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Chris Neyor’s letter to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

“You and your son, Robert have a complete stranglehold on the economy,    Johnson Sirleaf's NepotismChris Neyor
depriving and punishing any Liberian who dare or desire to have an
independent mind and who refuse to participate in looting the country
of its resources. Closing the economy to perceived enemies is
preventing job creation in Liberia!” Chris Neyor

 

Her Excellency
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President
Republic of Liberia
Monrovia, Liberia

Dear Madame President:

I have been reliably informed of your venomous statement on more than
one occasion that you will destroy me so that your son Robert A.
Sirleaf can have an easy path to the Senate seat for Montserrado
County, and eventually to the Presidency of Liberia in the 2017
election to succeed you. Your threat to destroy me comes at a time
when there are media reports of your son, Robert frantically trying to
buy off all the Montserrado County’s senatorial candidates and
promising cash for others to abandon their political parties to
support his candidacy for Montserrado. Your threats to destroy me
emanates from the fact that I have grass root support and I cannot be
purchased even with Robert’s millions. Despite these threats, I will
remain a formidable candidate for the senate race.

I take your statement as a serious threat to my person because in our
part of the world when a President with all the power of the State
wants to destroy a citizen, the order is usually followed to the
letter.

Destroying a citizen can take many forms including made-up accidents,
poison, fabrication of stories that attacks one’s integrity or loyalty
to the State (sedition, terrorism, etc.) or any combination of these,
plus more. I know you and your son are capable of this because we have
gone down that road before when he tried to frame me as
anti-American and had me under 24hr surveillance when I was removed
from NOCAL. Madame President, you swore in your oath of office as our
President to uphold the constitution, which guarantees the protection
of life, liberty and property of every citizen.

Because of the seriousness I attach to your statement (which could be
reason for impeachment in a non-imperial democracy), I am forced to
issue this Open Letter to you so that our citizens and international
friends can beware of how far you would go for one son to the
detriment of your own administration and our country.

I cannot fathom why you would come after me with such vengeance,
Madame President, one who has considered you a mother, admired you,
have membership in the same church with you, utilized his own
resources and connections to support you politically and was a shining
star in your first term. Is it because I am the son of another
Liberian mother from the rank of the marginalized?

I met with you on April 24 at your Ministry of Foreign Affairs office
in presence of your Chief of Staff Dr. Edward McClain and informed you
of my intent to honor petitions to contest the Montserrado County
Senate seat in the October 2014 Special Senatorial Elections in order
to help the National Legislature be more responsive to the critical
issues of the country.

You inquired why I wasn’t running for the
Rivercess senate seat instead and I explained among other things that
I was born and raised in Montserrado County to a father who came from
Morweh in Rivercess, and I was a registered voter in Montserrado. You
stated it would be a difficult task for me but I told you that
elections is about number and from survey, I had the number to win in
the county. You told me then that others had approached you for the
same seat and that you would do your own survey and see whom to
support. I said that was fair enough for I was just informing you out
of courtesy but not necessarily for your support.

Since I left your office that day and began consultations with cross
section of Montserrado citizens, you have been doing everything to
undermine my participation in the election in favor of your son whom
you did not reveal to me that he intended running for the same seat.
You have been trying hard to coerce officials of your government who
are supporting or sympathizing with my anticipated candidacy to work
with your son instead even when some advised it would not be a good
idea for your son to contest the Montserrado County senate seat.

Madame President, democracy brings all qualified candidates into an
election and the voters determine who they believe is the best
candidate suited for a post. It would be a violation of the
constitution and elections laws to coerce or entice support for your
son to be elected senator. I am very much aware of your plan to have
your son become “senator at all costs”, have him made President Pro
Tempore of the Senate and then position him for the 2017 presidential
election to succeed you. Your son, if he has given up his US
citizenship and legally become a Liberian citizen again, is entitled
to run for any position if qualified under our election laws; but let
the voters make the choice whom to support and elect. It would be a
violation of your oath as President to misuse your office to make your
son senator and eventually president of our country, especially when
your own performance as President does not leave much to be desired
now.

I wonder why you harbor so much bitterness against me, Madame
President. In addition to your remarks to destroy me, you have also
stated emphatically that you will make sure I am NEVER elected senator
of Montserrado County. Why Madame President? Is it because as CEO of
NOCAL I refused to give in to you and your son Robert’s adventurism to
exploit the oil resources for your own benefits? I think the public
should get to know why you are so bend on “destroying” me and trying
to legitimize the already unconstitutional power you have given to
your son Mr. Robert Sirleaf.

