Liberia Refining Company rubbishes $2.1m petroleum storage fee scandal claim

21 April 2016, Monrovia – In recent days there has been reports that the Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LRPC). Sumo Kupee has pocketed US$ 2.1 million which he allegedly generated in storage fee using the China Union Storage tank instead of the tanks at the LPRC in an attempt to deprive government of the storage fee.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.

“I just heard that. I haven’t seen it, so I don’t know what they are saying. But I can imagine like I said out there that LPRC doesn’t bring in a drop of fuel into the country. The fuel are brought in by importers. So, unless somebody say to me that this importer brought the fuel and they are going to sell it and give me US$2.1 million. But all of that I know. It is the usual Liberian hatred.If you can’t go up, you come down”- Sumo Kupee, Managing Director, Liberia Petroleum Refining Company

Accordingly, the storage fee due to be paid to the LPRC through the use of its storage tank was paid to the LPRC Managing Director since some importers were allegedly made to use the China Union storage tanks but reacting to the reports, the Managing Director has described the report as a ‘usual Liberian hatred’.

Managing Director Kupee told reporters Wednesday that it is not possible for him to generate such amount of money from importers and pocket it as is being alleged.

“I don’t see how I will be able to benefit from any amount of money like that, all we receive here is storage and handling fees and we have already started an audit of our system. We have our auditors, they are in the system they are going to audit for six years including my one year of operations and the audit report will tell”, said Kupee.

He said, he believes those making the allegations are amongst the same group of people that once alleged that an amount of US$500,000 was stolen from his home. The former Lofa County Senator says he thinks those behind all the allegations against him are doing it on purpose.

“I think those who are saying that know why they are saying it. I thought those were the same people who said one time that US$500,000 was stolen out of my house?

So, the trend continues, you journalists, you Liberians need to be able to read between the lines. No iota of truth in its, but nobody spoke to me, nobody, no journalist spoke to me about what happened in the house, but yet they must have their reasons why they are doing those things”, he said.
Kupee who was widely rumored as top contender for the position of Finance Minister after the exit of Amara Konneh said he is surprise that Liberians do these things to each other because they believe that when they do not go up, others should not do also go up.

Kupee lamented “why we do this to each other as Liberians, I leave it to their God, I have no idea why they doing these things, it is the usual Liberian hatred, I guess if you can’t go up, you come down”.

Poor infrastructure

Kupee who took over the LPRC after the departure of T. Nelson Williams says one of the major challenges facing the entity is poor infrastructure which he says is hindering the operations of the entity.

“As you sit here, you will just hear that one of the pipes has a split and there is leakage”, he added.

He noted that challenges at the LPRC will continue unless a general rehabilitation of the entity is done, adding that the situation is affecting the entity greatly. Kupee assured contractors at the LPRC that he is working with the Board of Directors in transferring some contractors to regular employees.

Some contractors, he said have been given regular contractors status rather than the usual six months contract once these contractors work in line with the LPRC guidelines.

The LPRC Managing Director appealed to importers to continue their work with the entity especially during the rainy season.

Kupee was appointed Managing Director of the LPRC months after he was defeated in the Lofa County Senatorial election during the 2014 Special senatorial election.

His name surfaced recently to become Finance Minister with reports that he was the preferred candidate for Vice President Joseph N. Boakai in a bid to build the financial strength of the Boakai’s presidency.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ha since appointed Boimah Kamara from the Central Bank of Liberia to fill the vacant Finance Minister position.

 

 

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