Musa Bility: “Two Importers Responsible for Gasoline Crisis”

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Musa Bility: “I am here because I thought that it has become necessary for me to make some clarifications surrounding the gas shortage in the country."

Although he refused to call the names of two of his fellow colleagues in the petroleum import business, Musa Bility, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SRIMEX Petroleum, yesterday disclosed on the Truth Breakfast Show (TBS) that two of the petroleum importers in the country are responsible for the acute shortage of gasoline that has rendered the economy almost collapsed.

One may ask why now, particularly at a time when there is a hope of solution to the gasoline crisis, that Mr. Bility has selected to come out to the public with this information; considering that government failed to synchronize its information sharing process.

For almost a month, Liberia went acutely short of gasoline, a petroleum product that is widely used by many vehicle users. The country experienced an extreme dysfunctional system at all levels and increased hardship on the already impoverished population.

“I am here because I thought that it has become necessary for me to make some clarifications surrounding the gas shortage in the country. APM Terminals is right about their position in which they said that no vessel was rescheduled to berth as claimed by the government through the National Port Authority (NPA). Two importers, who were responsible to import petroleum products in December, are responsible for this crisis,” Bility said.

Musa Bility is also the founder of Renaissance Communications, which comprises Real TV and Truth FM, the station on which his interview was broadcast.

He said the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation (LPRC) only has 70,000 metric ton capacity for gasoline and, as such when there is shortage and those responsible to import in a given month fail to import, there is always crisis.

“The two importers expected to have supplied the country, failed to do so. And the reason why only two importers are allowed to bring in petroleum products in a month is because there is not enough space at the LPRC to store the products,” he said.

He added that individual importers have their own tanks to safe-keep their petroleum products but those tanks do not have enough capacity; thereby leading a number of them to reserve their imports in the LPRC’s tanks.

“LPRC, in December of 2019, gave the chance to two of their most reliable suppliers. The importers were expected to have brought in country the gasoline product but, for whatever reason, they did not. This is the actual cause of the problem rather than the falsehood stating that 4 million gallons of gas was stolen and sold,” he said.

According to Bility, other importers, including Aminata and Sons, PetroTrade, among several others were told by the LPRC’s management to wait.  He noted that business has been like that for the last 12 years and it has not changed.

“When a vessel comes to the Freeport and there is no space to berth, it cost them fifteen to twenty five thousand United States Dollars. This is why they come one at a time or very few in number.

“Considering this, the two importers had some challenges with their suppliers from Europe and other parts of the world and so they informed the LPRC that they could have run into January with the delivery of the gasoline,” Bility claimed.

He said “When early January came and passed, LPRC got concerned. Knowing that the two companies have lost their right to import at that time, LPRC had to engage others. And truly, for the month of January, there was no gasoline in West Africa. Almost all of the stations in the nearby countries were empty. The only blessing was that TOTAL had received its consignment of gasoline supply. They scheduled a shipment that had nothing to do with LPRC schedule. That is what bless us.”

He told his interviewers that LPRC’s storage tanks are old, since they were built since 1947 and that the tanks have leakage problems as well as massive evaporation experience.

“When there is crisis, let’s work on the crisis instead of politicizing it. Journalists and all others who rely on Facebook posts to run with stories about a particular incident are not helping this country,” Bility said, adding that a former reporter at his radio station (Truth FM) that now works at a different media entity lied on the radio that he (Musa Bility) stole 1 million gallons of the allegedly missing 4 million gallons of gasoline.

He recommended that there is a need for government to invest in large quantity of petroleum reservation system in order to avoid a repeat of the current crisis, making shortage of gasoline in the country a thing of the past.

“What I also know is that the government is constructing a 70,000 metric ton storage capacity for petroleum products. It is my hope that at least a twenty or thirty thousand metric ton capacity is set aside for the reserve,” Bility said.

Bility is an insider in the oil and gas sector and has been in business since the early 90s, particularly during the era of learned political science professor, Amos C. Sawyer. Sawyer was at the time chairman of the national transitional government of Liberia.

