Liberia: Army Denies Using Troops, Excavators to Mine Gold For President, 1st Lady; Brother-in-Law
Monrovia – The Armed Forces of Liberia is debunking allegations that its troop and resources donated by the government of China are being used to mine gold on behalf of President George Weah’s brother-in-Law, Michael Duncan and First Lady Clar Weah.
Report by Rodney D. Sieh, [email protected]
On Monday, Talk Show host Henry Costa, in a Facebook Live displayed photographs he says showed the use of recently-donated trucks by the Chinese government to the AFL being used to mine gold in Grand Kru County. “I have evidence that Mr. Weah and his brother-in-law, Michael Duncan, the brother of Clar Duncan Weah are engaged in illicit gold mining.
Not much is known about the First Lady’s brother, Michael. But in 2013, he was unsuccessful in his quest to win the 31st Council District seat in New York. He is a Baruch College Accounting graduate, who, like his sister, lived in Queens for nearly eighteen years with his wife and kids.
Mining in Parluken. City, Forpoh Districts, Costa Says
Mr. Costa later posted photographs describing: “Pieces of evidence of Weah and Wife’s brother, Michael Duncan, using our government properties to carry out their illicit gold mining operations in Grand Kru County. As you can see in the pictorial below: A Chinese-donated AFL excavator, GSA marked trucks, Army tents for the AFL soldiers who provide security for the Chinese mining workers and their operations to sleep in. This is absolutely unacceptable.”
Mr. Costa lamented: “He and his brother-in-law are engaged in gold mining. From what I’m told, they don’t even have a license. He thinks he owns the country. They don’t have the license but they are mining in Grand Kru. Even though the President should not be engaged in such activities, but that’s not the thing. George Weah, believing that everything in Liberia belongs to him has decided he’s not going to buy his own equipment to do the gold mining. Why buy an excavator when the government has excavator. Why buy trucks, when government has trucks, why guy generators when the government has generators. So, George Weah took it upon himself and took the AFL excavator, the Armed Forces of Liberia. So, George Weah is mining gold. Not only that, AFL soldiers are deployed there, providing security for his brother-in-law for their operations. AFL soldiers are using AFL tanks. The place they are doing the mining is a place in Grand Kru called Ma Mary Village, Parluken City, Forpoh District. AFL excavators sprayed in the AFL’s official colors army green. I will show you the army green tents that the military people who are deployed there as security are using. I will show you the GSA trucks, that are there with the GSA written on it in Ma Mary Village District.”
Speculations about alleged mining activities in the area reportedly started some five months ago but officials, dismissing Mr. Costa’s claims say no one can prove or have photographs showing AFL soldiers actually engaging in mining activities because it is untrue.
But Mr. Costa insists that the government is lying. “I’m told they have three of the trucks there for his operation. These are GSA trucks, government trucks. The AFL soldiers are deployed at George Weah’s mining operation.
Strong Denial from AFL, MOD
Officials say the roads are being constructed in anticipation of President Weah’s first trip to the area since he won the presidency in 2017. However, some residents in the area say, the area under construction is not in the president’s plan to visit.
On Tuesday, Major General Prince C. Johnson, Chief of Staff of the AFL told FrontPageAfrica that the information is false. “The Armed Forces of Liberia is doing massive road work in River Gee, Sinoe and Grand Kru Counties in partnership with the Road Construction and Engineering Company as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding. This Company is located in Caldwell, Louisiana. The Armed Forces of Liberia is doing massive road work in River Gee, Sinoe and Grand Kru Counties in partnership with the Road Construction and Engineering Company as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding. This Company is located in Caldwell, Louisiana.”
Late Tuesday, the Ministry of National Defense also issued a statement condemning the allegation. “The Ministry of National Defense categorically refutes the allegation posted on Monday, 22 June 2020 on the official page of Henry P. Costa, accusing the Armed Forces Liberia (AFL) of mining gold in Grand Kru County. Mr. Costa’s social media post concerning the AFL is fallacious, unacceptable, misleading and criminal and lacks iota of truth.”
“We signed a Memorandum of Understanding with this, Road Construction and Engineering Company in Oct 2019 to do road works in River Gee, Sinoe and Grand Kru called Road Construction and Engineering Company, Upper Caldwell, Louisiana, Montserrado County manager is James Ebanks. The equipment were deployed in December 2019. The AFL has completed more than 350 km roads construction and rehab within Gbarpolu, Lofa, G Gedeh, Sinoe, Rivercess, Montserrado, etc and have signed MOU with companies as Solid Rock, German Aglro, Ministry of Public Works, etc.”– Major General Prince C. Johnson, Chief of Staff of the AFL
The MOD explained that in October of 2019, the AFL signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Road Construction and Engineering Company located in Caldwell, Louisiana, Montserrado County for road construction and rehabilitation operations in Grand Kru, River Gee and Sinoe Counties, respectively, which is currently ongoing.
In fulfillment of this MOU, the AFL, according to the MOD, dispatched a team of Engineers to Grand Kru, River Gee and Sinoe Counties to work with Road Construction and Engineering Company.
The MOD stated Tuesday: “Civil Military Operations is key in building a contemporary army, bringing the army to the community to build relationship of trust. Therefore, the rehabilitation of feeder roads, building of bridges and community projects are an integral part of the Engineering Company of the AFL.”
The ministry says over the years, the AFL has signed other MOUs including German Agro, Solid Rocks, Bowee Foundations, Gbarpolu County Developing Funds, Legislative Development Projects in River Gee and Gbarpolu Counties for road constructions and rehabilitation. Moreover, the AFL has collaborated with the Ministry of Public Works in rehabilitating roads throughout the Country. The AFL in collaboration with these institutions has rehabilitated over 305 kilometers of road in Liberia.
Major General Johnson said two of the AFL’s equipment, an excavator and a Dozer(7) are aiding the road construction of some 350 kilometers of roads.
In 2019, the People’s Republic of China has provided Liberia with a grant of $ 3.3 million in cash to finance the acquisition of new military equipment and meet the logistical needs of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL).
The Liberian army is being rebuilt into a professional army following the disbandment of the previous army which was loyal to former president and convicted warlord Charles Taylor.