Credit reports in the Liberian media regarding the ongoing investigation into the alleged bribery by British Mining Company Sable Mining being conducted by the Liberian Special Presidential Task Force headed by Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa muscling its strength to bring to book this linked in the Global Witness exposed bribery scandal, international interventions are said to be underway to aid the Koffa’s Task-Force.
According to a local daily quoting credible international sources, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may be involved in the probe, following former British Prime Minister David Cameroon recent promised that his country will cooperate with the corruption probe and is willing to help Liberia fight corruption wherever it is discovered.
This effort being applied by the FBI to aid the Liberian Government bring to book those foreign nationals linked to the scandal is a result of Global Witness’ vigorous efforts in exposing criminals around the globe who are finding pleasure in exploiting countries resources with impunity.
This reported effort by the FBI to assist the Task-Force in the probe has been welcomed by dozens of Liberians who spoke to GNN over the weekend, noting this move by the FBI to assist the task-force probe those foreign nationals; executives of the Stable Mining must be lauded.
“We must commend the US and the British Governments in this direction, their involvement in this probe will help in bringing to justice those foreign nationals,” Annie Benson a residence of central Monrovia in a chat with our reporter stressed.
“I am indeed overwhelmed of this news that the FBI is getting involve in the probe of the Stable Mining. This stance by the international investigators is worth millions of praises. These guys must be brought to justice,” Nathaniel Jacobs a university, speaking to the GNN said.
According to FPA, quoting a US source, it has been mutually agreed between Global Witness and some officials of the US State Department for the FBI to assist in the probe.
The FPA source confirmed that a recent meeting was held in Washington DC between representatives of Global Witness and the US State Department where it was mutually agreed that FBI agents will assist in the investigation.
“Global Witness and State Department have meeting in Washington last week and are pleased with Liberia; Liberia initiated formal request for mutual legal assistance which will bring FBI formally in the case”, the FPA source said.
The Government of Liberia through the Task Force has been probing the saga and has already indicted a number of individuals including Grand Cape Mount County Senator, Cllr. Varney Sherman, House of Representatives Speaker Alex Tyler, former Chairman of the National Investment Commission, Dr. Richard Tolbert, Sable Mining Company and others.
The case is currently ongoing while the Task Force is still seeking vital information to pursue the case. Recently the Task Force dispatched a team to the United Kingdom to gather more information.
The Task Force increased the number of indictees recently when it indicted Sable Mining, its CEO Andrew Grooves and Mr. Heine van Niekerk who was the COO for Sable in West Africa along with others on multiple criminal charges including economic sabotage, criminal facilitation, bribery, criminal conspiracy, money laundering.
Global Witness alleged in its report the ‘Deceivers’ that Sable paid nearly US$1 million to bribe Liberian government officials to made changes to the Public Procurement and Concession Law of Liberia to grant the mining company the exclusive right to mine the Wologizi Mountain in Lofa County.
Following his indictment, Grooves angrily reacted describing Liberia as a corrupt country, where he said there is no justice, saying the indictment is politically motivated.
“Mr. Groves believes that these allegations are politically motivated ahead of the imminent presidential elections, and are specifically designed to undermine the candidacy of Varney Sherman, one of Liberia’s most respected lawyers, and Alex Tyler, the speaker of parliament and also a presidential candidate. Mr. Sherman is a highly respected and preeminent member of Liberian society and it is beyond comprehension that he would be involved in the matters in question”, stated the Sable CEO.
Grooves declared that the justice system in Liberia is flawed and there can be no transparency.
“It is difficult to see how, in a country with a deeply flawed justice system and an appalling record for corruption, a task force set up only 4 weeks ago can already have undertaken a thorough review of the allegations first raised by Global Witness and then perpetuated in the world’s press. To date, no evidence has been presented to support these allegations against Mr. Groves. During the period in question, Mr. Heine van Niekerk was the COO for Sable in West Africa and was given full responsibility to manage operations in Liberia”, stated Groves.
He outlined that it is difficult to have faith that any inquiry will be transparent or fair given the backdrop of Liberia being one of the world’s most corrupt countries, the task force led by convicted felons and people he referred to as misfits lacking the credentials to mount a legitimate, impartial, fully transparent investigation.
The level of assurances from the international circle to help Liberia with the probe is a sign that the country is pushing hard to get some results from the ongoing investigation.