12 Ministries, 11 Concession Companies under House’s Xray

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The Plenary of the House of Representatives has mandated its committees on Public Accounts and Expenditure and the Judiciary to review a letter requesting the auditing of 12 government ministries and 12 concession companies.

The committees, headed by Margibi and Bomi Representatives Ben Fofana and S. Gayah Karmo, are expected to advise Plenary whether it is required or rational for these revenue generating ministries and taxpaying companies to be subjected to investigation by the House of Representatives.

The members of the House reached the decision on Thursday, February 25 after a lengthy debate based on a letter from Rep. Bhofal Chambers of Electoral District #2, Maryland County, who is also chairman on National Defense.

The ministries proposed for audit are Public Works, Health, Labor, Internal Affairs, Education, Justice and Transport.

Others are Finance & Development Planning, Commerce and Industry, Foreign Affairs, Gender, Children & Social Protection and National Defense.

The concession companies recommended to be audited include National Oil Company of Liberia, New Liberia Gold Mine, APM Terminals, LAC, ArcelorMittal Liberia, AmLib, Putu Mining, Golden Veroleum (Liberia), Atlantic Resource Management, Maryland Oil Palm and Cavalla Rubber Corporation.

In his letter to Plenary, Hon. Chambers said it is regrettable that in spite of the huge foreign investments in the country, there is hardly any impact on the socioeconomic condition of the vast majority of the people and the state.

Hon. Chambers, who is also Chairman of the House Committee on National Defense, maintained that the auditing of these institutions is in the best practice of democracy and urged his colleagues to exercise their legislative attention to ensure that the Liberians benefit justly from the country’s resources.

“This humble request is for the purpose of reminding all of us that championing the cause of economic probity and equitable social justice must be our collective duty and hallmark, and we must never ever be distracted,” said Rep. Chambers.

“Many of us, if not all of us, share the view that there are unprecedented huge foreign investment initiatives currently in the country, with little visible impact of the socioeconomic conditions on the lives of the vast majority of our people and the state,” he said.

A motion from Hon. Edward Forh of Electoral District #16, Montserrado County, sent the letter to the two leadership committees.

Meanwhile, Grand Bassa County Representative Byron Browne yesterday announced that the people of the county, specifically in Electoral District # 4, are frustrated and worried over the delay of the renegotiation and submission of the 1959 Concession Agreement between the Liberian government and the Liberia Agricultural Concession (LAC) to the Legislature for scrutiny and ratification.

The Grand Bassa lawmaker blamed the Executive for the implementation of the renegotiation. The Supreme Court of Liberia on March 27, 2013 issued a ‘Writ of Mandamus’ on the Ministers of Justice and Agriculture, as well as the National Investment Commission and LAC.

“The petitioners were represented by the point of the magnitude of the mater, with the High Court mandating the Executive to proceed with the negotiation and submission of the agreement to the Legislature,” Rep. Brown said.

“It’s now three years since the High Court’s ruling was issued, but we are yet to see the practicality of the decision.”

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