Meet Angela List of Ghana: The Most Powerful ‘Investor’ In Weah-Led Liberia


Monrovia – What Angela List wants, Angela List gets. That’s the general consensus amongst key aides in proximity of the Liberian presidency.  List, a Finance and Administrative Director of BCM International Group based in Accra, Ghana, has been linked to a number of mining operations in Liberia and is said to be the main engine driving a controversial plan by the CDC-led government to hire a power barge that would sell electricity to the Liberia Electricity Corporation for distribution to Liberian consumers.

Report by Rodney D. Sieh, [email protected]

BCM International, it can be recalled was at the center of an incident in February relating to its country manager, Mr. Dionysious Sebwe, who was reportedly arrested on the orders of Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Nathaniel McGill.

Sebwe, who played on the Liberian national team the Lone Star in the 1990s along with Weah President George Manneh Weah, told FrontPageAfrica in February that he had traveled to Buchanan to pay some workers BCM International – when he was informed of an order for him to be arrested.

Sebwe explained at the time that he believed at the time that his arrest was orchestrated by the ruling CDC due to his political differences with President Weah. He noted that prior to his trip to Buchanan, Mr. McGill, who is also the former chairman of the CDC, confronted him via mobile phone on the removal of the company equipment. “He called and said, my man the President is concerned about the people’s equipment, when are you getting them out of here,” he said.

According to Dionysius, the head of BCM, who is also a friend to President Weah was in Liberia during the inauguration and apparently explained the difficulties she was going through getting the equipment out and settling their financial obligations to employees of the company.

The name of the friend which was not made public until now, FrontPageAfrica has learned is Angela List.

Sebwe explained that the company’s manager, Joseph Edmund, who was recently in Liberia to arrange the hiring of a 100-ton crane from Bollore to lift BCM equipment, including excavator, bulldozers, among others on the low-bed trailers. But Edmund reportedly denied ever filing charges against him.

List is also a close friend of Emmanuel Shaw, one of President Weah’s top economic advisors and Mr. Ibrahim Mahama, brother of the former president of Ghana, who reportedly provided a fleet of vehicles as gifts and the use of his aircraft when needed.

Efforts to reach List or BCM through a local representative was unsuccessful as this story went to press.

Link to Karpower Deal

FrontPageAfrica reported Monday that the Weah administration is currently in negotiations with a Turkish company, Karpowership, a private electricity exporter, owner, operator and builder of the first floating power plant fleet in the world.

Under the plan, Liberia would enter into a ten-year contract in which it would purchase power from Karpowership even though it already has an absorptive capacity of only 24 % of current installed capacity at Bushrod Island and Mt. Coffee.

The issue is causing concerns within the international community with many stakeholders, who spoke to FrontPageAfrica on condition of anonymity in the past few days fearing that the signing of the agreement could lead to serious repercussions with the Millennium Challenge Corporation(MCC), the Norwegian government, the European Union, the World Bank and the German Development Bank.

FrontPageAfrica has learned that most of the ministers in the government are against the agreement which is in the possession of FPA but sources say the deal is being pushed by Mr. Nathaniel McGill, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs with some suggesting that minister McGill has already received the backing of the President to sign off on the deal which some key international stakeholders say, would tie assets and revenue for Liberia.

No Previous Liberia Work

According to the company’s website, BCM Group began as “Bayswater Contracting”, a family firm in Western Australia in the early 1950s, primarily in the civil works and mining construction business. Under the same family ownership, BCM Group expanded into Ghana in 1990 and thereafter further into Mali, Tanzania, Guinea and Niger. By the year 2000, BCM had established itself as one of the leading mining and civil contractors in Sub-Saharan Africa, an area containing significant mineral wealth. In 2004, BCM became the first Western Style mining contractor in Central Asia and with operations in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

The company had not done any mining or related operation prior to the arrival of the CDC-led government headed by President George Manneh Weah. In the past five months however, FrontPageAfrica has learned the company has stepped up interests in a number of ongoing projects in Liberia, including Putu Iron Ore, Wologisi, Tawana Resources Cape Mount Project and the Hummingbird concession which was last week vetoed by the President over what sources say was triggered by List who has made her intentions clear about securing the concession.

The Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy (MLME) was established by a 1972 Act of Legislature to administer all activities relative to land, mineral, water and energy resource exploration, coordination and development in the Republic of Liberia, giving the ministry the sole authority to manage the mineral sector. With those responsibilities now under the guidance of the ministry of state, critics say issues of conflict of interests could trigger a wave of potential problems for the Weah presidency in the not too distant future.

Interest in Hummingbird Unearthed

Last Thursday, President Weah vetoed the ratified Concession Mineral Development Agreement between the government of Liberia and Hummingbird Liberia Incorporated, returning the bill to the Senate with several recommendations.

While the President’s action was in keeping with Article 35 of the Liberian Constitution, FrontPageAfrica has learned that the move was triggered by interests from List.

Article 35 states: “Each bill or resolution which shall have passed both Houses of the Legislature shall, before it becomes law, be laid before the President for his approval. If he grants approval, it shall become law. If the President does not approve such bill or resolution, he shall return it, with his objections, to the House in which it originated. In so doing, the President may disapprove of the entire bill or resolution or any item or items thereof. This veto may be overridden by the re-passage of such bill, resolution or item thereof by a veto of two-thirds of the members in each House, in which case it shall become law. If the President does not return the bill or resolution within twenty days after the same shall have been laid before him it shall become law in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Legislature by adjournment prevents its return.”

