LPRC GEMAP Expert Withdrawn - As Oil Deal Backfires

By: Lewis K. Glay



Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted November 11, 2006


Latest information reaching The FORUM has revealed that the Governance Economic Management Assistance Program (GEMAP) expert assigned at the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company, John Lumburg, has been withdrawn.

According to classified hints, Mr. Lumburg whose input LPRC Managing Director Harry Greaves is said to have significantly relied on for transparency and accountability at the entity, is said to have been withdrawn on two counts.

The primary cause of his withdrawal is allegedly being attributed to the manner in which he facilitated the handling of the backfired “oil deal” between Liberia and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The second reason why Mr. Lumburg has reportedly left Liberia is his alleged involvement in illegal “child adoption” in the country; something our source said has been suppressed not to get to the public for fear of its negative impact on the expert’s character.

Mr. Lumburg is said to have left Liberia 28 October 2006, while another GEMAP expert, who is reportedly assigned at the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) is said to be earmarked to replace him (Lumburg).

When the Public Affairs Department of LPRC was contacted last Friday for clarification, the PRO only identified as Jones, said the department has not been informed on the issue but noted that there were series of consultations taking place following which management would be informing the public today (Tuesday).

When the “oil deal” was discovered by Foundation for Human Rights and Democracy (FORHD) and published same in its magazine followed by The New Democrat publication last October, LPRC Managing Director Harry Greaves dispelled the claims surrounding the deal, noting that it was not a “free gift from Nigeria.”

Mr. Greaves at the time said the deal was a crude oil contract between the LPRC and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) under which agreement 10,000 barrels would have been allocated to the LPRC by NNPC daily.

The contract, according to him, was capital intensive which LPRC could hardly underwrite as such, it was sold to a large shipping company based in Geneva, Addy, which he claimed has the capacity to pay for the oil in the amount of US one million dollars to NNPC.

Mr. Greaves told journalists during his clarification that Addy would pay LPRC a “little profit” which he could not disclose as to how much in term of cash.

Though Mr. Greaves said the transaction has been a company-to-company deal that has nothing to do with government-to-government involvement, he said President Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf requested the Nigerian Government for the allocation of 30,000 barrels of crude oil to Liberia daily of which 10,000 barrels were approved for daily transaction for a period of one year.

Before the deal backfired last October, The FORUM was hinted that this was a donation from the Nigerian Government during the second official visit of President Sirleaf to the Federal Republic of Nigeria in a bid to assist Liberia that has come out of terrible civil war to enhance its reconstruction process.
The President was reportedly engaged on this deal in the United States during one of her visits there prior to FORHD’s report following which the Liberian media joined the search to find out the truth of the deal.
LPRC boss Greaves and Mr. Dew Mason, The FORUM was told, had been the custodians of the oil saga fund fetch as evidenced by Mr. Greaves constant visits to Nigeria to dispose off the product to their business interest.

Many Liberians especially critics of the government have maintained their skepticism as to why information regarding the crude oil deal remained unpublicized until the media got involved before clarifications from the LPRC were made.

© 2006: This article is copyrighted by the Forum newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved. Forum can reached at: Forum@theperspective.org