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Liberia: Oil company investigated for bribery

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News,World

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberia's anti-corruption commission says it's investigating claims that the country's oil company bribed lawmakers to ensure the passage of oil legislation.

Commission chairman James Verdier said Wednesday the investigation was spurred by testimony from a former board chairman of the National Oil Company of Liberia, who said in a hearing last week the company paid $118,000 in "lobby fees" to lawmakers.

The board member, Clemenceau Urey, said the payments were made before elections in 2011.

Verdier said the payments, if confirmed, constituted bribery.

Liberia's Senate passed two new oil laws last year, but they stalled in the House of Representatives amid complaints about lack of public consultation.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, whose son formerly headed the oil company, has been criticized for slow progress in the fight against corruption.

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