New Economic Sabotage Case Indicts Several Ex-Officials

first_imgFormer Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LRPC) Managing Director, Mr. T. Nelson Williams and ex-Commence Minister Miatta Beysolow are among several individuals indicted in a fraud scheme that allegedly deprived government of millions of United States dollars during the sale and distribution of the Japanese oil grant valued at US$13,083, 350 (the equivalent of one billion, one hundred million Japanese Yen) donated by the Japanese Government.The scheme involved 15,000 metric tons of petroleum products that were intended to help government in its economic and social development efforts, which prosecution put the total amount collected from the sale as up to US$5,764, 110.84.The products were donated under oil grant arrangement with a provision which was conveyed in an exchange of notes dated March 8, 2011, between the governments of Japan and Liberia.Mr. Steve Fiahn, former Director, Division of Price Analysis and Marketing at the Ministry of Commence (MOC), as well as, Mr. Aaron J. Wheagar, Deputy Manager for Operations and implementing person for the Japanese oil grant at the LPRC, and the Aminata & Sons Incorporated through its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr. Siaka Turay, were others also charged in the indictment by the Grand Jury for Montserrado County.The nine counts against the five defendants include economic sabotage, misapplication of entrusted property, criminal conspiracy and facilitation, and violation of the required Public Procurement Concession and Commission (PPCC) procedures and processes.However, one of the defendants, Aaron J. Wheagar, has been arrested and detained at the Monrovia Central Prison for his failure to secure a bond, while the other defendants are still at large.Lawyers representing the defendants were seen yesterday at the Temple of Justice trying to secure a single bond for all of the defendants to prevent the others from being arrested and detained.The indictment alleges that in August 2011, the defendants approved and implemented the determination and set up a fraudulent concessionary price of US$687.40 per metric ton for the monetization of the Japanese oil grant.The actual quantity of metric tons of the grant petroleum products, the document claims, should have been 12,404,040, which the defendants should have used to determine and set up the concessionary price to be US$831,811.24 for the sale and distribution of the products.But the defendants set up a fraudulent concessionary price of US$687.41 per metric ton, which they allegedly used in the monetization of the oil grant.“The defendants deprived the government of the amount of US$1,806, 811.14, which is the difference between the amounts of US$10,300, 988.14 that should have been deposited in the grant at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL),” court records claim.The defendants reportedly deposited the actual amount of US$8, 504, 177.00, at the CBL. “The defendants in their criminal efforts and schemes exercised unauthorized control over the difference thereby converting same to their use and benefits,” the indictment added.The Ministry of Commence, the document said, being the custodian of the oil grant and with responsibility to ensure the distribution and sale of the products, executed a scheme between the LPRC, MOC and Aminata & Sons without due regard to the PPCC bidding process.“They created and provided the opportunity for individuals and or business entities to exploit and abuse the distribution and sale of the oil grant. They also acted as individuals with criminal motive through a conspiracy scheme,” the indictment claims, adding “they are abusive and unmindful of their functionary duties to the government.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Troubling revelations

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake Federal law specifically allows for the president to act whenever he deems it necessary and allows up to 72 hours to get retroactive approval from a special court that rarely turns down administration requests. President George W. Bush acknowledged he approved of circumventing the court, and defended his conduct as the proper use of presidential power. He said the spying – which was periodically reviewed by a small circle of his aides – was a vital tool for national security and was only used on those with links to al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations. Bush may well be correct that the spying is necessary in the fight against terror, and even that it holds up to legal and constitutional scrutiny. But his explanation of why he didn’t follow well-established procedures is less than compelling. He has left himself and his administration open to criticism and fueled concerns raised by his opponents that the executive branch is overstepping its authority, brushing aside a system of checks and balances and undermining democracy itself. The Senate will soon hold hearings on the matter, and various aspects of the Bush administration’s conduct will be under attack. If more people become skeptical of the government’s intentions, then the war effort will be undermined. In the wake of the security-shattering terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, terrified Americans willingly, even gladly, conceded some of their privacy rights to help fight terrorism. Air travelers submitted to long lines and numerous inconveniences with little complaint. The people also, for the most part, supported the reallocation of billions of federal funds to fight domestic terrorism and backed the Patriot Act, which significantly increased the government’s ability to investigate – and prevent – terrorists from committing more atrocities on American soil. If that’s what it takes to keep the country safe, then so be it. But the revelations in recent days that the executive branch has been authorizing the National Security Agency to conduct secret wiretappings of Americans, sidestepping procedures set up expressly for the purpose of providing proper oversight, is unsettling. All this was unnecessary since there is every reasonable expectation that the activities authorized by the president could have been carried out within the boundaries of existing law. And if not, the American people and Congress surely would have backed any necessary changes in the law in the wake of 9-11. The government must have the tools to fight against terrorism. But it can’t be at the expense of our country’s fundamental values. By sidestepping the safeguards provided by the U.S. Constitution and federal law, the administration may have done more harm than good.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more