Liberia: House Summons Ministers Musah Dean, Wilson Tarpeh & LRA’s Thomas Nah over US$24.1M Road Fund Arrears
Monrovia – The House of Representatives has summoned Justice Minister Cllr. Musah Dean, Commerce Minister Wilson Tarpeh along with the Commissioner General of Liberia Revenue Authority to explain why Petroleum importers have reneged on the payment of their road fund tax.
Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh, [email protected]
The House’s decision follows a report by its Committee on Public Works and Rural Development on national road fund arrears payment.
In its report, the Committee revealed that major petroleum importers in Liberia including Cornex, Srimex, Nelson Petroleum, West Oil Investment, Kailondo Petroleum, Petro Trade, Aminata & Son and the state-owned Liberia Petroleum & Refining Company owe government US$24,157,227 in road fund tax.
Although, the Committee, headed by Rep. Matthew Joe (Grand Bassa County District #3), among other things called for the petroleum importers to be reminded twice about the payment of their arrears before taking any actions against them, the House’s plenary voted in favor of a motion filed by Rep. Clarence Massaquoi (Lofa County District #3) to invite the Ministers of Justice, Commerce and the LRA and LPRC bosses to appear next sitting to state why these importers have not lived up to their commitments.
Prior to proffering his motion, Rep. Massaquoi noted that there was no need to give the petroleum importers a two-time reminder as they have already committed to pay the fund.
The Road Fund Act, which was passed in 2016 by the National Legislature, sets aside from taxes collected from the sale of petroleum products and cars plying major routes for the construction and maintenance of road across Liberia.
The payment of the fund dominated the impeachment proceedings of former Supreme Court Justice Kabineh Ja’neh after he was found guilty by the Senate on the road fund case, one of four counts levied against him by the House of Representatives.
The House of Representatives said Justice Ja’neh had exercised an “abuse of discretion for granting a Writ of Prohibition” while serving as Justice in Chambers in the Road Fund Case which denied the government of collecting taxes in the tune of US$27 million.