In vetoing the concession, the President cited conflict in dates, authority to negotiate land expansion, negotiation of office space and support to community development by proposed concessionaire, telling lawmakers: “The document warrants review to ensure that provisions in the agreement are responsive to current and future situations.”

President Weah further claimed that the document had dated error, which cannot be corrected by his office. “In the agreement instead of the year 2018, the bill bears 2017, which period this government cannot account for,” the President also stated.

President Weah said: “There are several omissions of dates which my Office is not authorized to correct and without such corrections, I cannot affix my signature to the bill, I refer you to pages 7, 102 and 107. We also observed that pages 14 and 15 are unsigned.”

The President also told the lawmakers that in the ratified agreement, expansion of land area is vested in the Land and Energy Minister to expand the land area for exploration. He disagrees with them vesting authority of negotiating land expansion in an agent. According to the President doing so is a “window of the unlawful act and pursuit of personal gain.” He told them that it would be wise that expansion of land is authorized by appropriate authority.

Interest in Tawana’s Mofe Creek Project

Besides the Hummingbird concession, List and her company are also reportedly showing interest in projects currently licensed to the Australian firm, Tawana Resources, which is currently involved in mining operations in the Mofe Creek project which has a Mineral Resource at 61.9Mt at 33% Fe.

The company recently transferred Mofe Creek assets and others in Western Australia to a wholly-owned public company (SpinCo), before undertaking a capital reduction and distribution by way of in-specie distribution of 85% of all SpinCo shares to Tawana Resources’ shareholders.

The Mofe Creek project is located within one of Liberia’s historic premier iron ore mining districts and is 10 km along strike from the abandoned Bomi Hills mine, 80 km along strike from the historic Bong Mine, 45 km from the Mano River mine and 20 km from the Bea Mountain resource.

The project is characterized by exceptionally coarse-grained, high-grade itabirite that has the potential to deliver a high-grade product (63%Fe – 68%Fe) at a coarse crush sizing, with high mass recoveries, and potentially low mine stripping ratios and free-dig material.

The project is exceptionally well-located being approximately 20 km from the coast for potential haul-road trucking or conveyor of product to the coast and transshipment via barge to deeper water for on-shipment or barging to the port of Monrovia.

Other possible infrastructure solutions exist: road or rail to the deep-water port of Monrovia via an 80 km sealed road from the central license area or a 65 km decommissioned standard-gauge iron ore railway alignment from the Bomi Hills mine to the port of Monrovia, 17 km east from the easternmost magnetic anomaly.

Proximity to the coast and positive initial metallurgical test-work results suggests the potential for an early start-up, low capital intensity project, with low operating costs.

In 2015, Tawana discovered a new iron ore discovery at the Gofolo prospect within its Mofe Creek Iron project

A year earlier, the company also discovered DSO mineralization containing around 62.8 percent to 66 percent iron.

Aside from the high-grade DSO, Tawana Resources has previously discovered a strike of friable itabirite mineralization in the Goehn prospect, part of its ongoing low-cost exploration strategy over the recently acquired Mofe Creek South license.

At the time, the itabirite discovery is one of the four additional high-property target areas defined within the Mofe Creek South license area and has similar geological characteristics to the 61.9mn tonnes at 33 percent iron maiden resource estimate.

Interest in Putu Iron Ore MDA

List and her company are also said to be tracking the Russian Iron Ore Company, Putu Mining operations which have been dormant for some time since it shut down its activities in Liberia.

The Putu mine is a large iron mine located in south-east Liberia in Grand Gedeh County and represents one of the largest iron ore reserves in Liberia and in the world with an estimated reserve of 2.37 billion tonnes of ore grading 34.1% iron metal.

In March 2017, Liberian authorities confirmed that Putu was exiting Liberia because it could not handle the mining process singlehandedly. “From all practical purposes, Putu is basically out of Liberia but technically the MDA is still valid though Putu walked away from the agreement,” former Lands, Mines and Energy Minister Patrick Sendolo said in March 2017 during an appearance before a Senate committee.

FrontPageAfrica has learned that the Weah administration is currently making moves in the direction of canceling the Putu MDA and thereby offering an opening for List’s BCM Group to take over the mining operation.

Multiple sources have confirmed to FrontPageAfrica that List’s BCM group has also been pressuring the administration to give up the Wologisi Mountain range.

Link to Presidential Directive

All this on the heels of a May 7, 2018 presidential directive to the Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy, Mr. Gesler E. Murray to forward all applications for the issuance of Mining/Mineral Licenses to the President’s Office for review prior to final approval.

President Weah’s office says the move is intended to safeguard the country’s natural resources for the benefit of all Liberians. But experts say it violates the mining laws of Liberia.

The Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy (MLME) was established by a 1972 Act of Legislature to administer all activities relative to land, mineral, water and energy resource exploration, coordination and development in the Republic of Liberia, giving the ministry the sole authority to manage the mineral sector. With those responsibilities now under the guidance of the ministry of state, critics say issues of conflict of interests could trigger a wave of potential problems for the Weah presidency in the not too distant future.