Seeking The Truth In LEITI, NOCAL Saga

RECENTLY, THE NATIONAL Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) strongly reacted to a recent allegation by the Liberia Extractive Industry Transparency Initiatives (LEITI) over allegations against the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL).

THE LEITI RECENTLY alleged in one of its reports, that“US$330K ‘Unaccounted for” in oil sector. The report stated that “analyzing total payment and differences per sector, LEITI found that within the oil sector, the companies paid US$49,911,073.86 but only US$49,681, 073.86 was paid in the government’s coffers. The report also showed that a difference of US$230,000 remains unaccounted for in the oil sector.”

IN ITS REACTION, NOCAL dismissed the LEITI’s claim and described it as misleading. According to NOCAL, the account was for the period July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011, which stated, “Analyzing total payment and differences per sector, LEITI found that within the oil sector, the company paid US$ 49,911,073.86 but only US$ 49,681, 073.86 was paid in the government’s coffers.

IN THIS SITUATION, a difference of US$ 230,000 remains unaccounted for in the oil sector, reported by companies as paid to the government but the government agencies did not report receiving.  With the total amounts taken into account, there can be no other difference therefore, only US$ 230,000 is in question, not US$320K as reported.

NOW THAT THE LEITI has alleged some discrepancies, but NOCAL has at the same time rejected this and termed it as misleading, meaning that LEITI has provided false and wrong information to the public and after viewing the financial records of NOCAL, there is a need that the Liberian people know what is really ongoing in the oil sector to erase some perceptions held by others about the leadership of NOCAL.

ACCOUNTS FROM THE two institutions no doubt leave us in doubt as to who is really saying the truth about the ongoing saga between LEITI and NOCAL. As Atty. Philip Wesseh said in his article, in this kind of situation, it is always investigatory, meaning one has to check, counter check and seek further information, clarification or explanation on any doubts.

WE ARE WONDERING as to whether NOCAL was informed about this discrepancy for further explanation before the final report because information from the oil company leaves many in doubt and there is a need for more explanations or clarifications as LEITI has maintained its position on the report.

WE ARE CONCERNED because the situation is very crucial because LEITI has made an allegation that NOCAL has challenged and yet, LEITI is still maintaining its position of the allegation against NOCAL. That is why we are seeking further clarification from NOCAL over the LEITI report.

CONSIDERING THE CONTROVERSIES surrounding the oil industry, Liberians want to know the truth in this matter to know who is indeed telling the truth. That is why we are calling on NOCAL to give further information or clarification on the ongoing saga to enable Liberians ascertain the fact of this matter.