IN THE WAKE of a shocking investigative report by FrontPageAfrica, it is evident that Liberia’s mining sector is grappling with a cancerous issue that demands immediate attention. The exposé reveals a web of corruption, bribery, and blatant disregard for mining regulations, orchestrated by Chinese national Gao Feng, alias ‘The Real Minister,’ within the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME). President Joseph Boakai, who pledged to scrutinize mining concessions for the benefit of Liberia, now faces a critical juncture that demands decisive action.
THE GRAVITY of the allegations cannot be overstated. Gao Feng, operating under the guise of ‘The Real Minister,’ is accused of engaging in a systematic and criminal manipulation of the MME over the past six years. His illicit activities include bribery of former ministers, illegal license issuance, and a callous disregard for the country’s mining regulations, posing a severe threat to the integrity of Liberia’s mining sector.
ONE OF THE MOST alarming revelations is the payment of a staggering $350,000.00 to former ministers to secure two Prospecting Licenses for Urban & Rural Services Inc., owned by Gao Feng. These licenses directly overlapped with the active Exploration License of NEO Global Mines & Minerals Inc., in clear violation of the Mineral and Mining Act of 2000. The consequences of this overlap are not only legal but environmental, as massive mining operations by Urban & Rural Services Inc. have reportedly caused significant damage to 200 boreholes intended for exploration purposes.
GAO FENG’S AUDACIOUS criminal activities extend to the revocation of exploration licenses at will, as highlighted in a shocking WhatsApp call. He reportedly conspired to use Scott Investment Incorporation to apply for an area granted to NEO Global Mines & Minerals Inc., subsequently revoking the latter’s license and approving Scott Investment Incorporation’s application within an astonishing one month. This abuse of power not only jeopardizes the legitimate interests of companies but exposes a blatant disrespect for due process.
THE URGENCY of this situation cannot be understated. President Boakai must take immediate and decisive action to tighten the screws on the mining sector, ensuring that those involved in this egregious abuse of power are held accountable. The Ministry of Mines and Energy must act swiftly, guided by the legal references within the Mineral and Mining Act of 2000, to prevent further damage to Liberia’s mining sector and to restore confidence in the country’s governance.
AS WE AWAIT further revelations in the upcoming report on the systemic and criminal manipulation within the Ministry of Mines and Energy, it is clear that the time for action is now. Liberia’s mining sector, a potential source of prosperity for its people, cannot afford to be held hostage by corrupt individuals. President Boakai’s commitment to scrutinizing mining concessions must be translated into concrete steps to root out corruption and ensure that Liberia’s mineral wealth benefits its citizens as promised.