The political leader of the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), Mr. Simeon Freeman, has called for thorough investigation of the regime of Mr. Robert Sirleaf when he served as chairman of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL).
He made the statement over the weekend in a press conference held in Brewerville, outside Monrovia.
He said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appointed Mr. Sirleaf who he described as “a failed Wachovia banker” to head NOCAL, that he claimed he would have strengthened NOCAL’s weaknesses; attract American Investors to Liberia’s oil sector and make NOCAL internationally competitive.
He said during Mr. Sirleaf’s tenure, the records showed that Mr. Sirleaf hired NOCAL’s Interim Management Team of 300; $7 million in its budget; brought in NOCAL’s Chief Operating Officer – Cllr. Althea Eastman Sherman – who should have been the first on the dismissal list without pay or bear one of the greatest responsibilities for the huge overspending at the firm.
He also said Cllr. Sherman, who is Mr. Sirleaf’s best friend and a 1978 former classmate from CWA the Vice President for Finance and another Robert Sirleaf appointee – Karmo D. Ville – who ran the firm’s financial affairs and should have borne the greatest responsibility for the firm’s failure.
He said these individuals mentioned are being empowered to transition a firm which, he alleged, Mr. Sirleaf ruined.
He asserted that in order to boost NOCAL’s operations, Mr. Sirleaf should have reduced NOCAL’s workforce to 50 as part of his reorganizational plans, using his appointed chief operating and finance officers. Mr. Sirleaf should have reduced NOCAL’s wage bill drastically and overhauled its executive, removing several vice presidents who received fabulous salaries and benefits.
“Madam Sirleaf on August 25, 2015 addressed the nation on the state of affairs at NOCAL. Certain declarations caught our attention: the immediate resignation of the vice president for Administration, Corporate Social Relations and Public Affairs; the establishment of an Interim Transitional
Team comprising of the Chief Operating Officer, the vice president for Finance, the vice president for Technical Services, reduction of the total institutional workforce to 50 persons; and reducing the size of the board.
“The three vice presidents who were asked to resign are regular appointees with no special attachments to Robert or Madam Sirleaf, they were not the core officers running the daily affairs of NOCAL and NOCAL’s failure can be squarely blamed on the 3 actors asked to transition the very firm they ruined,” Mr. Freeman said.
He disclosed that it is unclear which of the persons were dropped from the board, but they are all confidants of President Sirleaf and Mr. Sirleaf.
He named such confidants of the president as Mr. Seward Cooper, Chairman; Fred Bass Golokeh, Vice Chairman; Amara Konneh, member; Patrick Sendolo, Member; Joseph Howe, member; Ms. Jacqueline Khoury, member; and Peter Bonner Jallah, member.
“Those who enjoyed less support from Mr. Sirleaf could have been dropped because, in President Sirleaf’s statement, she endorsed the board’s action and took the blame for NOCAL’s state of affairs, which is unclear what the mandate of the board was and why did the very board finally come to this position when it could have done this several years ago.”