Information Commission To Hear Complaint Against LEC…NOCAL To Appear Nov. 7

The Independent Information Commission will today conduct a hearing into a complaint filed against the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) by the civil society group, Action for Genuine Democratic Alternative (AGENDA).    The hearing will take place at the Commission’s head office on 10TH Street in Sinkor.

In a letter to the Commission dated October 16 and signed by its Administrator Mr. Lance K. Nimely, AGENDA complained that the LEC Management denied it access to the Corporation’s annual financial statements and in-year reports covering the period 2008-2013.

The AGENDA also requested the LEC to make available to it documents showing the

Corporation’s contribution to the National Budget through dividend and license fees, a copy of the legislative act establishing the Corporation and LEC officers’ compensation during the period indicated above.

Chapter 3 Section 3 of the Freedom of Information Act states that every person, irrespective of nationality or residence, may request, receive, review, reproduce and retain any information held by Public Authorities or private entities that receive public funding or engage in public functions or provision of public service.

In its letter of citation to the LEC, the Independent Information Commissioner, Cllr. Mark Bedor Wla-Freeman said the Commission attaches “utmost importance to the hearing, as it is part of our mandate under Section 5.2 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act which states that “the Independent Information Commissioner shall receive, hear and decide all complaints as well as mediate disputes arising under this act.’

This hearing is a continuation of cases the Commission has heard. The Commission has since its inception in 2011 heard three cases. The first case was a complaint filed by former Education Minister Dr. George S. Boley against the Foreign Ministry for denying him access to information about his deportation.

In the second case which was filed against the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission by CEMESP, the Commission ruled that LACC was under obligation to make available the

assets declared by public officials to CEMESP because it was in the public interest as it would help in the fight against corruption.

In a related development, the Independent Information Commission has cited the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) to a hearing on November 7, 2013.

The hearing is based upon a complaint AGENDA filed against the National Oil Company for its failure to provide information on the Company’s annual financial statement and in-year reports covering the period 2008-2013; NOCAL officers’ compensation; minutes of NOCAL board meetings on dividends declaration; amount in dividends payment made to the Government of Liberia; and copies of reports on debt financing and debt servicing in line with the Public Financial Management Law.

The Independent Information Commissioner, Counselor Mark Bedor Wla-Freeman has also cited the management of the Roberts International Airport (RIA) to answer a complaint filed against them by AGENDA for their failure to provide information to the civil society group about its operations.

AGENDA wants to know the RIA’s financial statements and in-year reports covering the period 2008-2013; minutes of board meetings on dividends declaration (if any); amount in dividends payments that have been made to the Government of Liberia; RIA approved budget for the fiscal years mentioned above in line with the Public Financial Management Law, as well as copies of reports on borrowing and debt servicing, in line with the Public Financial Management Law. The hearing is slated for November 14.