Clemenceau Urey, former National Oil Company (NOCAL) Chairman, and nine other former NOCAL board members, officials and others connected with the 52nd National Legislature were Friday acquitted of solicitation payments and receipt of money for the ratification by the 52nd National Legislature of oil contracts entered into by NOCAL and several oil companies. The amount involved was US$120,400.
Others allegedly involved were NOCAL Board members Cllr. Stephen B. Dunbar, Jr., Peter B. Jallah Jr., Dr. Evelyn Kandakai and Albert T. Chie.
Other were NOCAL’s former CEO, Dr. Fodee Kromah, Fulton Reeves, Comptroller, and Timothy G. Wiapiah, former Senior Accountant, as well as Alomiza Ennos Barr, former member of the 52nd Legislature and Senate Secretary J. Nanborlor Singbe Sr.
GOL claimed that those individuals, between the periods of May 2006 to May 2007, allegedly engaged in solicitation payments and receipt of money for the ratification by the 52nd Legislature of oil contracts entered into by NOCAL and several oil companies.
GOL charged these individuals with multiple crimes, which included “economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy and bribery” of which GOL sought the court intervention to convict the defendants.
In his ruling dismissing the case last Friday, Criminal Court ‘C” Judge Peter Gbeneweleh stated that “the state failed to commence prosecution of the defendants within the statutory period of five years, as provided for in Section 4.2 (a) of the Criminal Procedure Law.”
Section 4.2 (a), according to him, provides that “a prosecution for a felony must commence within five years after the alleged offense had been committed.”
Judge Gbeneweleh further ruled that “the prosecution of the defendants is barred by a statute of limitation.” He declared, “Therefore, the request to dismiss the indictment (charge) is hereby granted and government’s resistance is denied.”
Several leading questions arise, some of which this newspaper has raised before, shortly after these individuals had been indicted. The first is why did the GOL take so long to prosecute these individuals? Secondly, if GOL accused these individuals of having bribed the Legislature, who received the bribes and why were they, too, not indicted, since in common and penal (criminal) law, the receiver is just as guilty as the rogue?
Another question raised then by this newspaper was, what about officials of the Ministries of Finance, Justice (MOJ) and Lands and Mines, who also sit on the NOCAL Board—why were they not also indicted? Remember, too, MOJ, GOL’s Legal Advisor, was consulted and gave the green light to pay the Legislators the money.
Finally, the payment to the Legislators was approved by the Executive, one of the three branches of government. But no one in the Executive branch was among those indicted—why?
The Liberian Government has to be very careful how it treats its citizens, especially those who work for government. Take Dr. Evelyn Kandakai, a professional educator who has served in several administrations as Minister of Education. Who ever heard of her being involved in any scandal whatsoever?
Take Counselor Stephen Dunbar, Jr., who returned home after qualifying as an attorney-at-law in the United States, with licenses to practice in several American states, including New York City and Washington, D.C. He has worked for government for only two years—one year as an Assistant Minister of Commerce Minister William E. Dennis, 1972; and one year on the NOCAL Board—that’s all.
Clemenceau Urey is CEO and proprietor of a multimillion dollar insurance company. Does he really need a government job? He only answered the call to be NOCAL’s Chair when he was asked to do so.
When he was summarily replaced by the President’s son Robert Sirleaf, NOCAL Board Chair Urey left US$31 million in NOCAL’s accounts. Today the talk on the street is that NOCAL is broke. What happened to all that money? Will it ever be accounted for?
Our final point is that should GOL continue wrongfully to castigate and mistreat the honest and well meaning people who work for her, GOL will end up attracting into its administration not reputable and well-meaning people but mostly crooks, who are eagerly awaiting an appointment to eat, or to exercise vigorously the three G’s: get, grab and go.
A hint to the wise is quite sufficient.