House Probes PAP (One UN House) Building Ownership, Others
By: Legislative Correspondent
Liberia-WTVNEWS: The House of Representatives has launched Investigation into the ownership of the building which houses UN One House, known as the Pan African Plaza (PAP).
The House’s investigation seeks to unearth the person (s) who is managing the millions generated in rent over the years.
Plenary’s decision was triggered by a communication from Rep. Richard Nagbe Koon (District 11, Montserrado County), alleging that the property was not in compliance with its real estate tax liability, despite accumulating over US$34 million in rent paid by the defunct United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
Rep. Koon’s Communication highlighted that an annual income of US$2.8 million and a total income of US$34.5 million over the period of 12 years ending in December 2018 from UNMIL, there appears to be shocking mystery over the ownership, in terms of identities of shareholders and corporate activities of the Pan African Real Estate Corporation, the entity that is said to be managing it.
He informed the House’s Plenary of his investigation which gathered that the property was once managed by the Libyan-Liberia Holding Company (LLHC) where the Libyan Government owned 50 percent share and the Liberian Government owned the remaining 50 percent.
However, based on the request of the then President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the company and six other state-owned enterprises were dissolved through acts of legislations in 2015 on grounds that they were no longer viable to the economy of the state.
The LHCC was replaced by the Pan African Real Estate Corporation (PAREC), which is located on 7th Street, Sinkor. Under PAREC’s management, which the Government of Liberia is a major shareholder, it is forbidden to talk about the company’s activities, he said, while quoting newspaper reports.
He further informed Plenary that just as it was during UNMIL’s days, it is difficult for enforcers of Liberia’s tax law to access the premises that is currently occupied by the United Nations System in Liberia. This impediment, the lawmaker said, is often referenced to the Geneva Convention of 1946 on the work of the UN and their diplomatic immunity at the time.
However, he said the head of UNMIL Public Information Office at the time, Ms. Leigh Robinson acknowledged that UNMIL has no objection if PAREC releases UNMIL’s rent payment records to the public.
He then craved the indulgence of plenary to summon the appropriate authorities to give update on the ownership of the Pan African Plaza to clear the mysteries that have beclouded it.
Meanwhile, plenary voted in favor of a motion mandating its Committees on Contract and Monopoly and Judiciary to take siege of the matter and report to it in due time following a comprehensive investigation.