House Probes Chevron’s Social Development Funds

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The House of Representatives has launched an investigation into US$10 million in Social Development funds from oil giant Chevron.

Plenary Tuesday, June 3rd, mandate its Committees on Public Accounts, Lands Mines and Energy, Contracts and Monopolies to open a probe into financial transactions between the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) and Chevron relating to the status of monies from the company’s social engagement to the Liberian people.

Lofa County Representative Clarence Massaquoi’s motion to launch said inquiry was overwhelmingly supported by his colleagues who expressed concerns over how social commitments from concessionaires are expended.

The House’s decision was prompted by Montserrado County lawmaker Acarous Gray’s letter addressed to Plenary demanding full disclosure of how much was delivered by Chevron, which official(s) took delivery of the monies, and how the monies were expended.

In his communication, Rep. Gray described transactions between both parties as “questionable.”

“The addendum to the Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) for Blocks LB-11, LB-12 and LB-14 which came into effect in 2010, call for Seven Hundred Thousand Dollars (US$700,000) per year for the PSC, and should be for a social development program mutually agreed and managed with the government, limited to maximum of five (5) annual contributions, provided that exploration period for at least one of the PSCs remains effective.

“The five annual contributions will be made available within thirty days of full ratification of this addendum to the PSCs being published in handbills. Subsequently, such contributions will be made each calendar year on the anniversary date of the first contribution,” Rep. Gray declared.

Judging from the agreement in the PSCs, the CDC lawmaker indicated that over the period of five years the three oil blocks owned and operated by Chevron should be contributing from its corporate social responsibility programs in the sum of US$10 million.

Now that the Chevron agreement is four years old, Gray maintained; “It means that a total of US$8.4 million should have been spent on social development programs mutually agreed and managed by the government of Liberia.”

In his letter endorsed by plenary, Gray demanded that NOCAL provide the matrix of such spending, name of Chevron denominated corporate social responsibility projects or programs in Liberia, location of the projects and the cost including implementers along with information relating to names of those that approved said spending.

Mandated committees are expected to begin their investigation shortly and make full report to plenary.

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