|Back To Archives|
|Ellen Halts LPRC- Zakhem Deal|
|Published on June 30, 2009||Email To Friend Print Version
The Liberian Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC’s) deal with Zakhem International Construction, Ltd has suffered yet another hold up, this time by President Ellen Johnson.
Members of the House of Representatives are currently investigating the agreement, and have cited the LPRC Managing Director Harry Greaves at least twice over what they call a ‘shady’ deal.
They contend that the deal was not in the interest of the country and that it did not follow the requisite procedures of bidding, among others.
Meantime, the Legislature’s argument gained another impetus yesterday when President Sirleaf ordered a halt and called for immediate probe into the deal, a decision that will generate another public debate since the Legislature is also probing the issue.
A five-man Independent Technical Committee has been constituted to review whether the contract was awarded in accordance with applicable laws of Liberia, and whether it reflected the principles of accountability, transparency and fairness as stipulated in the Public Procurement & Concessions Act of 2005 as well as other statues, Press Secretary Cyrus Badio said yesterday.
The much talked-about contract between the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company and the Zakhem International Construction, Ltd is intended for the expansion project of the LPRC’s product storage terminal rehabilitation and expansion project.
A five-man Independent Technical Committee has been constituted to review whether the contract was awarded in accordance with applicable laws of Liberia, and whether it reflected the principles of accountability, transparency and fairness as stipulated in the Public Procurement & Concessions Act of 2005 as well as other statues. Of equal importance to the President is whether there is value for money in the US$24.3 million contract.
The Committee, chaired by former Chief Justice, Cllr. Henry Reed Cooper, has already begun its work and is to submit its findings to the Cabinet in 6 weeks, commencing June 18, 2009, while the House committee probing the LPRC saga is expected to submit its findings to plenary in about a week, credible legislative sources told this paper yesterday
Other members of the presidential committee are Alex Cuffy; Matthew M. Clarke; Anthony M. Autride and Aloysius T. Jappah, Badio added.
Responding to questions from reporters, Mr. Badio said the President decision in no way interfere with the work of the House of Representatives.
He argued that both the Executive (the President) and the Legislature (House of Representatives) are exercising their oversight responsibilities; he refused to comment on what would occur if the presidential committee’s report differed with the Legislature which has been digging into the deal more than a month ago. Badio indicated that the question was imaginary.
Greaves and the Lawmakers have been at loggerheads over the deal with the MD defending the contract. He o9nitially said he was not answerable the lawmaker over the deal and took the issue to the Supreme Court for intervention, but withdrew the case in 24 hours.
The House of Representatives appear is furious over why the LPRC Managing Director cancelled an initial US$12m with MEG (another company) in favor of ZAKHEM for US$24m.