Gov’t Denies Secret Oil Deal
The Liberian Government has dismissed speculation the President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her son, Roberts Sirleaf, the Chairman of the Board of the National Oil Company of Liberia are secretly negotiating and awarding oil deals to foreign investors.
Speaking during his regular press briefing Monday, Presidential Press Secretary Jerolinmek Piah it is untrue that the president and her son were secretly negotiating and awarding oil contracts.
Mr. Piah: “There has been much talk not just about NOCAL and oil in Liberia, but also about how President Sirleaf and the NOCAL’s Board Chairman, Mr. Robert Sirleaf, are awarding oil contracts and oil blocks to investors.
The Executive Mansion wishes to unequivocally state that these claims are not only false and misleading but meant to subject the President to blackmail and drive away investors.
The negotiation of contracts, not just in the oil sector, takes a complete circle and process that starts at different stages of the Government structure and ends with the process of ratification by the National Legislature.
Moreover, most of the oil contracts that are being discussed today were negotiated before Madam Sirleaf ascended to the Liberian Presidency. In fact, it is very important to remember that it was the President who put a halt to the awarding of oil contracts pending the completion of the reform process.
Therefore, it is inconceivable that people would associate the President with any attempts to mortgage the oil resources of Liberia.
Additionally, it is untrue that the President and the NOCAL Board Chairman are negotiating and awarding oil contracts to investors because the legal process for awarding contracts does not permit that.
In fact, the President, working with other branches of Government and stakeholders, is simply striving to make the oil sector more open and transparent by eventually making amendments in the Petroleum Law and the law creating NOCAL, and also reviewing the existing oil deals for the benefit of the Liberian people.
The President has said -- and we want to reiterate -- that NOCAL should engage the public more and provide the necessary information that will lay to rest rumors and speculations.”