"... after reading the Daily Observer's article, the least I thought I could do as a Liberian is determine what public information was available here in the United States about Mr. Yarclay, an individual professing to have $170 Million to invest in the LTC. Only one hour of research provided some very disheartening information..."
I have been following with interest stories out of Monrovia regarding the attempt by the National Transitional Government of Liberia to privatize the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (LTC). A bidding process seemed to have been undeway with reports of ‘wheeling and dealing’ in the process. The Allafrica.com online magazine reported on February 16, 2005 that the winning bid had been awarded to a US based Telecommunication Company owned by a Liberian Mr. James Yarclay.
I am a strong advocator of Privatization especially of poorly run and grossly mismanaged Liberian public corporations. And I am particularly excited when the opportunity to take control of a public entity is presented to a Liberian investor or a Liberian group of investors/corporation. But it is not the place of the Gyude Bryant Transitional Government to be involved in complicated issues like privatization. As some news mediums have reported, it seems that the Bryant administration is desperately trying to mortgage-off all of Liberian resources before it terms expires. ( The Race to Mortgage our Future: "A Catastrophic Tragedy in the Making"). Not only is this a corrupt and unpatriotic exercise, but it is a recipe for future instability in the country since a duly elected adminstration will not have the opportunity to make sound economic decisions that could turn around the nation’s economy and provide sustainable job growth and opportunities for Liberians.
Against this backdrop, and based on an article carried by the Liberian Daily Observer: "The Privatization of Telecom: James S. Yarclay Speaks" in which Mr. Yarclay admitted meeting with Chairman Bryant during one of Bryant’s visit to the United States, I thought to spend a few minutes to check out the background of the person who wants to take charge of one of the biggest public entity in the nation.
It is certainly reasonable that any Liberian business person, or any potential investor for that matter, may seek the audience of the Chairman on a visit to the United States. But when the whole bidding process comes into question as this one has, makes one wonders whether Chairman Bryant used that meeting with Mr. Yarclay to iron out a strategy to gain control of LTC particularly since Mr. Yarclay’s corporation cannot show any substance of a financially viable entity.
WHO is James S. Yarclay the Daily Observer asked in it’s article: The Privatization of LTC: Who is James S. Yarclay? That I wondered myself! And after reading the Daily Observer's article, the least I thought I could do as a Liberian is determine what public information was available here in the United States about Mr. Yarclay, an individual professing to have $170 Million to invest in the LTC.
Only one hour of research provided some very disheartening information:
Mr. James S. Yarclay along with Teresa Yarclay out of Dallas, Texas filed for Personal Consurmer Bankruptcy Chapter 7 (Case: 99-36237) on September 2, 1999 (Filing chapter 7 is called liquidation. It is used by individuals unable to meet debt obligations. A trustee collects the non-exempt property of the debtor, sells it, and distributes the proceeds to the creditors. In a chapter 7 you pay nothing back to your creditors.)
The Yarclays were represented by Attorney J. E. Peacock, Jr. (Telephone: 214-824-1414)
The case originally assigned to the Honorable Steven A. Felsenthal was later transferred by the Chief Judge, His Honor Robert C. McGuire to Her Honour Judge Barbara J. Houser. The case was Discharged on January 16, 2000. James Yarclay and Teresa Yarclay Bankruptcy was granted. A Trustee was appointed in accordance with Chapter 7.
According to Ms. Viola Salcido, Courtroom Deputy to the Honourable Judge Barbara J. Houser, case file, including schedules and all listed debts can be obtained from the Federal Records Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Information required to obtain copies of these records are:
o Accession No: 021-00-0223
o Box 32
o Location: L2204136
Copies of these Records can be obtained using the US Bankruptcy Court Northern District of Texas site for Records and can be ordered online.
"Does every Liberian doing business from the United States have to register at the Liberia Embassy?," Mr. Yarclay wondered in an interview with the Daily Observer. Perhaps not! But a responsible Liberian government would use its embassy accredited to Washington to do detail background checks on such businesses, obtain credit reports on individuals like Mr. Yarclay who proports to be owner of a company wishing to do business with the government and substantially validate information provided in a bidding process especially when a company claims to have $170Million to invest and uses that at leverage while bidding in a major privatization contract. This Chairman Bryant government has not done.
The one hour of time invested in looking at Mr. Yarclay, reveal basic public information that is of extreme relevance in assessing the credibility of this individual and his company and which could have been easily obtained . Any government which seeks to make major decisions on the nation's resources should adequately research the companies and individuals vying for a piece of the pie. Gyude Bryant has once again failed to do justice to the Liberian people unless of course - justice was not intended to be done at all - as some have speculated.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Siakon Nagbe is a Liberian, Computer Programmer with Intellicon. He lives and works in Newport News, Virginia, U.S.A. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org..