LPP Wants LEC Publish Loan Expenditures -Urges US Ambassador to Prod LEC into Compliance

The US Ambassador to Liberia, Michael A. McCarthy, recently toured facilities of the Liberia Electricity Corporation at Bushrod Island to ascertain conditions at the nation’s sole public electricity provider. Following his tour, Ambassador McCarthy lamented the colossal loss of state revenue to power theft, an act that also deprives Liberia from realizing its full electricity generation capacity. In the wake of the US Ambassador’s call on the government and people of Liberia to stop power theft in its tracks, the Liberian People’s Party (LPP) of Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe is calling on the US Government to encourage the LEC to publicize the expenditures of the loans it received from the country’s development partners.

Making its position known to the US government through a letter, a copy of which is in the possession of this paper, the LPP said it believes when Liberians have the opportunity to review the Corporation’s financial statements, they will fully understand the perennial issue of “Power Theft” the service provider faces, which the Ambassador asked to be halted.

“Also, the population will be able to see vividly and compare the vice to the positive narratives the Millennium Challenge Account that managed the LEC from 2015 to 2021 gave whereas there was the issue of “Power Theft” the MCA failed to comment on than mentioning it accomplished many things including improving reliability of electricity supply more than doubled the number of homes with electricity access; Mount Coffee enabling LEC to expand more reliable and affordable power supply to more than 82,000 homes, businesses, and other entities, compared to a little over 34,000; LEC becoming a viable public utility that achieved success in network reliability, availability of power-plants, collection efficiency, new customer connection, and improved customer service,” the letter to Ambassador McCarthy stated.

The LPP further enjoined the US government to implore the LEC to publish schedules of breakdown of the expenditure of the monies it received from Liberia’s development partners, to include USD$314M loan from the International Development Association; USD$103M from the African Development Bank; LEC’s portion of the USD$257M from the Millennium Challenge Corporation; Government of Liberia subsidies; and at least three of the most recent LEC audited financial statements of 2013 to 2020.

“Your Excellency, LEC’s publication of its financial statements the LPP calls for would be in accordance with Section 1.1.12 of the 2010 Freedom of Information Act providing information on such expenditures as the subsidies Government allocated in the National Budget covering 2017/2018 through 2022/2023 respectively.

“The LEC financial statements the LPP demands be published, would explain the Agreements between LEC and the Interconnection Transmission Line running from Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea (TRANSCO CLSG) – www.mcc.gov and thereby afford the public the opportunity to see why a Section of the Agreements stipulates “…that, in the event that TRANSCO CLSG’s revenues fall short of covering the project’s debt service obligations, the four governments, including Liberia, will be responsible for making up revenue shortfall.

“Your Excellency, LPP knows that the LEC has some information on its financial transactions included in the National Budgetary documents and on its website, but the information omitted cash balances; amount of money customers owed LEC; amount of money LEC is indebted to suppliers; notes to the financial statements; etc. LPP visited its website www.lecliberia.com and read information on “Gas Pipe Contractors, Utility Cost, Electricity Prices, Electricity Suppliers, Customer Service, [did] not mention schedules and breakdowns of the USD $257M appropriated for the Corporation, and the management fees between MCA and the Government of Liberia.

“Liberians might get information or clarity on issues if they read and compare financial statements of LEC prepared by previous and current managers. For instance, what factors affected profits/ (losses)? Was it power theft, or other issues, including salaries, fees, etc.? Or what factors increased salary from USD $5M in 2018/19 to USD $9M in 2019/20 as detailed in the 2019/20 National Budget? Did the decision by the Managing Director of the National Ports Authority, Mr. Bill Twehway to increase the number of employees at the NPA play a role in the decision of LEC to increase salaries in 2019/20?

Mr. Twehway stated that increasing NPA’s number of employees from 400 to 2,400 were efforts on the part of President George Manneh Weah’s administration to implement the Pro-Poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity as was quoted by a Liberian media.

“Your Excellency, LPP heartily thank you in advance for encouraging the LEC to publish schedules of expenditures of loans and its financial statements for public consumption,” the LPP letter to Ambassador McCarthy ended.

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