Meanwhile, during the live interview, former managing director of the Liberia Petroleum and Refinery Company (LPRC), now Bomi County District #1 Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe, phoned in and said it is sad that Liberia had to go through acute gasoline shortage of gasoline.

“Gasoline and rice are security commodities. Being without them is grave and it is no good sign for the country,” Rep. Snowe said.

He agreed with Bility on a number of things except that government should make no mistake to invest in any huge reserve of petroleum products.

“It will cost not less than 14 million United States Dollars. And one thing to note here is that we don’t have the capacity because there will always be evaporation and other challenges that cause the loss of petroleum,” he said.

He said during his tenure at the helm of LPRC, Snowe said there were two importers who also lied on the importation of gasoline.

“They failed to get the petroleum and later claimed that the ship on which their consignments were, were diverted to Conakry, Guinea. We had to promptly call for intervention which saved the country from going through what we realized these few days around here,” he said.

He said theft, provisional lifting and evaporation are always responsible for the massive loss of gasoline and other petroleum products at LPRC.

He said there is an age old syndicate at the LPRC which is always stealing petroleum products.

Musa Sheriff, president of Petroleum Distributors of Liberia (PDL) agreed with much of what Bility said and assured that he will work with his association in whatever way to help government succeed in curtailing any shortage of petroleum products.

Sheriff admonished his fellow Liberians to desist from politicizing every aspect of life, even if it concerns the livelihood of people.

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David S. Menjor is a Liberian journalist whose work, mainly in the print media has given so much meaning to the world of balanced and credible mass communication. David is married and interestingly he is also knowledgeable in the area of education since he has received some primary teacher training from the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI). David, after leaving Radio Five, a broadcast media outlet, in 2016, he took on the challenge to venture into the print media affairs with the Dailly Observer Newspaper. Since then he has created his own enviable space. He is a student at the University of Liberia.

22 COMMENTS

  1. If private importers were responsible for the debacle of the gasoline coverage, ANY Liberian Government will do well to take that business from the private domain and erect it within the public domain.

    It could be the opposition effectuating such diabolical design to undermine an incumbent government. A HINT TO THE WISE IS QUITE SUFFICIENT

  2. Businesses were careful in investing huge resources when the country was under threat of destabilizing.

    These are byproducts of Coaster “weah step down” demonstration.

  3. SO WHAT? THESE GUYS ARE FULLY AWARE CORRUPTION IS NOT A CRIME AT ALL IN LIBERIA, SO THEY CAN DO ANYTHING WITH IMPUNITY. SO I DO NOT PERSONALLY KNOW WHAT ALL THE NOISE ABOUT. IF THE MOST CORRUPT PEOPLE IN LIBERIA ARE BEING LOOK UP TO, WELL RESPECTED, ADMIRE AND THE SAME MOST CORRUPT PEOPLE SEE THEMSELVES AS VERY VIABLE PEOPLE IN THE LIBERIAN SOCIETY THEN WE ARE DONE.. SO MANY MANY FOOLS ARE LIVING IN PARADISE IN LIBERIA MY PEOPLE. (WATCH)

  4. I don’t doubt the gentility of Mr. Musa Bility. I am dismayed at his clownish explanation about who was responsible for the shortage of gas in Liberia. By blaming “two men” whom he claims are responsible for the recent shortage of gasoline, Bility shows lack of judgement. The truth of the matter is that the shortage of gasoline occurred under his watch. And so, the most honorable thing that Bility ought to do is to accept the blame instead of passing the blame. Passing the blame will not help. The damage has been done.

    As always, peace.

  5. Hney

    I vividly recall growing up in Bomi Hills in the mid 60’s where my parents moved during the operations of the LMC iron ore conglomerate from Pennsylvania, the USA. One day, I witnessed the local magistrate, Mr. Urias Brooks, recklessly drove his vehicle through a stop sign, and he hit another vehicle which was driven by one of the company’s female Swedish interlocutors/managers. The degrees of her injuries were so severe that she had to end her tenure with the company and return to her home country.

