By Leroy M. Sonpon, III
(From left): Minister of Commerce, Prof Wilson K Tarpeh; LPRC Managing Director, Marie Urey-Coleman; and LPRC’s Deputy Director General for Operations, Bobby Brown
— According to House Specialized Committee’s preliminary report on gas shortage
The House’s Specialized Committee, mandated to validate whether or not “sufficient” gasoline is in the country for the month of February, has revealed that Mrs. Marie Urey-Coleman, the Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) has lied under oath and that, there is no sufficient gas in country as earlier testified to members of the House of Representatives, on Tuesday, February 4. The House’s 21-person Specialized Committee, reported on Thursday, February 13 — the 10th Day Sitting, that it has preliminarily observed that the LPRC boss’ statement is quite contrary to what she insisted that there is enough gasoline in the country for the month of February.
The preliminary report, under the signature of the Acting Chairman of the Specialized Committee, Nimba County District #1 Representative Jeremiah Koung, said Mrs. Urey-Coleman requested for additional one week to investigate the causes of the gasoline shortage to include all Petroleum Importers.
The Specialized Committee report sparked mixed reactions with some members of the House of Representatives, including Representatives Munah Pelham Youngblood, Francis Dopoh, P. Mike Jurry, Albert Hills, and Moima Briggs-Mensah arguing that the LPRC Managing should have been summoned under contempt for “lying under oath” to the House of Representatives, concerning the sufficiency of gasoline in the country.
“Based on the fact that members of the Executive appear before us and took an oath, it’s about time that Executive takes us seriously… they have to take us serious because this place is not a place of joke. You can tell us that you have gasoline, then the august body mandate a specialized committee and the committee comes to tell us what they said is contrary. We are the last group of people you should come and tell us fallacy. We should deal with the lies, rather than to discuss additional time,” Rep. Youngblood said.
Maryland County District #1 Representative P. Mike Jurry said the continued shortage of the gasoline in the country has increased hardship in the country and therefore the LPRC boss should be summoned instead, based on the preliminary report, rather than giving the committee an additional one week to investigate the causes.
In addition, Montserrado County District #8 Representative Acarous M. Gray termed the shortage of the gasoline as a “toxic economic sabotage” and demanded that the LPRC Managing Director, the Minister of Commerce as well as the Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA) and the management team of APM Terminals Liberia appear either on Saturday or Monday and then also that the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the House’s chairperson on Executive to meet the President to have a “discussion on the gas shortage.”
Grand Bassa County District #2 Representative Mary Karwor suggested that President George M. Weah should visit the LPRC to get an on-site report, which will also show his seriousness to solve the gas shortage problem.
House Speaker Bhofal Chambers seized the motion proffered by Rep. Haji Fofana because of what he termed as tons of repeated amendments on the summoning of bosses of LPRC, NPA, APM Terminals and the Ministry of Commerce. A new motion was proffered by Rep. Franklin Nyumalin on giving the Specialized Committee one week to investigate the causes of the gasoline shortage.
It may be recalled Mrs. Urey-Coleman told members of the Lower House that the current shortage of gasoline across the country is due to the inability of ‘large vessels’ to berth at the Free Port of Monrovia but rather at high tides (high seas), a claim that APM Terminal has denied. She told the House that there is enough gasoline in the country for the February, and would let the House of Representatives to investigate their assertions. Mrs. Coleman was accompanied by Mr. Bobby Brown, LPRC’s Deputy Director-General for Operations and the Minister of Commerce, Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh.
Credit to Daily Observer.