APM Deal Backfires

When those behind the APM-GOL Agreement thought it was all about “chopping” to just sign and ratify the agreement, little did they know that “God would one day work out miracles”  to save Liberia from future economic stagnation.

Following the hasty ratification of the APM Terminals Concession Agreement for the management of the Free Port of Monrovia, there are credible reports that the deal may just back fire.

Sources from abroad and here have disclosed to the New Dawn that one of the major competitors during the bidding process for the contract to manage the Free Port of Monrovia, the French-based company, Bollore will be suing APM Terminals for falsification.

Bollore may be instituting legal action against APM Terminals for using its original proposal and pictures it submitted to the Liberian Government. The Company is reported to have accused APM Terminals of using the document and already published photos of how it (Bollore) wanted the Free Port to appear following its rehabilitation.

Sources say some of the pictures presented were recently run an APM advertisement in most of the local dailies. Another source within government hierarchy informed this paper that following a recent investigation, APM Terminals which has no expertise in port management, may likely sell a huge share outside.

The agreement was hurriedly ratified by the Liberian Legislature in what appeared to be a complete mis-representation of the people of Liberia considering the “blind eye” reportedly placed on certain provisions by the Legislators, not in the economic and security interests of the country.

Concession agreements that should incorporate the interests of the Liberian people are most often subjected to the whims and caprices of so-called international investors by the Legislature.

A few well-meaning Legislators, who preferred to remain un-named, told the New Dawn Wednesday at the Capitol, that most of their decisions, in terms of passing bills into law or ratifying concession agreements are purely based on personal interests and not those (national interests) they represent.

“Some time, the few of us who feel that we are here for our people and our country argue these bad agreements fruitlessly because we are out-numbered when it comes to vote-taking for such major decisions, and the thing about it, my brothers, is that when these laws or bills or agreements are passed or ratified, we all take the blame,” one representative dejectedly explained Wednesday.

“Gentlemen, what’s going on here is terribly for our country. interestingly, this two-week extension of our break is like a new gold creek,” a senator from one of the populated counties revealed.

According to a few lawmakers, a jeep each has been promised lawmakers who crossed carpet to the Unity Party for their commitment to the passage of  what they referred to as “ exploitative agreements and bills” while they leave for their agriculture break, but failed to name the donors.

They said many of the Legislators are presently contesting that the jeeps be distributed among all representatives and senators, as well as senior support staff, as was done in the case of Mittal Steel, the world’s largest steel company operating in Nimba and Grand Bassa Counties.

Reports had it recently in the corridors of the Capitol building and the media that each legislator received US$15,000.00 to pass the new Maritime Time Authority bill, with Montserrado County Representative Edwin Snow at the center of the distribution, something Representative Snowe and a few others vehemently denied.

This paper is also reliably informed that the “honorable” men and women also succeeded in another “cash dish” from two multinational companies, an amount not disclosed, but described as substantially huge.

“If something like that occurred, it is not quite to my knowledge. But anything can happen in this building, my brothers. People operate in the dark, but for some of us, we have our own money and so, we don’t care about what they do,” a representative proudly noted in a meeting with the New Dawn yesterday.

According to the legislators spoken to at the Capitol, many of the lawmakers may be amassing huge cash in preparation for the 2011 Legislative elections, in the wake of their poor or bad human relations with their respective constituencies. Their primary objective may be to use money to buy votes, something many views as unworkable this time.

Some are even accusing the President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of generating millions of U.S Dollars, from wherever she can, to win the Presidential election at all cost.

“As she’s doing so, many of our colleagues also think they need enough money to bribe their citizens for their votes in their respective constituencies and counties,” a Montserrado County Representative told the New Dawn.

To satisfy the desire and interest of the President of Liberia, regarding the passage of bills coming from the Executive Mansion, the Liberian Legislature has to pass the national budget recently. There was an extension of two weeks for the Legislators’ agriculture break for the ratification of all of the concession agreements and national budget.

The passage of the National budget, which covers the very Legislature, was deliberately delayed until a few days ago when it was passed. The submission of the budget preceded the submission of most of the concession agreements, including Chevron and APM Terminals.

But the Legislature chose to honor the latter reportedly on certain commitments already mentioned.

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