LACC Probes US$100K on Capitol Hill

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Liberia’s Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) has launched an investigation into US$100,000 remitted to the House of Representatives to conduct a nationwide consultation on the draft Oil and Gas law.

The amount in question is part of US$1.2 million issued by the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) to the Legislature for the draft law. According to reports, US$200,000 was released to the Liberian Senate while US$1 million should have been given to the House, but instead only US$900,000 was received by the consultation committee headed by Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue.

According to a letter addressed to Deputy Speaker Barchue under the signature of D. Blamo Kofa, Chief Investigator and approved by Cllr. J. Augustine Toe, Acting Chairperson of LACC; the graft commission wants Deputy Speaker Barchue to provide a “useful information and comprehensive expenditure report.”

LACC is also requesting that a copy of the US$1.2 million budget, voucher and other relevant documents received by Deputy Speaker Barchue be provided during Barchue’s appearance at the Commission today at 10 a.m. at the Commission’s Gurley Street offices.

However, in a counter letter addressed to the House on January 21, the Grand Bassa County lawmaker acknowledged receipt of the LACC invitation and proposed that plenary and the leadership of the House take charge of the matter.

Deputy Speaker Barchue said he was only asked to execute a simple piece of job which he did perfectly well.

“I would like to inform you that, since it was the plenary, through leadership, that instructed my committee to conduct this nationwide tour, I would appreciate were plenary to take siege of this matter,” Deputy Speaker Barchue asserted.

However, plenary noted their colleague’s letter and forwarded it to the House’s leadership for discussion next week.

Meanwhile, relative to the Nationwide Oil and Gas Consultation and the expenditure of US$900,000 received by Deputy Speaker Barchue’s committee, the second among equals termed the process as successful.

In his report yesterday, Deputy Barchue declared: “I am pleased to inform plenary that the task is completed; and therefore I present a detailed, comprehensive, expenditure report on the US$900,000 that was requested and approved by plenary through the leadership.”

Plenary advised that copies of the report be distributed to all members of the House for discussion next Tuesday.

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