The Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), Mr. Nathanial Blama is said to be on alleged chopping spree at the entity without any direct reference to the board of directors. First, he is said to have increased renewal and permit fees without the knowledge of the board; he still manages an environmental company as well as signatory to extra bank account.
A leaked document from EPA copies of which are in the possession of this paper, revealed that he is a managing partner of Planet Managing Services, Inc, while his brother, D. Mayango Borzie, Sr. runs Planet Resources Management Inc.
A source who prefers to remain anonymous said the amount is deposited into an account at various banks and not at the Central Bank of Liberia, as done by other government institutions.
For instance, a communication sent to Golden Veroleum by EPA on August 22, 2019, a copy of which is in the possession of this paper states among others: “I present my compliments and acknowledge receipt of three hard copies o each and six compact disc of EPA audit report submitted on your behalf by Green Consultancy Inc for five of your oil palm planation projects and Crude Palm oil Bulking station located in Grand kru and Sinoe counties.”
It continued: “In response to your submission, the non-refundable renewal permit fees for each of the five oil palm plantation is Eleven Thousand, Seven hundred united States dollars-11,700.00 for each of Bulking Station is four thousand five hundred united Sates dollars-4,500.00 totalling sixty three thousand five hundred united states dollars63,000 USD payable at the lbdi account number : 002USD-21515358301.” The letter signed by Mr. Randall M. Dobayou, ii, Acting ED.
But when this paper spoke with Mr. Blama over the weekend, he admitted to some of the allegations and refuted some. For instance, he admitted that he once worked for Planet Management Services as its head but has since resigned.
In his letter of resignation a copy of which is the possession of this paper states among others: “I present my compliment and wish to inform you that on March 5, 2018. I was appointed by His Excellency George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia as Executive Director/CEO of the Environment Protection Agency of Liberia. Owing to my appointment as head of the EPA, I can no longer continue to affiliate with Planet Management Services, Inc.
Consequently, I wish to inform you that I have relinquished all of my shares of 70% in Planet Management Services, Inc. to Mr. D. Mayango Borzie, Sr. who will take up the role as Managing Partner/CEO of the company. Additionally, I request that my name be removed from the Company’s profile and my signatures be withdrawn from all of the company’s accounts and replaced with that of Mr. D. Mayango Borzie, Sr.”
But his letter was rejected by the company. In a response to his letter part of it states: “This note intended by you to be “a Letter of Resignation” is woven in style and form that renders it a departure from regular and traditional tenants. Therefore, be reminded that this document is not a letter at all, talk less of being a Letter of Resignation; and it is unacceptable.
- Planet Management Services, Inc. is a corporate entity, duly registered and recognized and operating under the laws of Liberia. The firm has an Organogram and Terms of Reference showing positions, roles and functions to which personnel are assigned; and who reports to whom. It is inappropriate for you to be so disrespectful by directing a “Purported Letter of Resignation” to PMS Team. For your information, Planet Management Services, Inc. is headed by a General Manager, the highest decision maker.
- You cannot be writing a “resignation letter”, and in the same letter appointing someone. A resignation letter, should stop at “resignation”.
- Your letter is supposed to be re-written properly; and should conform to the following: (a) Addressed to PMS’s highest decision maker, the General Manager, Jerome G.N. Nyenka (b) The letter should limited to resignation only; and avoid attempting to impose your biological brother, D. Mayango Borzie, Sr. as “CEO”, a position which doesn’t even exist.
(c) No further claims, except those accrued before or up to your appointment as EPA’s Executive Director, March 6, 2018. (d) Provide a schedule when you will collaborate with us, to enable the withdrawal of your signature from our UBA and Ecobank accounts.
- The re-written letter with its corresponding reply can now be properly filed with the EPA’s Policy Council and Board of Directors. If you need further clarification and/or guidance, please contact us so we can chat the proper way forward. This cannot be ignored, because even to change signatures, all original signatories will have to be on board.”
Board and Increment:
On the increment, he denied. According to him, he met the fees when he took over as Executive Director. But a number of agriculture companies debunked his statement saying, “it used to be around US$5,000, but it was increased to around US$11,000(Eleven thousand Untied States dollars).
He admitted that EPA has a board but has not been constituted: “EPA does have a broad as set by law, but it has not been constituted by the president. The law requires the tenure of board members and the law requires that every six years, the president twill appoint new board. Since the administration came into being, we have been making efforts of the board. So, the EPA does not have a functioning board yet. But there are statutory board members by law. In the absence of the board, there is a management team that runs the day today activities of the operation of the EPA headed by Executive Director in consultations with line mangers.”
