuse of office, which will be investigated, and people blameworthy for the act with face the law.

Festus Poquie