Liberia: ‘I Do Not Understand,’ Ex-LPRC Boss Writes GAC

Former LPRC Managing Director T. Nelson Williams

Monrovia – Former Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company T. Nelson Williams has sought response from the General Auditing Agency regarding a recent audit report that links him to financial improprieties.

In a FrontPage Africa report, citing a GAC audit report, disclosed that at least US$20 million and more cannot be accounted for by the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC) and the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) under the leadership of former managing director T. Nelson Williams and former Minister Lewis G. Brown respectively.

According to the report, the GAC audit on LPRC for the financial years 2010 to 2014 and MICAT for the fiscal years 2012/2013 to 2014/2015 submitted to the legislature, also observed material deficiencies and irregularities in the financial and operational management of the two entities. The two reports are among several submitted to the Legislature.

According to the report, Messrs. Williams and Brown served as heads of their respective entities during the audit periods.

The major findings of the LPRC’s portion of the audit report among others indicate that Williams’ administration carried out transactions amounting to US$19,219,879.13 without adequate documentation such as contracts, evidence of procurement conducted or evidence of liabilities to substantiate payments.

The GAC further observed that there was no evidence that cash receipts amounting to US$437,250 were deposited in LPRC bank account by the Williams management. Again, GAC said it requested Mr. Williams and his team of managers to account for the amount, during the audit periods.

But in a letter to Auditor General Yusador Sadaatu Gaye, Mr. Williams said he’s baffled by the action of agency.

“Let me state that at no time was I contacted by the GAC or anyone concerning an audit or to respond to allegations listed in this article. Additionally, I have not seen a draft or final report of an audit. To date, I am only privy to the article that was published by FrontPage Africa,” Williams wrote.

“During my tenure as Managing Director at the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (“LPRC”), we cooperated with all integrity institutions to ensure transparency and accountability. From 2010 to 2014, the continuous audit team from the GAC had an office at LPRC and approved every transaction at the entity.”

In the letter, the former LPRC MD questioned why the “GAC would not inform me of an audit that was performed on the period when I served as head of the entity. Especially before putting findings of allegations in a local newspaper.”

The letter continued: “Madame Auditor-General I am sure that you will agree that audits are conducted by professional auditors to ascertain the performance level and financial deficiencies in an institution and provide recommendations for corrective measures to improve the institution and to take appropriate action against those who violate the public trust.”

Williams also stressed that the GAC “defeats the purpose of the audit” when auditors failed to conduct appropriate “due diligence by omitting key information and stakeholders from the process”.

Writes Williams: “Based on the above, I would like to request that copies of the draft and final report be made available to me so that we can provide documented proof of true transparency, accountability and integrity of the LPRC under my watch.”