With such amount being charge, indicates that EPA generates huge sums of money, the source from EPA said.
“An audit has not been done in recent times. If this money is being collected at this level, it tells you that each agriculture company contributes close to half a million united states dollars annually. But see the building. Most of the money is spent on traveling.”
More to that,his proxy company known as Planet Resources Management (PRM) serves as consultant for some of the agricultural companies for which EPA is working with; failed to give details.
When the management of Planet was contacted for verification, an official said: “Blama is still part of this company. He never resigned and if he said he did, let him show you a copy of the letter and a response from us. In fact, he is still a signatory to our accounts.”
“The company is run by him behind the scene. His brother, D. Mayango Borzie, Sr. runs the company,” the source from EPA said. He admitted that Borzie is his brother and was competent to establish any company of his choice.
A circular dated September 11, 2018, seen by this paper by EPA, made it compulsory for all Proponents, Project Developers and Concessionaires to engage third party for establishment and studies and monitoring report (quarterly report) and report for any permit renewal. Nevertheless, the concessionaires continued to submit self-prepared quarterly report but later it was rejected by EPA (signed by him). This, Mr. Blama admitted that it was part of the regulatory work of the EPA.
EPA directed these concession companies to hire a third party company to monitor and carry out assessment of their project sites. These are functions of EPA,” the official who declined to be quoted further said.
It is the third party verification part that the source said Mr. Blama uses his influence to award contracts to Planet management. But Blama denied saying he has never done such. “Not because my brother heads a company means I should give him contract. No. There is no law in the country which forbids a Liberian from owning a company.”
He however admitted that Planet Management is one of the entities that is certified by the EPA to do business with.
This paper saw a communication sent to GVL, dated August 22, 2019 in which it said among others: “I present my compliments and acknowledge receipt of three hard copies o each and six compact disc of EPA audit report submitted on your behalf by Green Consultancy Inc for five of your oil palm planation projects and Crude Palm oil Bulking station located in Grand kru and Sinoe counties.
“In response to your submission, the non-refundable renewal permit fees for each of the five oil palm plantation is Eleven Thousand, Seven hundred united States dollars-11,700.00 for each of Bulking Station is four thousand five hundred united Sates dollars-4,500.00 totalling sixty three thousand five hundred united states dollars63,000 USD payable at the lbdi account number : 002usd21515358301.” The letter signed by Mr. Randall M. Dobayou, ii, Acting ED after he was instructed by the director, the source said.
With such amount being charge, indicates that EPA generates huge sums of money. “An audit has not been done in recent time. If this money is being collected at this level, it tells you that each agriculture company contributes close to half a million united states dollars annually depending on the type of permit each has.
“Buy interestingly, this amount is spread around at various commercial banks and instructions on withdrawal is given by Mr. Blama for withdrawal. Nothing concrete is being done here. What you see happening is monthly travels or at times weekly. Recently, he just came from three European countries.”
Part of the EPA act which established it in 2002 state that, it is to Monitor an assess projects and activities including activities being carried out by relevant ministries and bodies to ensure that the environment is not degraded by such activities and that environmental management objectives are adhered to and adequate early monitoring on impending environmental emergencies is given;
Review sectorial environmental laws and regulations and recommend for amendments and to initiate proposals for the enactment of environmental legislation in accordance with this Act or any other Act;
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the regulatory Institution of the Government of Liberia for the sustainable management of the environment and its natural resources. The Agency was established by an act of the Legislature November 26, 2002 and published into hand bill on April 30, 2003.
The EPA operates on three basic legal Instruments: The National Environmental Policy (NEP), The Environmental Management and Protection Law of Liberia and the Act Creating the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Act of 2002 of the EPA said among others that it shall be the principal authority in Liberia for the management of the environment and shall co-ordinate, monitor, supervise and consult with relevant stakeholders on all activities in the protection of the environment and sustainable use of natural resources.
Its main functions include but not limited to the following; Co-ordinate, integrate, harmonize and monitor the implementation of environmental policy and decisions of the Policy Council by the Line Ministries; ensure the integration of environmental concerns in overall national planning;
Collect, analyse and prepare basic scientific data and other information pertaining to pollution, degradation and on environmental quality, resource use and other environmental protection and conservation matters and undertake research and prepare and disseminate every two years a report on the state of the environment in Liberia;
Monitor an assess projects and activities including activities being carried out by relevant ministries and bodies to ensure that the environment is not degraded by such activities and that environmental management objectives are adhered to and adequate early monitoring on impending environmental emergencies is given;
Review sectorial environmental laws and regulations and recommend for amendments and to initiate proposals for the enactment of environmental legislation in accordance with this Act or any other Act.