You are very much aware that I tutored you and Robert on fundamentals
of oil and gas, and informed you of the potential wealth of the
emerging Liberia petroleum sector, the hard-to-resist temptation of
millions of dollars demanding those of our citizens with the highest
integrity in its management and advised you to give the sector more
attention. From the time Robert was appointed to the Board of
Directors of NOCAL in 2010 and he realized the millions involved, he
started to position himself overnight as an oil and gas expert and
instructing me on how we could make a lot of money. When I didn’t go
along, he began to undermine and intimidate me as CEO as well as then
Chairman of the Board Clemenceau Urey.

When I started the reform process at NOCAL learning from the errors of
most of the African oil-producing countries and formulating a
foundation for empowering Liberians through lucrative local content
participation in this new extractive sector, you know that Robert
interjected that it was unwise politically to allow citizens to have
money like that, especially when the 2011 elections was around the
corner.

You were fully aware that Robert began to portray himself as the de
facto head of NOCAL and began soliciting huge amounts of money from
individuals and companies with interest in acquisition of oil blocks.
Some of these companies approached me and I brought those to your
attention only for Robert to tell them not to pay attention to me
because I was going to be removed after the 2011 elections, and he was
going to become Executive Chairman (which was later proven right). Oil
blocks were promised to these people of which you are fully aware and
millions was brought in irregularly for the campaign with cash brought
in on private jets and taken to your home.

I brought to your attention that $2 million had been offered to me in
bribe with a request that I do not take certain executive action
against an oil company. I quoted to you portion of my remarks when I
took over NOCAL few months earlier that no amount of money would be
big enough to make me betray you and our people. What I got out of
that was your ridicule of me before the Petroleum Technical Committee
in the Cabinet Room at your office that I was parading myself as the
most perfect man in the government boasting that I could not take
bribe. Justice Minister Christina Tah and your Legal Advisor Cllr
Seward Cooper (now NOCAL Board Chairman) were among those at that
meeting. They can bear witness. Most of those at that meeting told me
later how shock they were with your characterization of me.

Madam President, the interest and protection of the wealth of Liberia
is more important to me than personal wealth. Far too long, Liberians
have suffered from bad economic management of their natural resources
and your administration, unfortunately, has not moved any further from
the past. Unarguably, mismanagement of public resources is at the
zenith during your administration.

Out of desperation, Robert tried to wickedly tag me as anti-American
following a speech I made to the Liberia Business Association that
diversification in future allocation of oil blocks was in our long
term economic interest, a strategy agreed to and promoted by even
American advisers. There was nothing anti-American about that,
realizing the United States is our closest friend, prime source of
economic support and currently have about 80% of contracted oil
blocks. I was glad that our international partners and Liberians did
not buy into such mis-guarded and unsubstantiated propaganda.

Robert got furious that the international watchdog Global Witness had
referred to me as a “reformer” appointed by you to clean up NOCAL in
its damaging report of September 2011 on corruption in the Liberian
oil sector. The credit was to you that you had seen it fit to finally
appoint a reformer at NOCAL but that didn’t go down well for your son
who sent his friend and one of your trusted ministers after me,
instructing that I made untrue statements to Global Witness. I still
have those ugly emails exchanges with that friend who is still a
minister today.

As your Energy Advisor, with your approval, I started quiet diplomacy
with the Nigerian Government including then President YarAdua’s office,
and the Petroleum Resources Minister to resume crude oil allocation to
Liberia. The diplomacy continued when President Goodluck Jonathan took
office. The convincing reason we gave to the Nigerians and later to
the Kuwaiti was to use the proceeds from the allocation transaction to
reduce the high cost of electricity in Liberia until we have in place
more affordable power generation sources. Both for Nigeria and later
Kuwait, when those sensitive negotiations I initiated and spearheaded
was about to close, you put your son, Robert in charge of the closing
as the Special Envoy. The Nigerian oil allocation intended to support
lower electricity bill has been flowing now for years yet electricity
cost in our country is the highest in the world. Not a penny from the
allocation has gone to LEC fuel expenses and cost of power continues
to be unaffordable to most of your citizens in areas where electricity
is provided.

