‘Concerned About Grave Allegations’: Liberia Replies Global Witness
Monrovia – The Government of Liberia says it is deeply concerned about the grave allegations of bribery obtained in a damning report by the Watchdog group, Global Witness linking several current and former officials.
The government through the Executive Mansion when contacted late Thursday after the report’s release, said, it wishes to encourage Global Witness to make available all information on the matter so that it can take appropriate action to investigate and prosecute if a violation of the laws of Liberia is determined.
In an earlier letter to Mr. Balint-Kurti, Global Witness Campaign leader, the government wrote:
Kindly accept our appreciation for your email in which you informed the Government of Liberia that Global Witness will shortly be putting out a report on businessmen Phil Edmonds and Andrew Groves, including a chapter on Liberia.
You also alerted us that the report will include evidence to support allegations that Sable Mining and its affiliates paid out bribes, through Cllr. Varney Sherman, “to a wide range of government officials” with the aim to have Sable “get hold of the concession for Wologizi”.
The Government of Liberia is concerned about these grave allegations of bribery and therefore wishes to encourage Global Witness to make available all information on this matter so that it can take appropriate action to investigate and prosecute if a violation of the laws of Liberia is determined.
However, we wish to clarify that the government of Liberia has never initiated, commissioned, nor participated in any process for granting a concession of the Wologizi Mountains to Sable.
In 2013, the Presidents of Liberia and Guinea signed a joint communiqué which mandated relevant ministries and agencies of the two countries to begin negotiations that would culminate into an agreement to grant third party access of the Tokadeh-Buchanan rail for the conveyance of iron ore mined in Guinea to the Port of Buchanan in Liberia.
Parties to these negotiations included the Governments of Liberia and Guinea, West Africa Exploration, an affiliate of Sable, and Arcelor-Mittal which currently holds a Mineral Development Agreement with Liberia that grants it first party use of rail.
Though not yet consummated, the process of negotiating said agreement is being carried out with full transparency in keeping with the laws of Liberia and international best practice.
Once again, please be assured that the Government of Liberia remains committed to working with Global Witness and other partners in ensuring openness, transparency and good governance.
Be further assured that the Administration of President has zero tolerance for any act of corruption and will therefore spare no efforts in getting to the bottom of the issue and bring to justice anyone found to be culpable.