Monday, July 26, 2010

Committee Making Progress in Unraveling Bogus Concession Deal

07/26/2010 - Update on the Investigation into the Trade of Carbon Credits involving a UK Company, Carbon Harvesting Corporation and the Forestry Development Authority

Source: FrontPage Africa

Monrovia –

In June 2010 the President of the Republic of Liberia, her Excellency Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf set up a three-member Committee to investigate a proposed Carbon Concession agreement between a UK Company, Carbon Harvesting Corporation, initiated and the Forestry Development Authority. The committee members include Ms. Rose Stryker of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. William N. Massaquoi, a local Development Expert and myself, Cllr. T. Negbalee Warner as Chair.

The President’s communication to the Committee suggested that certain procedural requirements relative to the granting of such concession might not have been followed. For example, the proposal was recommended to the Inter-ministerial committee without any open competitive bidding process. The President expressed concern that the FDA and other relevant government agencies may have violated the PPCC Act.

The Committee was therefore mandated to investigate this issue with a particular emphasis on:

Determining whether specific procedures of the PPCC Act were duly followed in the conduct of this concession agreement.

Determining the basis upon which the deal was structured and the reasons for single sourcing this proposed concession to Carbon Harvesting Corporation.

Determining whether any act of impropriety, such as corruption, conflict of Interest; bribery or any form of irregular payment was made directly or indirectly to any official of FDA, members of the inter-ministerial concessions committee, the Board of Directors of FDA or any official of Government.

Accordingly, the committee has since started a rigorous review of all procedures and circumstances surrounding the awarding of the proposed Carbon Credit Concession, including allegations of bribery and other improprieties.

I am pleased to report that since the committee started its work, we have made tremendous progress. Specifically, the committee has achieved the following results:

The committee has established contacts with nearly all persons involved with the award and negotiation of the proposed Concession;

The Committee has interviewed several individuals within various government institutions including the Forestry Development Authority, the Liberian Senate, the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC), the National Investment Commission (NIC), and other persons;

The committee has interviewed several ex-officials of the FDA including the former GEMAP Comptroller that worked with FDA spanning the period during which this concession negotiation was taking place.

The committee has also interviewed or received information and documents from several local and international civil society organizations , which has strengthened the committee’s understanding of the Carbon industry and the settings within which the subject Concession was awarded and negotiated.

The Committee wants to assure the public that it is making steady progress in unraveling this case. But the committee would also like to inform the public that due to the complicated and complex nature of this case, there are still some serious challenges that the committee has to overcome. For example, certain key individuals implicated in this deal, who apparently hold significant information, are currently out of the country. The committed has established contacts with these key individuals and is making all efforts to receive their statement and have same considered and reflected in its final report. Certainly, this effort cannot be for an indefinite period.

The Committee believes that much work has been done, and that its investigation is likely to be concluded by the end of August 2010.

Finally, the committee regrets that it is not in the position to relate any specific details of this ongoing investigation but assures the public that as soon as the investigation is complete a full and comprehensive report will be given to the Public.

The Committee members join me in thanking the President and the Liberian people for reposing this confidence in us, and we hope we can justify this confidence by conducting a fair and an impartial investigation.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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