UL Students Lash at Pres. Sirleaf

Friday, 30 March 2012 01:07 Edwin G. Genoway, Jr

Students of the University of Liberia Student Union (ULSU) have criticized President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for what they termed as nepotism in her government accusing her of appointing immediate family members and children to high positions in government.
The students at a news conference named some of the president relatives and children in government as Robert Sirleaf of NOCAL, Fumba Sirleaf , National Security Agency (NSA), Charles Sirleaf of the Central Bank of Liberia and Varney Sirleaf of the Ministry of Internal Affair.
They further stated that there are other relatives of the president’s late husband occupying key positions in government.

Addressing the news conference Thursday, ULSU president Johnny White said president Sirleaf by this act is no different today from other leaders she criticized in the past for similar actions, adding that nepotism has nothing to do with qualification.

The students’ statement is in direct response to president Sirleaf’s rebuke during this year’s maiden conversation with the president at which time she maintained that her son Robert Sirleaf’s appointment as chairman of the Board of directors of the National Oil Company of Liberia or NOCAL was based on his qualification. But the students said the president’s explanation was intended to baffle the real and hard issues.

Mr. White defined nepotism as, preferential treatment; discrimination; partiality; favoritism; and biasness which were vivid in her appointments or more specifically giving out opportunities based on kinship and family line. The students further reemphasized their concerns raised in a communication to the National Legislature saying there are grave and troubling issues surrounding NOCAL.

The students quoted  the 2006 to 2008 audit conducted on NOCAL by GAC and the Global Witness Report published in 2011 on NOCAL, saying the procedure of the ratification and awarding of contracts to various Oil Companies were marked by fraud and collaborative thievery; amongst the Officials of NOCAL, Legislators and staffers of the 52nd National Legislature.

The report also stated that the passage of contracts to individual oil companies was in noncompliance with the New Petroleum Law of Liberia and the PPCC Law. The ULSU president said they were worried over the lack of understanding by the Liberian people about the state of operations of NOCAL since 2008.

It can be recalled that since 2008 up to date, NOCAL, as a major asset of Liberia, the regulator of oil activities as well as the representation of Liberia’s interest in every oil contracts in Liberia, has not been audited.

Against these backdrops, the Student Union calls on the National Legislature to immediately mandate the GAC to commission a full scale audit from 2008 to present on NOCAL. He said this audit will inform the vast majority of Liberians the workings of NOCAL since 2008.

“It will also gives us an insight as to how NOCAL has operated in relations to the Act establishing the entity, the New Petroleum Law, the PPCC Law among others, the financial status and operation of the company and the salaries, benefits, and other financial interactions of all those at the Oil institution,” he noted.

ULSU also applauds the decision of the National Legislature  to halt operations on some Oil blocks but wishes to further call on the Legislature to put an immediate halt to the both onshore and offshore drilling and launch a full scale investigation into the 2006 to 2008 GAC’  audit conducted on NOCAL.

This investigation the students said will bring to book corrupt individuals and ensure the compliance of all oil contracts with the equity and production sharing contract as per the New Petroleum Law of Liberia.


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