Liberia: Who Owns the Largest Share in the Controversial CDI, Bill Twehway or Peter Twehway?
MONROVIA – FrontPageAfrica has obtained copies of the Articles of Incorporation of Creative Developers Inc., (CDI) the company believed to have been created by the Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA), Mr. Bill Twehway or his close associates for the sole purpose of awarding the handling/loading service contract at the Port of Buchanan to themselves.
The document in the possession of FrontPageAfrica shows that CDI which was incorporated on July 15, 2020 and signed an MOU with the NPA for the contract less than one month after its incorporation is largely owned by Mr. Peter Twehway, who is believed to be the brother of Mr. Bill Twehway.
Peter Twehway is also the Operations Manager for Global Tracking Management Service, a company managing the Container Tracking Numbers for the NPA. He is assigned at the Port of Buchanan.
The Articles of Incorporation show that Peter Twehway owns 50% shares in the company. The Deputy Comptroller at the NPA, Mr. Christian D. Brownell owns 20% shares, Mr. Sidiki Fofana who had earlier claimed to be the CEO and owner of the company owns 20% while Zarylee M. Gbala, the sister of the embattled Vice Chairman of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission owns 10% shares.
Sources within the NPA had earlier informed FrontPageAfrica (FPA) that Cllr. Kanio Bai-Gbala along with Mr. Bill Twehway, Mr. Brownell and Mr. Fofana, established the company and allegedly used funds from the NPA and purchased a loading machine (966 Loader) for the company and awarded the loading contract at the Port of Buchanan to themselves.
Cllr. Gbala informed FrontPageAfrica that he is not a shareholder of the Creative Developers Inc. (CDI) but stated, “I bought shares in Creative Developers on behalf of my younger sister, Zarylee Gbala upon being invited by my friend Sidiki Fofana who established the company and is the CEO.”
While Sidiki Fofana in a statement asserted that the prior to the existence of the CDI, in the absence of investment capital, he sold valuable personal properties to raise tens of thousands of dollars to enhance the firm’s administrative and operational capacity, and purchased machines needed to hit the ground running.
Fofana: “I was also blessed to form partnership with another Liberian who has been in the business for a long time. He provided additional machines and experience making our operations one of the best in the port history.”
However, the Articles of Incorporation show that Mr. Sidiki owns only 20% share in the company.
FPA Request for Clarity
FrontPageAfrica sent the following questions to the Communications Director of the NPA for comments or clarifications:
I have obtained a copy of CDI Articles of Incorporation
One of the incorporators is Mr. Peter Tweahway
Is he in anyway related to the NPA MD, Mr. Bill Tweahway?
2. Mr. Christian Brownell is also listed as an incorporator
3. The company was incorporated in July 2020 and the contract was awarded in August 2020
Kindly provide clarifications or comments to these.
NPA’s Response (verbatim)
The name of the Managing Director of the NPA is called Bill Twehway and NOT” Bill Twehway ” therefore, he has NO brother called “Peter Twehway”.
We have started for the record, that the MD is NOT an incorporated of CDI.
Also, the Deputy Comptroller of the Port is “Christian Deah Brownell”.
You can contact the CEO of CDI for response in regards to who you refer to as “Christian Brownwel”.
I can confirm for the record that CDI contract was terminated early July of this year for poor performance.
There was a previous contract that was terminated long ago for the same poor performance as we mentioned in our press conference but was misrepresented by your last publication.
We look forward for the facts.
While Mr. Scott now says that CDI’s contract was terminated in July this month, in his press conference on Monday, he had said that CDI’s contract was terminated in 2018 when the company was, in fact, not in existence.
Mr. Malcom Scott told reporters that CDI’s contract was terminated since 2018 due to its failure to meet up with the capacity, logistics and funding to carry out its function at the Port of Buchanan.
He said since the CDI departed the Buchanan Port, another Company, Flaton, is the new company that is operating at the Port of Buchanan after the termination of the contract from Creative Developers Incorporated in 2018.
“We needed to do due diligence that is why prompted the delay in awarding new contract to avoid the previous situation or issues,” he clarified.
He further stated that, “We had to do due diligence for the benefit of the Port and country in general and we did that very well.”
According to him, CDI failed to live up to its mandate to operate at the Buchanan Port.
Why the Company Was Formed
FPA investigation discovered that SINOTRANS, a Chinese company that provided vessel loading services at the port of Buchanan, pullout based on the management of the National Port Authority’s refusal to pay their service fee.
Mr. Twehway was then advised that instead of paying US$8 per cubic meter to a company, the port could earn that money by buying and operating its own machine to perform the service; which would then generate additional revenues for the port.
Mr. Twehway bought the idea; however, instead of purchasing the machine for NPA, he and his cohorts instead hurriedly formed a company (Creative Developers Inc) and on August 20, 2020, the NPA entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the newly formed company for handling services at the port of Buchanan.
CDI, according to the MOU, is responsible for performing log-handling services on behalf of the NPA within the port of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
CDI is also responsible to discharge logs from or load logs to vessels within the Port of Buchanan.
Both CDI and the NPA agreed that for every loading from the pier/log field to the ship, the NPA shall charge the amount of US$8.00 per cubic meter. Out of said amount, the NPA shall remit to the CDI the amount of US$4, no more than seven business days after receipt of the payment.
FPA has in its possession several CDI invoices amounting to hundreds of thousands of United States dollars for service provided.
Several Contracts Awarded
FrontPageAfrica has in its possession several invoices depicting hundreds of thousands of dollars generated by the CDI from services performed at the port of Buchanan – funds that should be deposited into the National Port Authority’s account to augment revenues, instead allegedly being pocketed by Managing Director Tweahway and his cohorts including deputy Co-chair of the LACC, Cllr. Kanio Bai-Gbala, thereby depriving the Liberian people of much needed revenue – in the midst of a deadly pandemic where resources are scarce.
Pieces of invoice in our possession totaling US$500,836.25 for services rendered and some CDI didn’t render from November 2020 to July 2021 depicting monies paid to the CDI. These invoices were billed to ICC, WAFDI, BRILLIANT MAJU, Booming Green and Alpha Logging.
Coming Into Conflict with the Law
While Cllr. Gbala and Mr. Bill Twehway may not be directly listed as shareholders in Creative Developers Inc., their association with the buying of shares and the awarding of contracts bring them into the violation of the Financial Intelligence Regulations of 2012.
The Regulation, among other things, is intended ensure that reasonable steps are taken by Financial Institutions (FIs), and designated non-financial businesses and professions do not knowingly or unwittingly assist in hiding or moving the proceeds of corruption by politically exposed persons (whether as a customer or beneficial owner), their families, and their close associates. Because the risks presented by PEPs will vary by customer, product/service used/offered, country, and industry, identifying, monitoring, and designing controls for these accounts and transactions should be risk-based. (Section 1.2)
The regulation further states that Political Exposed Persons (PEP) are aware that their status as a PEP may facilitate the detection of their illicit behavior. This means that PEPs may attempt to shield their identity, to prevent detection.
Examples of ways in which this is done are:
Use of corporate vehicles (legal entities and legal arrangements) to obscure the beneficial owner; Use of corporate vehicles without valid business reason; Use of intermediaries when this does not match with normal business practices or when this seems to be used to shield identity of PEP; Use of family members or close associates as legal owner. (Appendix 3 A)