Weah Constitutes Committee to Investigate Global Witness Oil Corruption Report

MONROVIA, Montserrado – Nearly six weeks after Justice Minister Musa Dean recused himself, President George Weah has constituted a committee to investigate the Global Witness oil corruption report.

Global Witness, a UK-based corruption watch group, issued its recent report on Liberia alleging that the acquisition of Liberia’s 13th oil block by U.S. oil giant Exxon in 2013 was a tainted deal that benefitted former government officials.

The report also unearthed unusual large payments of up to US$35,000 that were made each to some officials who worked in the government when the concession agreement was passed.

According to a Ministry of Information press release, the government’s attention was drawn to the report based on the accusations of bribery and misused of power it made, thus leading Weah to instruct the justice minister to lead an investigation into the allegations.

Dean, however, recused himself from the investigation to ensure independence. He said the decision to recuse himself was because he served as president and CEO of the National Oil Company of Liberia between 2004 and January 2006.

According a release issued by the Executive Mansion on Tuesday, those appointed to serve on the Special Presidential Committee are Ndubuisi Nwabudike as chairperson, Pearl Brown Bull, C. Alexander Zoe, Joseph Gardea Johnson, and Frances Greeves.

The release disclosed that the committee has two weeks to submit initial reports of its findings and make recommendations, accordingly.

“All those directly or indirectly named in the Global Witness report are strongly advised to make themselves available and to cooperate with the Committee,” it noted.

The release also announced that public and private institutions, organizations and individuals who may have information relevant to the investigations are also encouraged to make them available to the committee.

Featured photo courtesy of Zeze Ballah

Gbatemah Senah

Gbatemah is currently a senior student at the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. In 2017, Senah won three Press Union of Liberia awards: Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Land Rights Reporter of the Year.

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