Senators Fuss Over NOCAL
It seems that efforts to reform the National Oil Company of Liberia in its efficient and transparent handling of the oil sector of Liberia is being stifled by unscrupulous individuals in society bent on having business as usual, a move that has generated serious outburst in the Liberian Senate.
The Chairman of the Senate Standing Statutory Committee on Lands, Mines, Energy, and Natural Resources Thursday complained that the report submitted to plenary through the Senate Secretariat on the reformation process of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) was tempered with.
Reading the document in plenary, the Secretary of the Senate Nabolor Singbe said NOCAL should not serve as a policy making body for the oil sector, but rather it should play a supervisory role.
The report also called for an inter-ministerial committee to serve as the policy making body for the sector and recommended that NOCAL should serve as secretary to that inter-ministerial committee.
However, in the process of reading the report, former Senate Pro-tempore Cletus Wotorson objected, noting that the report, being read by Singbe, was quite different from the previous one approved by the committee on reformation.
The entire session came to a standstill with argument about the alleged tempering of the report. But Secretary Singbe insisted that his office does not have the authority to change any report as submitted by members of the Senate, something he said is tantamount to dismissal and possible prosecution under the law.
It is not yet clear who really tempered with the report, but members of that committee cried foul that the original document as was signed, approved and subsequently submitted to the secretariat has been altered specifically change of diction and rewriting of some sentences.
Senator Wotorson described the report read in plenary as completely different from what had been originally forwarded to the secretariat. The Senate Secretary would have to provide clarification on the matter, which seems to raise serious integrity question at the Upper House of the Liberian Legislature.
Grand Gedeh County Senator Isaac Nyenabo subsequently requested that the report be sent back to the secretariat and its original copy be placed on the agenda before plenary could make any further decision. Following minutes of uncontrollable argument, Senate President Joseph Boakai calmed the situation.
However, River-Gee County Senior Senator Fredrick Cheru moved that the committee on the reform process withdrawn the report read and resubmit the original copy for discussion during their next session.
About four months ago, the Senate instructed its committee on Lands, Mines, Energy and Natural Resources to spearhead the reformation process of the nation’s oil regulatory body, NOCAL.