NOCAL Inquiry Sparks Tension in Senate
Thursday’s session of the Liberian Senate was marked by tensions and harsh changes among Senators.
Dr. Randolph McClain, NOCAL CEO
It all started when a communication from the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) dated May 9, 2012 was read by the Assistant Secretary of the Senate, Madam Genevieve Massaquoi.
The letter urged the Senate to provide clarifications on four separate letters it had served the nation’s oil regulatory body to enable NOCAL authorities address issues raised in those communications.
Upon completion of the reading, the Senators went into serious argument, demanding to know the author of those communications as the Senate’s Secretariat, which is constitutionally charged to communicate on behalf of the upper House denied having knowledge of the communications sent to NOCAL.
Sinoe County Senior Senator, Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan requested Plenary to thoroughly investigate the purported letters and to bring to book the authors.
Senator Nyenpan noted other institutions of government are wantonly using the misunderstanding existing between the Senate and the House of Representatives to bring the entire Liberian Legislature to public disrepute.
Joining the arguments, Sinoe County Senator Joseph Nagbe said the letter from NOCAL is only intended to spark out confusion among members of the Senate so they should not give it credence.
Senator Nagbe said giving the fact that they as authorities of the Senate do not have knowledge of the communications, the documents warrant no clarity from the upper House.
According to NOCAL’s letter to the Liberian Senate, the four purported communications have requested the National Oil Company of Liberia to appear before the joint committee of both the Liberian Senate and the House of Representatives, while another letter called on NOCAL to submit itself to full audit to be conducted by the General Auditing Commission (GAC); and to provide all relevant information on the agreements signed between the government and all oil companies wanting to explore oil from Liberian soil.
Grand Bassa County Senator, John Francis Whitfield said the Senate Chair on Lands, Mines, Energy and Natural Resources Senator Armah Jallah of Gbarpolu County should provide details of how those communications arrived at the door stairs of NOCAL.
“Let Senator Jallah tell us whether he as chairman of our committee that was early working with the House is aware or ever wrote those communications without our approval as plenary”, the tough spoken Grand Bassa County lawmaker demanded.
Senator Jallah has however denied having any knowledge of the composition of the four communications, but the senate Plenary has instructed him to investigate the matter and subsequently submit a comprehensive report next Thursday in session.
Meanwhile, Senate Pro-tempore Gbezohngar Milton Findley said the Senate through various committees is calling for reform at NOCAL.
Senator Findley said in the reformation process, NOCAL is to appear before the Senate to provide every document and laws governing the country’s oil sector, including documents on the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC), the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC) the 2002 Petroleum Law, and the Investment Law, among others.