With an annual income of US $2.8 million and total income of US $34.5 million in the 12 years ending December, 2018 from the UN Mission in Liberia, UNMIL, there appears to be shocking mystery regarding “ownership, in terms of the identities of Shareholders and corporate activities of Pan African Real Estate Corporation” during this digital, computerized age of information technology.
The corporation is, or was, state-owned enterprise that replaced the dissolved, state-owned Libyan-Liberian Holding Company (LLHC) as owner/manager of the Pan African Plaza, in which the Governments of Libya and Liberia hold 50-50 interests.
The Libyan African Investment Company (LAICO) was established in 1990 under the provision No. 660 of the Libyan government, and was later acquired by the Libya Africa Portfolio (LAP) in 2006, with a share capital of 992,912,800 Libyan Dinars.
In accordance with its articles of association, LAICO is a holding company, acting as one of the arms of the Libyan sovereign wealth through investing Libyan funds in Africa, mainly in hospitality, hotels and real estate sectors, as well as other multipurpose sub-holding companies, with a long-term, pragmatic vision of developing and diversifying national wealth and revenue streams of the Libyan economy. Therefore, the Libyan-Liberian Holding Company represented Libyan African Investment Company (LAICO) in Liberia.
The Pan African Plaza is owned/managed by
The Libyan-Liberian Holding Company (LLHC)
Replaced by Pan African Real Estate Corporation (PAREC)
ASSETS: 8-storey Building in the City of Monrovia, Liberia
Investment sector: Real estate Sector
• 50% LAICO Libyan Government
• 50% Liberian Government
Libyan-Liberian Holding Company (LLHC)
The “Liberian-Libyan Holding Company (LLHC) was established in the early 80s out of a treaty between the two government (Libya and Liberia) which was signed in 1974. Prior to the (civil) war the partnership was on a 50-50 level and the company was involved in real estate and related economic development” (www.winne.com/lr/interviews/mr. Eugene Peabody).
“On the basis of . . . agreement, the Liberian-Libyan Holding Company was formally established in 1978, remained in existence in 1983 and apparently stood at the centre of relations between the two countries. The purpose of the company is ‘to develop and execute financial, commercial, industrial, maritime transportation’” (https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1461659310).
LLHC & Others Dissolved
The Libyan-Liberian Holding Company and six other state-owned enterprises were dissolved by Legislations upon request dated June 5, 2015 by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on the grounds that “they are no more viable and significant to the (economy of) country”. But LLHC was replaced by the Pan African Real Estate Corporation.
According to the newspaper New Democrat (New Democrat, April 5, 2018), there is complete blackout on the activities of the Pan African Real Estate Corporation (PAREC), identity of its shareholders, payment of their individual annual return on investment, Corporate income and withholding tax liability under law. Much of that which is known includes the struggles by the warlords (of the Association for Constitutional Democracy in Liberia, ACDL), human rights violators and killers began, that:
1) In 2004, the late Harry Greaves, the Treasurer of the ACDL, and the late Willie Knuckles claimed that former President Taylor had granted them ownership of Pan African Plaza through lease agreement. So, Mr. Jacques Klein, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Liberia in 2002 and head of UNMIL seeking offices for the Peace Keepers, sent a Miss Linda Fawaz to the exiled President Charles Taylor in Calabar, Nigeria. Mr. Taylor’s response was that there was no such agreement.
2) UNMIL, then, negotiated a lease agreement with “owners” of Pan African Plaza and paid US $2.8 million per year would paid a total of US $34.5 million ending 2018. But who are the shareholders of this state-owned enterprise? The answer has become a mystery. But the issue of corporate income and withholding tax, and shareholders’ payment of annual return on investment (including the Government of Liberia) were critical to the tax authorities of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).
3) In an email statement, LRA’s Communication & Public Affairs Manager, Mr. D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh wrote, “This property (Pan African Plaza) is not in compliance with its real estate tax liability nor withholding on rent. The building is currently occupied by UNMIL and it is difficult to access the premises by enforcers to enforce the tax laws. This challenge/impediment is attributed to the reference to Geneva Convention of 1946 on the work of the UN and their diplomatic immunity”.
