The decision to conduct this exercise is in line with fulfilling the entire scope of LEITI’s activities beyond annual reporting and in keeping with the LEITI Act of 2009 which mandates “appropriate audits and/or investigations of the process by which each material concession, contract, license, and other right is awarded by the Government in respect of the forestry, mining, oil, agriculture and other designated resource sectors of Liberia in order to determine that each concession, contract, license, and similar right was awarded in compliance with applicable Liberian laws”.
Consequently, the LEITI lifted in its 2009/10 Work Plan the conduct of the process audit and/or investigation of all material concession, contract, license, and other rights awarded by the Government in respect of, mining, oil, forestry, and agriculture. The initial challenge to this task was securing funds amidst government’s own constraints in light of the global economic crisis. This was resolved when the African Development Bank, under its Fragile States Facility Program extended a grant of $460k to the Government of Liberia, of which $95k was allocated to this exercise. Subsequent leadership transitions at the LEITI Secretariat hindered tackling and completing this task. With a new leadership in place, a grant extension was sought and received to allow the exercise to be carried out before December 2012.
Based on a materiality assessment by the LEITI Secretariat, the Multi-Stakeholder Steering Group (MSSG) approved the process audit and/or investigation of sixteen companies within the oil, mining, agriculture, and forestry sectors at its September 2012 meeting. Small and medium sized firms from the mining and forestry sectors will be added based on sampling methodology to be developed by the Auditor.
The report is expected to be published in the first quarter of 2013, and subsequently disseminated to the general public.
Notwithstanding the many questions and concerns raised by the local and international media in light of parallel national dialogues in extractive sectors, the LEITI cannot and will not attempt to preempt the findings of this endeavor. We wish to emphasize that this exercise represents an effort to independently and objectively examine the awarding process of our contracts and concessions and its outcomes will constructively contribute to ongoing reforms in our resource governance regimes.