Every time I met with you as head of NOCAL, your constant remark was
we were sitting on tons of money in NOCAL bank accounts. I responded
every time that the monies were earmarked for capacity building and
social interventions like the projects we were doing around the
country impacting the lives of our people. One of Robert’s closest
confidants tried to convince me to take $4- 5 million out of NOCAL’s
account to give you as campaign contribution. He intimated to me that
all my colleagues were doing that but I told him they would have to
account some day but I cannot even give it a thought to do such.

Interestingly, I was the only head of a major state enterprise that
was removed after your 2nd term inauguration; though by all accounts,
you knew of my stand against corruption and my insistence on
productive performance at NOCAL. It was not surprising when that same
confidante of your son Robert came to me after my removal and said;
“You see why I was telling you to give the old lady some money during
the campaign?” The confidant is still alive and around.

Despite all that, God has been good to me and the company I
established after leaving NOCAL, the Morweh Energy Group, is doing
well. Though I make no income internally, I bring in what I earned
overseas and employ Liberians in my office and my home, give away
scholarships and other social causes, and pay various taxes including
office lease (Coast Guard), payroll and income taxes. For the past two
years, you and your NPA MD have given me the runaround for port land
my partners and I want to lease in Buchanan to build an oil and gas
logistics base that will provide opportunities for Liberians and
Liberian businesses to profitably participate in provision of goods
and services to exploration drilling operations now going on in
Liberia.

Madame President, you know the value of a logistics base and the
opportunities it provides to local citizens for business.

I got at NOCAL three months before exploration drilling commenced and
there was no preparation for a logistics base. I took you on one of
the oilrigs where you noticed Ghanaians were providing catering and
other services and I warned you that we had to do something about a
logistics base.

The highlight of your state visit to Angola in 2011 was a tour we made
of the Luanda oil and gas logistics base. Since I left NOCAL, the
initiative for a logistics base was stalled until I mobilized seven
other Liberian investors and international expertise to construct the
base upon lease of appropriate land at the Port of Buchanan from the
NPA. Two years and counting, the land has not been granted, though you
tell me you support the project but then have your NPA head told to
not do it. Yet millions of dollars are pumped into the Ghanaian
economy for each oil well drilled in Liberia while our young people go
unemployed, the education system is a “mess” according to you and
people continue to live in unbelievable slums, most of them around
Monrovia. This is just fundamentally wrong.

You have confided to some that I think you are a fool to grant
approval for this vital national project when I had badmouthed your
son, referring to the time in a NOCAL Board meeting when he was
insulting and I told him the truth that he knew nothing about the
working of the oil business and he would be cause for you not having a
good legacy. You rather let Ghanaians and Ghanaian companies benefit
from jobs and contracts on oil rigs operating in Liberia using the
Port of Takoradi as logistics base than having a Liberian spearhead
the building of one here in Buchanan for the benefit of our economy
because of your vindictiveness.

You and your son, Robert have a complete stranglehold on the economy,
depriving and punishing any Liberian who dare or desire to have an
independent mind and who refuse to participate in looting the country
of its resources. Closing the economy to perceived enemies is
preventing job creation in Liberia!

Had the House of Representatives not imposed a freeze on oil blocks,
Robert would have sold all of our remaining oil blocks by now. I know
as a fact that he has lined up companies most of whom have contributed
heavily to the Robert Sirleaf Foundation for award of oil blocks. In
your interview with FrontPageAfrica, you even confirmed contributions
made by companies to the Robert A. Sirleaf Foundation, while Robert
was serving as Executive Chairman of NOCAL and Senior Advisor to the
President of Liberia demonstrating how you and your son were trying to
concentrate all the oil money into the hands of your family.

One can understand why that new oil and gas act drafted by your son
left out provisions for defined citizens participation and oil revenue
management mechanism but emphasized only the giving away of oil
blocks, exempting future awards from the Liberian PPCC law. Have you
read the draft act? It was a mockery when you openly praised your son
for “completing his task” in “reforming” NOCAL with submission of the
draft oil and gas act to the National Legislature just before his
resignation from NOCAL due to public and international pressure.
Robert resignation is also a joke because it is an open secret that he
still calls the shot at NOCAL. Well, actually, he does at every agency
where money and natural resources are involved including trying to
give away Wologisi after the Western Cluster fiasco.

