Monrovia - With a little over a week since he was declared wanted by the Joint legislative committee on Public Accounts to answer to the inquiries of his alleged involvement into a scandal of over one hundred thousand united states dollars as lobbying fee given by the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) former Montserrado representative Rufus D. Neufville has claimed his innocence.
A few weeks ago, at a public hearing on audit report conducted by the General Auditing Commission in 2006/08/09 (GAC) it was alleged that NOCAL gave Neufville and former Montserrado County representative AlomizaEnnos Barr over one hundred thousand United States dollars as lobbying fees for the ratification of certain contracts in the oil sector.
This disclosure by the GAC prompted the committee to request the appearance of former representatives Barr and Neufville who then served as chair on the committee on investment to answer to questions about his involvement in the transaction.
The GAC report also disclosed that Barr confirmed receiving the money for which she signed two checks on the same day with one carrying the amount of US$ 15, 000.00 and US$ 25,000.00.
The GAC said Barr informed the commission that she turned over the money to the joint committee on investment (Senate and Representatives) at which time Neufville and other members of the committee from both houses were invited by the GAC.
The GAC also reported that Neufville admitted being the Chairman of investment during the meeting with the Auditor General between him and other Lawmakers but denied receiving any money from Barr or NOCAL.
In the GAC report, after the meeting with committee members, the GAC recommended that Representative Barr be made to restitute US$40,000.00 she received from NOCAL and for which others have denied receiving from her.
The GAC also recommended that chief clerk Kaba, who is now a deceased be made to restitute the full amount of US$ 1,500.00 he received from NOCAL and for which he has provided no accounting for its usage. In an interview with FrontPageAfrica Monday, March 3, 2014, Neufville described as untrue media reports that he is or was involved with acts of bribery or corruption.
“I want to use this occasion to claim my innocence that at no time have I received any money, not even a dime from the National Oil Company of Liberia or any legislator during the performance of my duties, Neufville. “I performed my duties as a legislator with conscious and I stood for accountability and transparency.”
The former Lawmaker, who was recently appointed as Chief of Protocol by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, also claimed that the bills he voted for while serving, as a legislator was free of bribery. He said he did it because he felt it was in the interest of Liberia and said at no time did anyone give him a dime to influence his position on issues.
“I left the legislature not as a rich man because I went into the legislature for character and morals and that is what I left the legislature with,” he said.
When asked why was his name mentioned in the GAC report he said: “After one of my former colleagues’ name was mentioned in the Audit report that she received money from NOCAL and told the GAC that she gave the money to Lawmakers, being the chairman of the committee on investment AG Morlu asked and I told him I didn’t know about it”.
Continued Neufville: “If you read the Audit report's recommendation it says the person who received the money from NOCAL should restitute it and I have never met Mr. Urey in person. He does not know me and he didn’t call my name during his appearance at the legislature.”
He also challenged anyone to prove that he received money from NOCAL to carry out his legislative functions. The former Lawmaker was recently confirmed as chief of protocol of the Republic of Liberia by the Liberian Senate.