NOCAL Must Release full
List of Everyone Who Receive
Exxon ‘Bonus’ Payment
-Amara Konneh uged
Former Finance and development Planning Minister Amara Mohammed Konneh has implored the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) to release to the public the full list of everyone who received bonus payment from the Exxon negotiation.
Global Witness claimed in its latest report that Konneh and other former officials received $35,000 United States dollars each for negotiating ExxonMobil oil deal in Liberia.
The former Finance Minister agreed he received the money but did not solicit it and it is not a bribe.
I did not at any time solicit or receive money or favor from corporations or individuals seeking relationship with the Government of Liberia, he said.
“The Board of Directors of NOCAL decided it would be fitting to organize a bonus package for all of those who worked hard and long to pull off this deal.”
Konneh’s statement in full:
On March 29, 2018, Global Witness released a report titled Exxon Mobil Liberia March 2018 in which my name is mentioned as having received a bonus of US$ 35,000 along with other former officials of the Government of Liberia after the successful conclusion of the Production Sharing Contract for Block 13 between the Government of Liberia through the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) and Exxon Mobil in 2013.
Here are the facts, as Minister of Finance and Development Planning which made me a member of the Board of NOCAL, I was effectively involved in the negotiation efforts to bring in ExxonMobil, America’s largest oil company, into Liberia’s promising oil basin as a means of boosting its outlook and ultimately attracting other supermajors to participate in the development of the country’s hydrocarbon resources.
After many months of intense negotiations, we concluded a landmark deal that would see Liberia receive a non- refundable signature bonus of $50 million United States Dollar, a first for a non-oil producing country. Following this major milestone, the Board of Directors of NOCAL decided it would be fitting to organize a bonus package for all of those who worked hard and long to pull off this deal, which included, as supported by Global Witness in their report, the relevant line ministries and agencies of the government and the entire staff of National Oil Company of Liberia. I call on NOCAL to release to the public the full list of everyone who received bonus payment from the Exxon negotiation.
Additionally, Global Witness is fully aware that everyone knew the circumstances surrounding Block 13 before the Canadian Overseas Petroleum Limited (COPL) acquired it and then subsequently sold it to Exxon Mobil.
The records are there, and the transactions were concluded in the public and reviewed by top US lawyers to ensure that the transaction did not violate the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Let me state here categorically that while I accepted the bonus through an official NOCAL check as did all others, I, Amara M. Konneh, as Minister of Finance and Development Planning at the time, did not solicit or request a bonus or any other payment for the work that I did for the benefit of my country’s oil burgeoning hydrocarbon program.
Furthermore, I served as Minister of Finance from February 2013 to April 2016 and during and after my term of service, I did not at any time solicit or receive money or favor from corporations or individuals seeking relationship with the Government of Liberia. Global Witness further stated in the report that I was contacted to respond to their query but refused to do so. I would like to state categorically that at no point in time have I ever received a call or communication in any other manner from GW to respond to issues raised in their report relating to me. I am, as always, willing to respond to queries relating to issues arising during my time of service with the Government of Liberia.
Let me conclude that we remain proud of the work we did for our country by ensuring that the it benefited from US$50 million as a result of that transaction. That is by far the largest amount that Liberia ever received for any of its offshore blocks. For Global Witness to suggest that a US$35,000 bonus paid to each member of the negotiating team for ensuring that Liberia got US$50 million from the transaction is a bribe on a US$120 million deal is an insult to the reputation and integrity of the Liberian officials. In fact, global best practice would suggest that when employees achieve great results, bonus is a way of appreciating and incentivizing them. When has this become a crime to pay and receive bonus?