The primary purpose of a government is to protect and empower its
citizens but as President of our country, all I have experienced at
close range with you is a selfish desire to protect and empower only
your family where your son Robert Sirleaf and your sister Jan Barnard
are given power our constitution does not assign to instigate
appointments, dismissals and amass ill-begotten wealth. You are good
at showing two faces, one to the international community where you
have been awarded medals and accolades and degrees and the other to
your people at home where you have shown disdain and manipulation and
deception and malice. You have been unable to reconcile the country
because of your history of vindictiveness and putting Liberians
against each other.

Why I am doing this?

I am sure this open letter is shocking to you, knowing my quiet
nature. I am not doing this because I just want to be Senator for
Montserrado. I am prepared to withdraw from the race once I know we
have a winning candidate who will not compromise the hopes and
aspirations of the suffering people of Montserrado County…and you know
that candidate is not the son you are trying hard to legitimize as
your successor. The people of Montserrado deserve better and this is
why I decided to get in the senate race to ensure that their interests
are fully protected.

I am writing this because our country and the international community
need to know who you truly are from someone who knows you well, having
interacted with you on many matters of state where your decision and
actions betrayed the people’s trust. I am writing this because at such
a time when so many Liberians are crying out for skills building and
college graduates cannot find internships or meaningful employment,
when roads to slum communities are almost impassable during this
raining season, when there is massive budget shortfalls due to
corruption and incompetence which you have admitted to, when so much
is at stake for the country requiring the best of leadership to put us
back on course, you have made a decision to spend most of your time to
be Campaign Manager for your son, Robert to become a senator at all
cost.

I have prayed about this Open Letter to you and I have a sense of
relief in my spirit that this is the right thing to do for the good of
our country. You and I are members of the First United Methodist
Church and serve on the Annual Conference Advance Committee. In
keeping with Scripture, I brought your deceptive behavior to attention
of our pastor and the bishop. The bishop spoke to you about my
concerns but you downplayed it as usual, saying you had nothing
against me.

Madame President, this is not just against me, it is against the
country. You uprooted from the government and around you those with
the best integrity and competence to help you move our country
further. John Morlu, Negbalee Warner, Tiawon Gongloe, Alfred Brownell,
Wilson Tarpeh and your own co-Nobel laureate Leymah Gbowee are among
those you have made enemies simply because they tell you the truth and
will not betray their country and people to enjoy the spoils of
corruption for a season.

Sando Moore, Liberia’s foremost photojournalist, who hails from Bomi
with you and was instrumental in your reelection, was told by you not
to attend your 2012 inauguration simply because he had a difference
with your son Robert. It was just fundamentally wrong for a president
to come down this low to prevent a Liberian and a top journalist from
attending inauguration because of a disagreement with the president’s
son. NOCAL’s ad in his IMAGE magazine was pulled down as a result.

I fully understand the consequences of this Open Letter to you. I know
you will come after me with vengeance utilizing all the apparatuses of
the State. I am prepared for all eventualities.

I want you to succeed Madame President because when you succeed, the
country succeeds, but it seems you don’t want yourself to succeed. For
some strange and inexplicable reason, you take decisions that are
inimical to your own government just to satisfy your son or your
sister. You and your son Robert Sirleaf are driving our country down a
cliff. Even your international supporters are gradually seeing that
your governance is horrible and they are beginning to distance
themselves from you.

A leader should be all-powerful to do good but at the same time
restrained from doing evil. The new Liberia we are trying to build on
the blood of over quarter million of our fellow citizens who lost
their lives in the civil upheaval is one where we do not sit and watch
the country go down that path of destruction again. We must all speak
out for in doing so, our country will be freeing itself of presidents
who abuse our rights and misuse our resources for their own selfish
interest.

Madam President, you have the right as a mother to support your son
for senator. But you do not have the right to threaten to destroy me
or any other Liberian, or coerce anyone in the process. Your son must
convince Liberians to vote for him on the merits not on the basis of
using the power of the presidency to make him senator and then
president at all cost. In this new Liberia, that is not going to
happen. I do not take threats to my personhood lightly, especially
coming from an all-powerful, imperial president. It is high time that
vindictiveness is stopped!

I pray that God softens your heart and you change course for your own
good and that of the country. I will be watching. I have much more to
publish including email you begged me to destroy when I was at NOCAL.

Sincerely yours,
Christopher Zeohn Neyor

________________________________

Christopher Z. Neyor,  Former President & CEO, NOCAL, President & CEO, Morweh Energy Group
 Senatorial Aspirant, Montserrado County

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