Global Witness, in the report alleged that it uncovered over US$950,000 in bribes and other suspicious payments by a UK mining firm, Sable Mining, through its Liberian lawyer, Cllr. Varney Sherman to past and current officials of government to have the company get hold of the concession for Mount Wologizi in Lofa County.
However, Deputy Information Minister Isaac Jackson, clarified that the government has never initiated, commissioned, nor participated in any process for granting a concession of the Wologizi Mountains to Sable Mining Company.
He disclosed that in 2013 President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her Guinean
counterpart 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.
Jackson asserted that parties to the negotiations included the Governments of Liberia and Guinea, West Africa Exploration, which is an affiliate of Sable and Arcelor-Mittal which currently has a Mineral Development Agreement with Liberia which grants it first party use of the rail.
The Information Ministry official pointed out that 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 practices.
He reassured Global Witness and other international partners as well as the general public of the government’s commitment to ensuring openness, transparency and good governance and will continue to maintain its zero-tolerance posture on corruption as it will spare no efforts in getting to the bottom of the allegation and bring those found culpable to justice.
The Global Witness report accused House Speaker Alex Tyler, former National Investment Commission Chairman Richard Tolbert, Morris Saytumah, former Minister of State for Economic and Legal Affairs now Senator of Bomi County, and Willie Belleh, former Chairman of the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission, among others, of receiving US$75,000, US$50,000 and US$10,000 respectively as “consultancy fees.”