Exxon Scandal Robert Sirleaf Tells More Lies

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    Robert Sirleaf

    In his attempt to steer clear of the scandalous “bonus” payments from the 2013 ExxonMobil deal, Robert Sirleaf, former Chairman of the state owned National Oil Company of Liberia, has told more lies.

    Mr. Sirleaf said in an emailed statement Thursday it was the ex-president and CEO of NOCAL Randolph McClain that recommended to the company’s board of directors to pay bonuses to officials who worked on the oil concession.

    NOCAL’s board members accepted McClain’s proposal and authorized the payments based on advice from former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and a Justice Ministry opinion, he said.

    These accounts from the ex-president’s son contrast the content of an April 27, 2013 board resolution he signed along with McClain claiming that the President Sirleaf authorized the payments. Besides, the Attorney General’s opinion, which Mr. Robert Sirleaf is citing as part reliance, was written on August 10, 2015, more than two years after the payments were made on April 30, 2013 and speaks squarely to board fees not bonus payments.

    Mr. Sirleaf: “It is my recollection that in late April of 2013, about a month after the completion of the landmark oil and gas exploration agreement between the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) and ExxonMobil-COPL, the CEO of NOCAL recommended to the NOCAL Board of Directors that members of the Hydrocarbon Technical Committee, the technical support team, and NOCAL’s senior officers deserved the payment of a bonus “for the hard work and dedication to ensuring the successful completion of the transaction. Subsequently, the Board of Directors under my chairmanship agreed that the recommendation of a payment of bonus was reasonable.

    “After the Board of Directors of NOCAL approved the payment of the bonus, NOCAL sought from the Ministry of Justice and received from the Ministry of Justice an opinion that payment to members of the HTC, some of whom were Ministers and Heads of Agencies of Government did not run contrary to the Laws of Liberia. NOCAL was also advised by the President of the Republic of Liberia that other State-Owned Enterprises commonly paid bonuses.”

    April 27, 2013 Board Resolution: ““Regarding the proposal that was approved by the president of the Republic of Liberia to use approximately 10% of the income that NOCAL generated from the Block 13 transaction (which amounts to roughly 500,000 United States dollars) for the payment of bonuses to the Hydrocarbon Technical Committee and support team, the Board of Directors, the management and staff of NOCAL for their hard work and dedication to ensuring the successful completion of the project, and on motion duly made, seconded and unanimously carried, it was resolved that the Board of Directors hereby authorizes the President/CEO to disburse bonus payments in an amount not to exceed $500,000 United States dollars in order to pay bonuses to the Hydrocarbon Technical Committee and Support Team, the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of NOCAL for their hard work in accordance with the payment listing that was approved by the Board and is attached to this resolution.”

    – Writes Festus Poquie