The Senate yesterday voted unanimously to request the Executive Branch of government to begin an immediate review of all concessions within the Republic of Liberia and report to the National Legislature.
The Senate reached the decision yesterday as a result of a mandate given to the Senate Committees on Concessions and Investments; Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; and on Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims and Petitions to jointly probe a complaint filed by Senator Francis Paye of
Rivercess County that some logging companies were still operating in his county after their concession agreements had expired.
In his letter dated April 12, 2016, Senator Paye informed his colleagues of the expiration of agreements entered into with the Government of Liberia by a few logging companies operating in his county for the past three years.
Senator Paye raised concern that the same companies are still carrying on logging which he described as flagrant violation of the Concessions and Investment Laws of Liberia without ratifying said agreements.
According to the joint committee, after reviewing the responses from the National Investment Commission (NIC) and the National Bureau of Concessions which were requested to provide updates on all concessions within the Republic of Liberia, it was discovered that there were two logging companies operating in Rivercess County, namely the Liberia Tree and Trading Company, Incorporated and the E. J. & J. Investment Corporation.
The two companies, according to the NIC report, are operating legally as the result of their concessions entered into with the Government of Liberia.
“The committees have come to realize that due to reports from both the NIC and the NBC, all the concession agreements between the Government of Liberia and concession holders have passed the period of revision with the exception of Cocopa Corporation whose concession was ratified in 2014,” the 13-member Committee disclosed in its report to plenary.
The three committees, chaired by Sando Johnson for Concessions; Morris G. Saytumah for Agriculture; and Cllr Varney G. Sherman for Judiciary, reported that they have carefully and successfully consulted with the NIC and the NBC, as well as other relevant stakeholders.
“Now therefore, the joint Committee recommends that due to the failure of the various parastatals of the Government of Liberia to review all concessions within the five years, a request must be made to the Executive Branch of government to begin an immediate review of all concessions within the Republic of Liberia and report to the National Legislature on this matter.”
Both Senators Paye and his kinsman Dallas Gueh thanked their colleagues for acting expeditiously on their concern.