4) Furthermore, Ms. Leigh Robinson, Head of UNMIL Public Information Office wrote in a response that “UNMIL rents the Pan African Plaza (PAP) from the Pan African Real Estate Corporation (PAREC), a company registered under the laws of Liberia. Amongst others, the Government of Liberia is significant shareholder in PAREC . . . UNMIL has rented PAP since 2006. The rent that UNMIL pays to PAREC is governed by contractual confidentiality. However, UNMIL has no objection if PAREC releases this information to the public”.
5) According to the New Democrat newspaper, “from the accounts between UNMIL and LRA there is one company with ownership of the building, the Pan African Plaza: That is the Pan African Real Estate Corporation (PAREC) which replaced the dissolved Libyan-Liberian Holding Company. The offices of PAREC are at N/N 7th Street, Sinkor”. And
6) At “PAREC’s 7th Street office, it is forbidden to talk about the company’s activities and its shareholders. Contacted on April 2, 2018, the un-identified manger said, ‘this is top secret, why do you want me to give you my secret? Go and ask your government’”.
From the foregoing we conclude, reasonably, that:
a) Ownership of Pan African Plaza is known to be the Pan African Real Estate Corporation (PAREC) located on 7th Street, Sinkor, Monrovia; that UNMIL contracted to pay annual rent to the Pan African Real Estate Corporation in the amount of US $2.8 million per year since 2006 and that it is known that the LRA is aware of tax delinquency of the Corporation (PAREC) and UNMIL but refuses, neglects or ignores enforcement of the law, citing Geneva Convention regarding UN diplomatic immunity;
b) But diplomatic immunity as provided by the Geneva Convention does not apply to “for-profit” entities or corporations such as PAREC from income, withholding tax liabilities, including employees of diplomatic missions;
c) Disclosure of the identities of the shareholders is a legal requirement, although governed by imposed “contractual confidentiality” for non-disclosure of such identities. Such a contract is in clear violation of Freedom of information Act, especially, in this case in which the Liberian Government is major shareholder in PAREC; and
d) UNMIL says, clearly, that it entertains no objection for PAREC to release the contracted non-disclosure information to the public.
e) That the illegal non-disclosure contract was designed to protect the identities of the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf & company who have been pocketing public resources to the tune of US $34.5 million, including loss of income, withholding and real estate taxes.
The Liberian-Libyan Diplomatic/Economic Connection
The Libyan-Liberian Holding Company (LLHC) in which the two governments hold 50% share each, was financed 100% by the Libyan Government of Colonel Mumar Khadaffi.
In fact, the Libyan Leader was one of the major supporters of the ACDL civil war of Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleeaf. ACDL delegations, including the late Harry Greaves as special representative of Mrs. Sirleaf, travelled to the Libyan Capital, Tripoli, for audience with Colonel Khadaffi. He provided military training in Libya for the NPFL/INPFL fighting forces, arms and ammunitions for the War. But . . .
But (a), After former President Taylor was convicted of war crimes against Humanity and given a prison term of 50 years (an event aided & abetted by the President, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s manipulative efforts) and (b), after the Western states’ “no-fly-zone” over territorial Libya with the murder of the Libyan President who financed the Libyan-Liberian Holding Company, the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf & company saw and availed itself an excellent opportunity to kill and did “kill several birds with one stone”:
1) Announced public support of the Western States’ war, political/economic isolation of and against Colonel Khadaffi and the Libyan nation;
2) Dissolved the 100% Libyan-financed Libyan-Liberian Holding Company (LLHC) and took complete control of its assets, the Pan African Plaza, the 8-stoey building at 1st Street, Sinkor, Monrovia; and
3) Formed the Pan African Real Estate Corporation (PAREC), apparently, owned by Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf & company but governed by non-disclosure (of identities of shareholders) contract, an illegal gag order in violation of the Freedom of information Act