By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy
Information reaching the editorial desk of this paper says those caught in the US$ 1.2 million oil money consultation deal are deriving ways to correct their records at the Capitol Building.
Already, the National Oil Company (NOCAL) might have cleverly cleared its name, but the public still awaits comments from the office of the comptroller of the House of Representatives and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning on the disbursement of the said money and from who to who.
It is rumored that a financial officer is under strict instruction from the House’s leadership not to release any information to the public on the matter, while the chairperson of the Special Consultation Committee is bent on carrying out other alleged fraudulent acts to exonerate him of dishonesty.
The fast spreading rumor that is linking the Deputy Speaker, Hans Barchue, to whom almost of his colleagues are pointing fingers as the prime suspect in the investigation is said to have instructed the head of procurement in the House to prepare fake vouchers to have him vindicated.
According to the highly placed legislative source, Deputy Speaker Barchue who presided over the disbursement of the money is finding every way secretly to withdraw the balance of the money so that he could share it with his colleagues to put the matter at rest.
The head of Procurement at the House of Representatives, Eugene Collins, out of fear is delaying to carry out the instruction of his boss because by doing so would be a violation of the Public Procurement Law of Liberia.
However, when the Deputy Speaker was contacted on the matter, he denied ever holding such discussion with Mr. Collins least to speak of instructing him to disburse the money through any fraudulent means.
Deputy Speaker Barchue said the information as rumored is part of the ongoing syndicate to discredit his hard-earned reputation which he had strived to build over the years.
Recently, Deputy Speaker Barchue told a team of reporters that he was just the agent in the process; terming the House’s plenary as the principal and referred to technicians at the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) as not having the facts before embarking on the journey to investigate individual members of the House.
He vowed that he would not entrap himself in explaining about money which was not given to him and said his mandate as far as the consultation was concerned ended successfully as he received only US$ 900, 000 to carry out the entire consultation.
Apparently the Deputy Speaker meant that the LACC’s invitation to him was misdirected because he said how the Commission could request him to provide information to an ‘alleged’ US$ 1.2 million that was given to the House of Representatives.
Similarly, the LACC invited the Speaker, Alex Tyler, in whose released response, he communicated back without appearing and promised to make all relevant documents available for the investigation’s perusal.
But as the investigation is ongoing, lawmakers have been defending themselves on the media which is aiding the LACC’s investigation further and at the same time building public skepticism into the entire saga.
However, the National Oil Company (NOCAL) termed as insinuations reports emanating from individuals and institutions to the effect that the entity disbursed either the amount of US$1.2 million or US$900, 000 to the House of Representatives to conduct the nation-wide consultations said it never disbursed funds to that body for the purpose of holding the nation-wide consultations on the new Exploration Production Act of 2013.