    Mr. Brooks, a very pompous, arrogant magistrate, defended his actions adamantly stating he was right because he was the magistrate who represented the company’s legal interest and as long as he was on company’s errands, he could drive above the speed limits with impunity.

    So, when I read your heartfelt comments wherein you stated, “And so, the most honorable thing that Bility ought to do is to accept the blame instead of passing the blame…” it caused me to reflect on some of our ways of life.

    Unfortunately, many of our government officials find it difficult to accept the blame because they feel their position in society, their ability to give alibis, and establish reasons for the commission of crimes will mostly likely absolve them. On the other hand, nope, nope! One’s ability to establish reasons does not absolve him or her from the commission of a crime.

    May be our nation will arrive there one day.

    • Right to be Anonymous, hailing from the great and historic Senjeh Clan of Bomi County, I also grew up in Bomi Hills now foolishly called Tubmanburg. Yes, I am aware that Urias Brooks is remembered in Bomi History as the legendary Magistrate of Bomi Hills during the 50s and 60’s of the LMC years.

      Yes, I am also aware that despite the fact LMC had its own Plant Protection Security Services, the government Police Barracks and the residence of the Bomi Magistrate (home of Brooks) was housed within the LMC Staff areas a stone throw to the mines itself and the Central Office adjacent Banana Compound.

      But I think your understanding and comment that ”Brooks said he was right because he was the magistrate who represented the company’s legal interest and as long as he was on company’s errands, he could drive above the speed limits with impunity” IS EITHER AN INTENTIONAL MISREPRESENTATION OR UNINTENTIONAL MISREPRESENTATION.

      For Books was a public servant a magistrate absolutely representing government’s and public (actually THE TYRANT Tubman’s) interest. The Industrial Relations Superintendent represented the company’s interest.

      And Brooks, despite the fact he was known to be ”a very pompous, arrogant magistrate, COULD HAVE NOT ”defended his actions adamantly stating he was right because he was the magistrate who represented the company’s legal interest and as long as he was on company’s errands,”

      What congor Brooks of the settler elite of THE TYRANT TUBMAN TWP and who was like a KING or some demigod at the time in Bomi could have said (AND AS YOU RIGHTLY STATED) must have been that ”he Brooks was right because he was the magistrate who represented THE GOVERNMENT’S LEGAL INTEREST, and as long as he was on GOVERNMENT’S OR TUBMAN’S errands, he could drive above the speed limits with impunity.”

  6. Mr. Right. to. be. Anonymous,

    Your closing statement summarizes my way of thinking. Said you, “maybe, our nation will arrive there one day”. By God’s grace, I would like to see a better Liberia in years to come.

    The system in Liberia (if there has been any) has been broken and criminalized. Mr. Urias Brookes, (who does not deserve to be called a gentleman) is a typical example of how messed up our system has been. Had he not been caught, Brookes would have gotten away from the scene of an accident scot free. My point is that if there were a good criminal justice system from the beginning, an “ungentleman” like Brookes wouldn’t have been allowed to spew crap.

    In Bility’s situation, I hope I am not being misconstrued. Mr. Bility is wrong in terms of playing the blame game. To suggest that he stops the buck instead of passing it, does not mean he’s being absolved or whether it’s all he has to do. Let’s move on. Of course not! There should be a price to pay, possibly a termination.
    Sadly, I doubt Bility will be reshuffled, terminated or demoted. Why do I feel that way? The system is broken. I stand to be corrected.

    When it rains in Liberia, countryside roads become impassible. One asks, “where is the Minister of Public Works” during the moment of torrential rainfall?

    Schools:
    Kids go to school throughout the year without their full set of textbooks. Again, one asks, “where is the Minister of Education” during the school year?

    It’s my hope and prayer that we will change.

    Peace

  7. Mr. Right. To. Be. Anonymous.

    Your story about Mr. Brooks struck a cord with my father. He grew up in Bomi Hills during the same time as you. He says to ask you, if you can remember, how did the story end?

    The History of Impunity in our goes back a long time during my dad’s day and it has found itself into my time,
    and it seems there is no end in sight. Where are we headed?

