The Liberian Senate yesterday unanimously voted to order President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to halt any payment of severance to the outgoing board members and officials of the National Oil Company of Liberia, NOCAL.
The Senate’s decision was based on several recommendations from the recent-mandated joint committees on Lands, Mines and Energy, National Resources and Environment, Public Corporations and Ways, Means and Finance in the midst of assurance by the Executive through the Information Ministry that said pay was being packaged.
Amongst the recommendations, the committees called for the reduction of the several key positions including those of the five vice presidents and many top managers in place of whom only engineers and geologists should be recruited as means of reducing exorbitant cost cut.
Also suggested in the joint committees’ report; was the need for drastic cuts in what they referred to as the administrative and other overheads of the incoming skeleton management team, noting that the government through the Ministry of Finance should facilitate the liquidation of severance payment process.
But in various reactions, most of the senators disagreed, suggesting that no dime should be released for such pay until a forensic audit is conducted by the General Auditing Commission to establish the cause of the company’s bankruptcy.
Sinoe and Nimba Counties’ Senators, Joseph Nagbe and Thomas Grupee insisted that the audit was necessary in order to determine what really led to the company being insolvent, and so anyone found culpable for any financial malpractices be brought to book.
Others including Senators Oscar Cooper, Sando Johnson, Alphanso Gaye and Henry Yallah of Margibi, Bomi, Grand Gedeh and Bong Counties, among others; supported their colleagues calls, but added that other former board members who have already been given severance pays in the tone of more than one million United States Dollars, should account supra.
Other senators including Prince Y. Johnson and J. Milton Teajay of Nimba and Sinoe Counties believe that there must have been lots of unnecessary waste by establishing huge salaries for themselves, huge payments for vehicles costing as high as over US$60,000 and huge housing costs when there has not been any discovery of oil in the country.