House To Probe Alleged Petroleum Law Malpractice
By Wilfred Gortor
MONROVIA, December 8 (LINA) - The House of Representatives has mandated its Committee on Claims and Petition to probe a complaint of alleged petroleum law malpractice as contained in a petition signed by six members of the House.
The petitioners led by Maryland County Representative James Biney contended that they strongly reject the printed version of the Petroleum Law of Liberia on grounds that it contradicts the law passed by the National Legislature.
The petition, which was presented to the House plenary on Thursday, could not attract a motion to necessitate a speedy probe as the legislature was on the verge of climaxing its extraordinary session.
However, the House instructed its committee to investigate and report to the body in February 2017.
In the seven-count petition also signed by Representatives Acarous Gray, Abraham V. Corneh, Moses Y. Kollie, Adam Bill Corneh and Bhofal Chambers, the legislators claimed that the petroleum law printed on October 10 was doctored and does not represent what the legislature passed into law.
They alleged that several portions of the original law passed were deleted and portions less protective of Liberia's interest were discovered in the printed version.
According to the lawmakers, portion of Article 27 of the law passed by the legislature which deals extensively with the Gas sector, were deleted in the printed version.
Count four of the petition pinpointed that Article 27 as passed by the legislature clearly provides that the government of Liberia owns the Gas and not the Oil companies with drilling contracts from government.
It added: "The printed version removed the clarity and replaced it with a version that does not clearly state that the Gas from the drilling is owned by the Liberian government and leaves what happens to the Gas at the discretion of the company.”
Among other allegations, the petition states that Article 36, as per the version of the law passed, provides that the citizen participation fund shall be managed by a committee made up of the legislature, the National Oil Company of Liberia, Liberia Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative and Civil Society.
"The version printed provides that the citizen participation fund shall be managed by an International Trust Company selected by the executive," the petition stated.