Liberia: Restoration Baptist Church Wants National Legislature Restore Liberians 5% Equity in Petroleum Contracts
MONROVIA – The leadership of the Restoration Baptist Church has authorized its Senior Servant, Rev. Joseph Gardea Johnson, III to join and support CORLE in the fight to restore Liberians 5% birth right to profit in petroleum contracts. The church’s decision- communicated to CORLE by Rev. Johnson- follows a review of the original section of Liberia’s 2014 Petroleum Law on citizens participation alongside a clandestine amendment made to the law in 2019.
The amendment transferred potential billions of future oil profit from a Citizens Fund mechanism- that would have benefited every Liberian- to 9 politically connected Liberians with “oil & gas companies”. The amendment reads: “each petroleum agreement shall contain a provision of least 5% total equity stake FOR COMPANIES owned by persons of natural born Liberian Citizenship”. Before the amendment, the law required a 5% share FOR THE BENEFIT OF A CITIZENS FUND and mandated how Citizens Fund should be managed. The church- like many other Liberians- wants the 54th Legislature to restore Liberians birth rights to the 5% oil profit as was mandated before the 2019 clandestine amendment and is concluding arrangements to speak to the public and begin to take legal and non-political actions along with CORLE.
Rev. Johnson, who will represent the Church- brings first-hand experience of how public officials- past and present- have manipulated the oil sector for their personal benefits and the disadvantage of poor Liberians. He was appointed by President Weah in 2018 to investigate a Global Witness Report of corruption in Liberia’s oil sector.
CORLE, welcomes the Church’s decision and believes Rev. Johnson’s experience and commitment to fighting for justice and accountability will help reverse the 2019 amendment and by that protect billions of oil profit for poor Liberians.