Musa Bility, Kalondo’s Firms Among Petroleum Importers Refusing to Pay US$20.3M Road Fund Owed Government 

CAPITOL HILL, Monrovia – The Liberia Revenue Authority has announced several petroleum importers including SRIMEX, owned by Musa Bility and Kalondo Petroleum owned by George Kailondo, are reneging to pay more than US$20.3 million over road fund they owed the Government of Liberia.

In line with the National Road Fund Act, petroleum importers are to add an extra US$.30 fuel levy on a gallon of fuel, and said money should be remitted to the National Road Fund to enhance the financing of road and bridge maintenance works in Liberia.

However, the major importers and the government owned Petroleum and Refining Company – LPRC failed to remit the money collected between 2017 and 2021, despite the Supreme Court’s intervention.

As the result, the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and the petroleum importers were summoned by the House on Thursday to state why they have not paid the money collected from retailers in the form of taxes placed on gallons of fuel sold.

The House’s decision to summon the importers was based on a request by Rep. Prince Tokpa of District #2, Nimba County.

Taking the witness stand, the Deputy Director General for Technical Services of the LRA, Gabriel Montgomery said the importers owe the Liberian government 20.3 million between 2017 and 2021, with CONEX owing the highest amount in the tune of US$7,116,278 followed by Bility’s SRIMEX, US$5,982,251.66 and LPRC with US$5,826,829.51.

Also, on the list of petroleum importers indebted to Government include Aminata: US$688,982.20, Petro Trade: US$603,065.12 Kailondo: US$94,886.23, Nexium: US$17,075.10, NP: US$15,820.48 and West Oil: US$6132.25.

Montgomery told plenary that the Supreme Court placed the responsibility to collect the liabilities from the importers into the hands of the Ministry of Justice, and not the LRA. He said the collection may have been more effective if the LRA had been responsible to collect the government’s liabilities.

The House of Representatives expressed disappointment over the failure of major petroleum importers to pay more than US$20.3 million owed the Liberian through the National Road Fund between 2017 and 2021.

One of the importers’ representatives, T. Nelson Williams of CONEX acknowledged their indebtedness to the government, but called for all parties to sit at the table and renegotiate.

Williams, former Managing Director of the LPRC said their failure to remit to government the road fund, was due to both external and internal problems including the COVID-19 outbreak, and begged for the government to be flexible with them in their payment.

He said beside the liabilities, since 2021, the importers have been current with their payment.

But most of the lawmakers disagreed. Rep. Ben Fofana of Margibi said the importers were indebted to the Government long before COVID-19 outbreak, and ruled against any flexibility in their favor. He pleaded with his colleagues to ensure the court’s order is enforced.

Following a sustained deliberation, Plenary voted in favor of a motion filed by Rep. Isaac B. Roland, calling for the importers to reappear next Tuesday, along with the LRA and the Ministry of Justice led by Justice Minister and Attorney General Cllr. Musa Dean.

Earlier, the Road Fund General Manager, Boniface Satu thanked the Legislature for the support over the years.

The debtors including Bility and Kailondo are known for their lavish spending in Liberia despite the huge debt they owed the Government.

Currently, Bility, who is eyeing Nimba County District #7 seat in the upcoming elections, is spending thousands of United States Dollars on projects and other goodwill gestures. His critics said as a sincere politician, he should settle his debt with the government first before embarking on his sending spree for a political seat.

Kailondo, was once heard pledging US$100,000 to Bility during his campaign become the Confederation of African Football’s president.

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