Liberia denies resource deals violated laws

MONROVIA - The Liberian government denied on Friday it had violated its own laws in awarding resource contracts and pledged to implement the recommendations of an independent audit into the deals.
According to a draft of the audit obtained by Reuters, almost $8 billion worth of contracts signed by Liberia since 2009 have violated its laws, casting doubt on President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's anti-graft and good governance efforts.
"We did not violate any laws ... Some contracts awarded were not in the interest of the country and we had to come back to renegotiate," Information Minister Lewis Brown told a news conference in the capital Monrovia.
"We do recognize that we have capacity problems and we accept that," Brown said, adding that the audit was aimed at boosting Liberia's ability to negotiate contracts and avoid corrupt deals.
"The real issue is strengthening capacity," he said.