13 October Press Briefing

Monday, 13th October 2008
Monrovia, Liberia - Members of the Press:

Last week, the President instituted a number of measures at the Liberia Electricity Corporation to address some financial and other administrative issues at the Corporation.  The measures including the suspension of the Deputy Managing Director for Administration, Mr. Joe Giddens, and the Acting Deputy Managing Director for Operations, Mr. Alfred Jallah, also included the dissolution of the Board of Directors of the LEC.

Reports had it that the President had dismissed the Board members for financial malpractices. That actual story is that the Board was dissolved by the President and its members removed for failing to exercise effective oversight responsibility over operations at the LEC, a situation which resulted in the misapplication of the Revenue Accounts by the management of the Corporation. The amount in question is in the tune of nearly a quarter of a million dollars, covering a six-month period between December 1, 2007 and May 23, 2008. The revenue accounts are those into which ALL payments of electricity bills are deposited, in keeping with an understanding reached with partners supporting the countryís Emergency Power Program, withdrawals from the account were made for operations and maintenance costs like fuel and spare parts.  This was not the case.  Hence, the President had to dissolve the LEC Board and withdraw its non-statutory members.   Those affected are the Boardís Chairman, Ian Yhap; Madam Susannah Vaye; Dr. Thomas Koon; and Mr. Nyan Twayan. And for the sake of emphasis, let me repeat that these non-statutory Board members of the LEC were removed for their failure to carry out oversight responsibility of the activities of the management of the LEC, and not for financial malpractices as has been reported in the local media.

Other members of the Board serving in statutory capacity have received separate warnings from the President for their failure to exercise the authority for which they serve as members of the Board.  The statutory members are the Ministries of Finance, Justice and Labor. 

You may also recall that two officials of the LEC were also suspended for their inability to account for more than 50 thousand gallons of fuel, amounting to more than USD$275,000. Internal investigations have begun, and whatever action is recommended to the President at end of the investigations will be carried out.  The two suspended officials are Mr. Joe Giddens, the Deputy Managing Director for Administration, and Mr. Alfred Jallah, the Acting Deputy Managing Director for Operations.

We have an announcement which we hope will be taken in good faith.  Beginning now, our office will offer USD$10 in scratch cards or its equivalent to any reporter who calls our office for clarification of any news related issue involving the Executive Mansion.  We encourage Executive Mansion reporters in particular to take advantage of the offer.  The measure, we believe, will help reporters to report more accurately and objectively about events emanating from the Mansion.