LPRC Managing Director Edwin Snowe Pockets US$1 Million Yearly, Human Rights Group Alarm Over Corruption

By Josephus Moses Gray
Monrovia, Liberia


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
December 2, 2005


An advocate of human rights and transitional justice, Ezekiel Pajibo, Executive Director of the Center for Democratic Empowerment (CEDE), has accused the Managing Director of the Liberian Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC), Edwin M. Snowe, of misapplication of state funds.

Mr. Snowe is among several of former President Charles Taylor’s confidants facing UN travel restrictions.

Some time in 2004, the LPRC boss accused some former officials of the Taylor administration and partisans of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) including the former first Lady, Jewel Howard-Taylor, of plotting against him but recently offered a public apology to those officials.

Mr. Snowe himself is a member of the NPP and former son-in-law to ex-president Taylor. He won as a representative of Montserrado County on an independent ticket.

Addressing a major news conference in Monrovia on Monday on the topic, “Holding entrusted authority Accountable”, Mr. Pajibo said Mr. Snowe’s desire to become Speaker of the National Legislature is indeed a callous disregard for public good.

In a pensive mood, the CEDE boss wondered why should the nation entrust its most important institution to an individual who past and present circumstances are “suspect at best and even criminal at worst.”

According to Mr. Pajibo, the would-be-Speaker presided over a public corporation that publicly justified spending in excess of US$200,000 on a yearly party and awarded himself a salary amount and benefits in the tune of more than US$1 million a year for doing nothing.

He said that Mr. Snowe should show the record of his performances reviews, if it ever happened.

Speaking further, Mr. Pajibo said “yet, the gravest misjudgment would be for the public to sit back supinely and allow this to happen. Our national leadership must be the repository of our values and principles”.

According to him, the values and principles include prudent fiscal management of state resources by entrusted authority, saying that it includes the simple saying that we were taught in Sunday school that “ by the sweat of thou brow thou shall eat bread.”

“We must be able to tell our children that our country’s leaders are their role models and that the new beginning the country is embarking on must be one in which only the exemplary, the upright, the brightest and the best deserve to be in leadership,” Mr. Pajipo noted.

According to the human rights activist, the National Chronicle newspaper in its November 25th edition, quoted the defeated presidential candidate of Congress for Democratic Change George Weah as reportedly endorsing Mr. Snowe’s bid to become Speaker of the First Branch of Government.

The CDC flag-bear who is a high school dropped out during his bid for the Liberian presidency reportedly receives Mr. Snowe’s support.

“I believe that in our republican form of government, the Speaker of the House is the third away from the Presidency”.

He said all the top management of the LPRC including the Managing Director and the Chairman of the Board of Directors were aspirants in the just ended election and they all won with very comfortable margins. “One remarkable feature of the conduct of their campaigns was the generosity of their expenditures.”

According to him, the top management appears to be actively present in booming the real estate sector including the building of compounds and fully furnished apartments, and personal homes while their current assets and life style militate against their legal income.

The CEDE boss said this provides sufficient basis for an investigation to establish the sources of their wealth.

Accordingly to confirmed information, Mr. Snowe has received US$66,720 over the last 12 months prior to the October 11 general elections and has built a US$168,200 house on ELWA road in Paynesville.

His other assets including US$31,100 house on Duport Road, US$30,000 store and apartment on Benson street and US$37,200 apartment in Congo Town and his real estate value stands at US$88,400 and his liabilities to sigma construction, Africa Moters and Twin Brothers is US$35,000.00.

For Mr. Mubutu Vlan Nyenpan, Senator-elect of Sinoe County and DMD for Administration at LPRC has declared to the National Elections Commission (NEC) that over the last 12 months he received US$30,780, while Mr. Richard Blamo Divine, Jr. also declared to NEC that he received from LPRC over the last 12 months US$12,800, and Zoe Emmanuel Pennue got US$30,780, respectively.

In conclusion, Mr. Pajibo said “we have written the Ministry of Justice to authorize a forensic audit of the LPRC and have also written to the ECOWAS Special Representative.

Meanwhile, when Mr. Snowe was contacted by The Perspective via his mobile, he replied by saying that “you write for them so just do what you have to do”.