    Uncle Hney is correct in saying that Musa Bility should have just accepted his responsibility in this whole fracas, instead of blaming “two men”. “Two men” that the public will never know about. Mr. Bility is so entrenched in the system that he will be absolved of any culpability.

    I was in Bong Mines to conduct workshop and I met a six grade instructor by the name of Alexander. At the end of the workshop, each participant had to write his name on the attendance sheet. In writing his name, Alexander misspelled his name and it took a lot of convincing before he could admit that he had erred. Come to find out, he was a 10th grade dropout. Question here is: who is to be blamed in this instance?

    Sad, Sad story and the saddest part is that no one is paying any attention. Chaos is the order of the day.

    Peace

    • Joe,

      The guy is still lying. He’s not even a 10th Grade dropout. He’s an impersonator. Even my little daughter in Grade 2 spells her name correctly.

      We know these problems Joe. We will truly fix them. They keep lying to themselves and misleading our country. It’s painful to even read about such example. I can imagine the problem he’s creating for those children he pretends to be teaching.

      May God deliver my country from total ignorance!

  8. Mr. Joe Moses

    Thanks for your inquiry as to how the episode ended. The late Magistrate Urias Brooks was actually the brother of the late Angie Brooks Randolph, who was a distinguished Liberian ambassador to the United Nations. This man had connections and was above the law.

    To the utter surprise of the inhabitants of Bomi Hills during that era, Mr. Brooks was assigned a better car the following day! His connections made him invincible; simply put, nothing was done to him.

    Sorry for replying to your comments late and tell your dad hi for me. What a small world we live in?

    • Remember the missionary’s daughter (UPMS) shooting and Brooks? Brooks and his arrogance appeared in a chapter in the book, “Liberia, The Inside Story, a Travel Report of an American Union Man by (the late) Luther Henry Lemley.”
      Never heard of this book? Wm. V. S. Tubman banned it in Liberia ca 1962 and declared Lemley “persona non grata.”
      Most of our Liberian problems have been in existence since the beginning of the republic, but anyone bringing light to the issues is vilified. Different issue, same old dysfunctional Liberia by the quote from Lemley’s book:

      “You arrive in Liberia at Robertsfield Airport on one of the international planes from America, Europe and South Africa. You…reach Monrovia, the capital city. The first thought a person has after seeing Monrovia is if the plane which brought you is still on the ground at Robertsfield, you would like to throw in the towel just then and leave Liberia.
      You begin to smell the city as soon as you arrive—a pungent, cutting odor—open garbage ditches, bodies needing a bath, garbage in the streets, the streets used for toilets by both men and women, rotten fish for sale everywhere.”
      Liberia, The Inside Story, A Travel Report of an American Union Man, by Luther Henry Lemley, Exposition Press, New York, Page 79, 1962

      Another hard hitting book (Another America: The Story of Liberia and the Former Slaves Who Ruled It by Ciment, James (2014) Paperback) gives one among many examples of unqualified Liberians being placed in positions of authority in which they have no expertise. For example, putting a person with a degree in Theology to head commerce, agriculture, health, etc.

  9. What a ‘Banana Republic”!

    After reading the recital of Mr. Bility and hearing the input of a former LPRC Director, I can just imagine how we have been infantilized and continue to be cuddled.
    So, what are the fixes then?

    Mr. Snowe said the Liberian government should not even think about building new facilities because they cost about 14 million dollars, yet he admitted to problems of evaporation and theft.
    He is insinuating that Liberians should continue to live from hand to mouth, yet these are the people who cynically want to see Liberia industrialized. What a pity for Mama Liberia!

    Mr. Bility is also blaming 2 private entrepreneurs for the shortage, how laughable to blame individuals!
    Are they telling us that the Liberian government has no regulations on petroleum products? No one to ensure common inventory management; early warning system, security stock system…..?

