— Following results of probe of recent gas shortage
President George M. Weah has fired the deputy managing director for operations of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), Bobby Garseyu Brown, for negligence and fraudulent activities in the recent acute gasoline shortage in the country. So far, according to a release from the Executive Mansion issued this morning, Brown is the President’s only casualty based on the findings of the Special Task Force commissioned to identify the cause of the recent petroleum shortage in Liberia as well as variances between importers stocks balances and the acute stock balances of the LPRC.
Mr. Bobby Brown is the junior brother to Liberia’s former Information Minister and Representative to the United Nations, Lewis G. Brown, who was also recalled by President George M. Weah in August of 2018.
This investigation, which was conducted by the Minister of State Without Portfolio, Trokon Kpui, presented the findings to President Weah on February 21, 2020, at his Foreign Ministry office in Monrovia.
“After a careful assessment of the findings and recommendations of the report, and discussions and consultations with other relevant officials and advisers, President Weah has decided to take the following actions with immediate effect,” the release issued by the office of the Presidential Press Secretary said.
“Bobby Brown, Deputy Managing Director for Operations of LPRC is hereby dismissed for gross negligence and fraudulent activities. He will be investigated by the appropriate authorities and if found guilty, will be prosecuted under the full weight of the law.”
According to the release, during this process, any other personnel found to be directly linked to illegality with regards to petroleum movements will face prompt administrative actions and will also face prosecution under the law.
“All petroleum importers who currently have payments for provisional lifting products still outstanding are hereby given 90 days to restitute the products either in cash or in kind; and petroleum importers that willfully transferred products stored at their facilities are also given 90 days to restitute the products, either in cash or in kind,” President Weah said.
President Weah further ordered the Ministry of Justice to place such importers in receivership until the products are recovered, stating that failure to replenish the products within the specified time will result in revocation of importers license and forfeiture of allocated storage facilities.
“All petroleum importers licenses are hereby suspended, and are to be individually subjected to a performance-based review covering the period January 2017 to January 2020. Re-activation of license will be done on a case-by-case basis and those that do not meet performance and capacity requirements satisfactory to the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company will be subject to revocation,” the release said.
Meanwhile, the Government of Liberia wishes to assure petroleum importers that all products accepted into the storage facilities of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company will be protected from fraudulent and illegal manipulation, going forward.
More details to follow.