Who Is Rudolph J. Merab: The New FDA Managing Director?

The newly appointed Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), Rudolph J. Merab, Sr, a no stranger in the sector has vowed under his watch to robustly accelerate the professional services of the entity in order in order for it to regain its prewar status, as one of Liberia’s functioning state enterprises.

Following his appointment by the Liberian leader, President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, as the new Managing Director of the FDA, as many of his critics who knew less of his professional workings as a born Liberian citizen who has over the years made meaningful contributions for the growth and development of his native land, Liberia.

According to our investigation, Merab’s detractors with no iota of truth, selfishly disdain his hard-earned character under the canopy of advocating for the Liberian people at the detriment of this Liberian who is best suited for this job, and is also willing to bring about transformation during his tenure at this very important entity.

Sources closed to the sector, revealed that the new FDA Managing Director previously worked in the Timber Industry in the early 1970s when he purchased a small sawmill from the Methodist Mission in Ganta and started producing sawn Timber. In 1977 he and his late brother, Edward Merab entered into an agreement with the then former Superintendent of Nimba County to manage his concession, the Yah River Logging Company, parted ways by 1979.

Our investigation also discovered that when the 1980 coupe took place, which compelled some permanent Liberians to flee the country that were involved in the Timber Industry including the late Ambassador George Padmore who with some Italians owned and ran the Manirze Timber Company out of Bomi Hills. They had a loan with the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment. When they were contacted by us to see whether we could manage the company, and said, they wanted to have nothing further to do with company and should seek out the LBDI.

The investigation also revealed that the Merabs then engaged the LBDI and concluded a sales agreement for all of the assets of their company. We got permission from the Forestry Development Authority to remove and dispose of all logs fell by the company paying taxes to the government.

At stage in 1981 they applied for the former concession of Manirize patching all the necessary requirement up and  by 1983, they were awarded the concession under the Liberian Wood Management Corporation (LWMC) for 400,000 acres of forest land, by 1985, they we applied and were given an additional forest area of 300,000 acres. At that time, land coast was Ten Cents ($0.10) per acre. In 1988, our source further narrates both then entered into partnership with Amtel and began a high investment into sector of more than US$15m, and by 1988 when there was a boom in the sector and most companies had amortize their investment, the government agreed for an increase in land rental from $0.10 cents to $0.50 cents to extend over concession right by 20 years. Our taxes to government for land was increased from $70.000 (Seventy thousand United States Dollars) to $350,000 (Three hundred and fifty thousand United states Dollars) and taxes on logs we about One hundred and fifty thousand Dollars (US$150,000) per month.

The civil war begin in December of 1989 and we were forced to close down operations. The Merabs and their wives and the children of their employees fled to Sierra Leone due to the war. All of the men remain and some of those who did not feel threaten kept their family.

When the Charles Taylor-led National Patriotic Front of Liberia took over that side of Liberia in mid-1990 and their workers lives and our assets begin to be threatened, so they had to seek dialogue with Mr. Taylor with the knowledge of both the interim government and ECOMOG (The Economic Community of ECOWAS Monitoring Group).

Our source further revealed that in order not to destroy what the Merabs had built, they begin to pull logs from Mr. Taylor’s control area bringing it to Monrovia, paying Taxes to both the NPFL and the Interim Government with the acquiescence of both ECOMOG and Interim Government.

They have done nothing in the dark and have never aligned ourselves with any warring factions. Our alignment had and will always be with our Liberian people. Those who know me from all the warring factions can attest to this.

Speaking via mobile phone with our staff, Mr. Rudolph J. Merab said, “All allegations levelled against me by my detractors are nothing but fallacies intended to destroy my hard earned reputation over the years, My commitment and loyalty is to God Almighty and my Liberian people and country”, he told our staff,

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