    Someone once came down hard on me some days back on this blog boasting of modernizing our port facilities and using himself as a reference with no referrals of any kind, yet I am hearing here about leakage, the high cost of unavailability of space for vessels calling in, etc. what was modernized then?
    I live in an African country where the government is earnestly working to modernize (not yet modern) its port facilities. The country has a port length that curves like from the Bong Mines pier going beyond JFK; a pier for logs, a pier for flour, a pier for other commercials goods, a pier for cement and cement inputs, a pier for fishing, a pier for used and new cars, a pier for heavy machinery and petroleum products. Since the mainstay of their economy is Cocoa and Coffee, a special port in San Pedro just for those produce.
    This country means business.

    If we (Cummings and ‘apologists’) were at the helm of affairs, Mr. Bility could have been summoned before the courts for unpatriotic conduct and negligence. But I guess he will be rewarded like Mr. Brooks.

  10. Uncle Zoedjallah,

    I greet you, son and member of the great and historic Senjeh Clan. I hear great exploits of that noble tribe, whose blood also flows through my mother’s veins as it also flows through yours Sir. Hence my calling you Uncle.

    I most confess to you, uncle, the point you tried to make about Magistrate Brooks went right over my head. I am not ashamed to say that I don’t understand what you trying to express. Please excuse my youthful ignorance.

    You claimed that Mr. Right.To.Be.Anonymous’ narrative about Magistrate Brooks is “either an INTENTIONAL MISREPRESENTATION or UNINTENTIONAL MISREPRESENTATION.”

    I guess my question is, Was Magistrate Brooks’ actions within the confines of the law, or was he negligent in his actions?

    Lots of people have suggested that the name TUBMANBURG be changed, and I am sure you would agree to that idea. Yet no one can come up with an appropriate name. So, for now, we are stuck with that nomenclature.

    Uncle Dolo, as for the class room teacher who cannot correctly pen his own name, we just have to give him the benefit of the doubt. The question to be asked is this: who is to be blamed for his shortcomings? the system that failed him, or his parents who refused to oversee his studies?

    Peace

    • My nephew Joe, the city of Bomi County is Bomi Hills. That notorious ritualistic killer and tyrant William V.S. Tubman imposed his very stupid name on our city. But you bet we shall restore our city’s name Bomi Hills very soon!

      So like New York City, New York State, we have Bomi Hills City, Bomi County!! OR BOMI, BOMI!

      So the address for someone living in Koundey, Kondeh, Damala, Gbalasuah, etc. etc.etc., should end with:

      Koundey, Bomi Hills, Bomi County; Kondeh, Bomi, Bomi County; Damala, Bomi, Bomi County; Gbalasuah, Bomi, Bomi County, Liberia, West Africa!

      With regards to my bone of contention with right to be anonymous, MAGISTRATES are public officials; hence whether in that situation or otherwise, could have not make such a claim.

      Do you think the first Superintendent of Bomi – AB Anderson Sr. G. Blodell Jackson, or any of their successors or even any magistrate of any of the mining or rubber concession counties or territories could have ever said they were serving private interests or on the errands of private interests..? NO!

  11. He should NOT be a teacher then. Joe, it is dangerous for a blind person to lead the blind. They will all end up in the pit. Let him find something else to do. There are lots of opportunities in Liberia, not as a teacher.

    Liberians are fond of mismatches; a preacher man with no technical background running our RIA and yet we want to be a transportation hub in the subregion, by what magic?

  12. I agree with Dolo on some important issues, but not all the way to the end of the line. By agreeing with him, I do not want Dolo to think that I am persuaded by his ANC or CoP doctrine. I agree with him philosophically on some issues, of course not all the time.

    1. The teacher whose profile was raised by JM is the subject of discussion. Dolo suggests that because of the teacher’s incompetence, he should not be allowed to continue teaching. Dolo has made a touchdown on this one! From my perspective, maybe the teacher needs a job. I understand, but if he’s allowed to continue teaching, the teacher will damage our youth.

    Who is to be blamed for such madness in our school system?
    Answer: The Ministry of Education.

    2. An area of disagreement with Dolo:
    Mr. Dolo states that a Preacher who has no technical knowledge shouldn’t have been appointed to a top post at the nation’s international airport. I disagree with Dolo because the job at the airport is being done so far by the Preacher without the sky falling down on the Liberian people. Secondly, the Preacher has to eat. Although he may not have any technical knowledge, the Preacher has no record malfeasance. The Preacher is not a saint, but the poor guy is traveling carefully in his lane.

