The name Emmanuel Shaw is not strange to Liberians, a flamboyant former Minister of Finance of Liberia under the late Samuel Doe, was known gossiped in the country to be a master planner along with the late President and other government officials to rob Liberia of their resources. By then, there was no visible evidence to link him with the syndicate, protected by the ruthless dictatorial government of the Doe administration.
But it all began to unravel and traces of evidence gradually unearth when Shaw left the Finance Ministry and formed a another oil company to the nation’s own Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation, LRC, the Liberia National Oil Company.
According to the South African daily, the Mail & Guardian newspaper, Emmanuel Shaw long syndicate to lure the Liberian nation of millions in monies and assets, interfaced with a perfect opportunity when the country descended into a full-blown civil war and he fled the country in 1990 before the fall of President Samuel Doe , of whom he Shaw was a confidant and one of the owners of Shaw’s newly formed LNPC. The Mail & Guardian article publicly exposed his syndicate by citing his design when he (Shaw) cleverly filed a law suit against the government of Liberia in a London Court, disguising himself under the title of Chief Executive of the LNPC praying the court make the Liberian government to pay him US $27 million dollars, claiming that the Liberian government and people owed him using as evidence, a letter of commitment from the Liberian government obligating it and the people of Liberia to pay him. The crockery aspect of that letter commitment used in the British Court, was signed by Mr Shaw as Minister of Finance though he was no longer the minister of Finance but Chief Executive his LNPC.
Liberia not ravished by a full-blown civil war when Shaw filed the lawsuit against Liberia, the country never had a representation and a judgement of default was brought against Liberia, ordering the country to pay Emmanuel Shaw US$20 million and ordered the Liberia’s ” Boeing 707″ airliner on the runway in London seized as guarantee asset against Mr. Shaw’s $20 million dollars. Mr. Shaw also filed a lawsuit against Liberia jn a United States Court but fortunately for the country, the war some how subsidized for a while and a functioning government , Liberia was representated by its Justice Minister, Phillip Banks who detailed to the court, Mr. Shaw’s concocted syndicate against the country. The case was dismissed by the United States court after reviewing the evidence Minister Banks presented.
Emanuel Shaw II – who is set to earn at least R3-million a year from the South African taxpayer – spent much of the 1980s concocting elaborate money-making ploys with a partner known as “The Godfather of Liberia”. The Mail & Guardian has obtained correspondence between Shaw and his partner, Gus Kouwenhoven, in which Shaw details his involvement in their scams.
Don Mkhwanazi, the chair of South Africa’s state oil company, the Central Energy Fund (CEF), is standing by his decision to recruit Shaw as his chief adviser. He says the Deputy President, Thabo Mbeki, endorsed Shaw for another state oil job in 1995.
The M&G revealed last week how Mkhwanazi ignored state tendering rules, state oil company policy and the Department of Minerals and Energy to recruit Shaw and his son, Emanuel Shaw III. The Liberian was a confidant of the West African country’s former president, Samuel Doe, and rose to become the notorious dictator’s finance minister.
Shaw has recently been appointed Liberia’s “ambassador extraordinaire” by the country’s new president, former warlord Charles Taylor.
By taking up the job at the CEF Shaw opens himself to an obvious charge of a conflict of interest, because he has also been working for South Africa’s biggest petrol company, Engen, since last year.
Shaw’s letter to his partner, Kouwenhoven, indicates the two men were outright rogues. It was written to justify a claim by Shaw for a greater share of their ill-gotten gains.
Shaw details how he gave Kouwenhoven the BMW dealership in Monrovia; the sole control of Monrovia’s top hotel, the Hotel Africa; and how he established a string of front companies to give Kouwenhoven a cut in the purchase of a new aircraft for Doe. In some instances Shaw went as far as to change Liberian law to give Kouwenhoven plum deals, all of which earned him a healthy commission.
Kouwenhoven is understood to have accompanied both Shaw and President Taylor on a visit last week to Taipei.
The letter, which has become part of Liberian business folklore, was first published by a Liberian magazine in June 1991, and subsequently by several other Liberian newspapers. The letter was found on Shaw’s computer after he fled Liberia.
In the Hotel Africa deal, Shaw also gave Kouwenhoven exclusive gambling rights by changing the country’s gambling laws. He says: “I wrote a gambling law and you got the opportunity to review and edit it to your satisfaction. I had the new gambling law passed by decree … I supervised the drafting of your concession agreement … and helped you protect your exclusivities and rights thereunder for all these years, making so many enemies for myself.”
The article which quotes the letter was written by a Liberian journalist, Reggie Goodridge, who is ironically now Taylor’s press secretary. The article is entitled “Sovereignty on auction – the saga of Emanuel Shaw and Gus Kouwenhoven”, and is described as “an expos that renders the activities of the Italian Mafia pale by comparison”.
In the letter Shaw also explains how he managed illegally to arrange an insurance payout for Kouwenhoven after the Hotel Africa burnt down in a “mysterious” fire in 1983. Shaw says he falsified certificates about the value of the hotel’s contents. Goodridge wrote that the letter also described the two men’s involvement in Nigerian oil deals and in the astonishing saga of the Liberian National Petroleum Corporation.
Shaw allegedly helped set up an oil consortium that took over the main functions of the the Liberian Petroleum Refining Corporation just before Doe was toppled in December 1989. Shortly after their new company was formed, the price of fuel in Liberia rocketed from $2,95 a gallon to $3,55 and, according to Goodridge, it was widely believed that the profits did not make their way back to the state’s coffers.
The shareholders in the company included Shaw, Kouwenhoven, Doe himself and the company’s president, Mark Woolman, who also headed a mysterious oil company called Tiger Oil.
Tiger Oil has been named as one of the companies which broke the oil sanctions against South Africa, in a submission to the truth commission by the Shipping Research Bureau in Amsterdam. According to oil industry officials and sources in Nairobi, Woolman – who was murdered last year – worked with Shaw in Kenya before Shaw came to South Africa in 1992.
Goodridge wrote that Shaw’s letter is now a part of public record after it was used in evidence in New York and New Jersey courts, in a multi-million-dollar case between the Liberian National Petroleum
Considering Mr. Shaw long wrap sheet which spanned over the shores of Liberia to United States, Netherland, Kenya and South Africa, it is puzzling how President Sirleaf will recalled him back into government. Will Mr. Shaw skills and long wrap sheet, Liberians won’t be shocked when they hear the shady deal master planner sole turn the port into his own company holding 60% share and the President and her inner circle owning the rest leaving Liberians screwed, leaving nothing left for them. It is a matter of time, to see what is Mr. Shaw next scam as Chairman of the Board of Directors of National Port Authority to pillage the country resources again.