    Mr. Dolo’s boss, Alexander Cummings, is a businessman-turned-politician. No one blames Cummings because of the change he has made in terms of going the political route. The Preacher whom Dolo is critical of should be allowed to do his job irrespective of whether or not the gentleman has had no technical knowledge about airports.

    Peace

  13. Uncle Hney,

    Let’s take a look at the point of disagreement (Point 2).
    From exchanges, I know you have travelled to Liberia from the USA of late. Please answer this simple question: Did you arrive at the RIA with the same plane you boarded from the USA (I mean the same comfort and prestige)?
    You changed flight. Why?

    I don’t really know what aspired between the Ellen government and Madam Cockrum but I think she has the best resume to run the RIA for now. Probably, that’s why Weah sent her invitation to come back to Liberia.
    Had she embezzled as the press made us to understand, I don’t think President Weah would have sent for her.
    CDC is getting to understand, and they want to change course by bringing on board the right people or else they would have been wasting 6 precious years of our precious lives.

    Liberia and Senegal were once the gateways to West Africa. Nearly all American airliners that ever touched ground in West Africa did so in Liberia. Nowadays, Liberia is the last route modern airliners want to ply. As a Liberia, I am ashamed to be more than 172 years old and see all my privileges going over to Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, etc.

    We have dubious individuals in our leadership cycle in Liberia. As soon as you touch down, they pretend to like you and recommend you for a job. As soon as you get the job, you must pay your “tithes” to them lest they soil your good and hard-earned reputation on futility. The leadership needs to change to uproot such enigmatic characters from public service.

    The preacher man is just ‘holding unto the people’s thing” with no creativity, innovation and insightfulness because technologically, his intellectually capacity is devoid.

    Let’s properly vet. There are qualified Liberians out there. And when you bring them on board, tie no strings to their job. Leave them to professionally work for Liberia.

    My regards!

  14. Bomi Hills City sounds like a good name for Tubmanburg. Bomi Hills city, home of the Blue Lake, home of the most beautiful women to ever walk God’s green earth – The Gola Women. Is it also home of the Late great Morris Dorley?

    Thank you for your clarification, uncle Zedjallah. There are folks who will vehemently disagree with you that Late President Tubman was a tyrant. There are many who argues that he did very well for Liberia – Open Door Policy, very good economy and so forth. I confess I have been diligent in my reading of him, but I am now reading on him to get to know who and what he stood for.

    I think the point Uncle Dolo is trying to impress upon us is that The Preacher will better serve his purpose well if he is involved in Preaching since that is his area of expertise. but then again, lots of people of have multiciplity of talents and can perform in dual capacities.

    Peace

  15. Then get the required education. I have seen engineers, economists, medical doctors and so many other professionals who felt the urge to serve God on the pulpit. They had to undergo biblical studies before getting on the pulpit.

    Liberians like to be Jack of all trades and master of none. And then we always hear people say, “but the man is doing his best”, NO!

    I hope this preacher man will resign to go and win souls for God. If he has developed likeness for management job, let him go to school and obtain such degree.

  16. His Royal Courtesy, Petarus Dolo,
    Everything you’ve said about the grandeur years of Liberia are fantastic! You live in a country that’s advanced than Liberia. And yet, Liberia declared independence more than 100 years before the Ivory Coast. Just imagine. The country in which I grew up (the US) is more developed than the Ivory Coast. The comparison of the US to Liberia is not worth it. So what’s wrong with your and my people? I agree with you. I understand your frustrations about the slow pace of development in our country’s history.

    But, although Weah needs qualified men and women in his government, please listen to this… let’s not disparage the few men and women (like the Preacher) who are willing to work. Let’s encourage them to do their utmost best. A lot of educated men and women may not have the country’s interest at heart. Yet I am not suggesting that the quintessential amongst us should not be brought in board.

    We will regain our magnificence! Be hopeful brotha (haha).

    Peace

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