‘Liberia Needs to Partner with Trustworthy Int’l Investors’

first_imgLiberia’s Minister of Mines and Energy, Gessler Murray (center) introduces a delegate to President George M. Weah (right) at the SEMICA Liberia Mining and Energy Conference. -Prez Weah tells SEMICA confab participantsPresident George Weah said for Liberia to reap the benefits of its natural resources that would transform the economy by bringing prosperity to the Liberian people, “We will need to partner with trustworthy international investors.”President Weah made the remarks on Thursday, November 28, 2019, during the opening of SEMICA 2019 Liberia mining, energy, and exhibition conference held at a resort in Monrovia.“It is a well-known fact that Liberia is a resource-rich country endowed with an abundance of mineral resources, which include gold, diamonds, bauxite, iron ore, uranium, and prospective reserves of oil and gas,” President Weah told the gathering.The SEMICA Liberia 2019, is an international convention, and exhibition aimed at showcasing Liberia’s potential in mining, energy, and petroleum.The 3-day event (November 28-30) brought together government officials, including Dr. Marc-Antoine Audet, president and chief executive officer of SAMA Resources; Sylvain Some, General Director of Mines and Geology, Ministry of Mines and Quarries, Burkina Faso; local and international partners, and representatives from the diplomatic corps.“I have previously declared that Liberia is opened for business, especially for all of those that are willing to participate — on a fair, honest, and equitable basis — in the development of our resources, culminating in win-win partnerships that are respectful of the mutual interests of all parties involved,” the President said.He continued: “This conference, therefore, will give you the opportunity to have a better appreciation of our available natural resources, and enable you to see the full potential in the mining, energy, and hydrocarbon sectors. I am hopeful that the interactions afforded you in this forum, between potential investors and the relevant officials of our Government will be fruitful and productive to our mutual benefit.”The Minister of Mines and Energy, Gesler E. Murray, said the country has a rich endowment of mineral resources that need to be capitalized to create wealth, and grow a healthy macro-economy.Murray said the World Bank Liberia Country Economist issued a report in October this year, which indicated that the mining sector grew by 7% compared to the non-mining sectors, such as agriculture and manufacturing, which declined by 3.4%.“This signifies that the mining sector has the potential to be an engine of growth; a key strategy of our government to use the sector revenue to stimulate growth in agriculture, manufacturing hospitality, tourism, and fishery,” Mr. Murray said.He said since the sitting of the Weah-led Administration in January of 2018, the Ministry of Mines and Energy along with other stakeholder institutions has exerted efforts to reopen derelict iron ore mines, as well as bring into operations new ones.Mr. Murray said falling prices of iron ore in the last several years in the global commodities market were invariably linked to accelerated developments of iron ore projects.He said the forecast by some analysts that global iron ore production will grow 0.9% annually until 2028, offers a glimmer of hope for the Liberian iron ore industry.“This is also promising news for the Euronimba and other mining projects in nearby Guinea that are seeking to transship and export mining produces using Liberian rail and port facilities. To this effect, the governments of Guinea and Liberia signed an implementation agreement in October this year for the shared-use of resources and infrastructure between the countries,” said Murray.Mr. Murray said Liberia is now shifting the paradigm by diversifying more into gold, diamonds and non-traditional minerals, such as coltan, lithium, graphite, bauxite, barite, phosphate, and base metals.He said Liberia is looking forward to more exploration companies taking up grounds to assess the potentials of these minerals.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

British High Commission holds off on further collaboration with SOCU

first_imgThe British Government is currently awaiting the outcome of the recent probe conducted into allegations of fraud at the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) before determining the way forward in terms of collaborating with the agency.This is according to British High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn, who told reporters on the sidelines of an event on Tuesday that while they are reviewing relations with SOCU internally, his Government is still willing to continue its relations with the Unit.“We’ve been assisting SOCU from the inception so there is certainly an expectation that we would get requests to continue to work with SOCU and I wouldn’t rule out that. We would continue to work with SOCU going forward,” he stated.However, High Commissioner Quinn outlined the importance of SOCU operating within the confines of what it was created to do. This, he noted, has been the goal of all the assistance the country has been providing to the investigative body, which has now been slapped with damning fraud allegations.“We’ll certainly consider any requests going forward… But there is also the question of the current investigation that’s going on in SOCU and we’d want to be sure of the outcome of that because, fundamentally and ultimately, whatever we want to be done, we want to do with an organisation that’s operating the way it should be,” he stated.The British envoy went on to note, however, they are at the stage where they are trying to figure out what might be feasible going forward given the fact that this is the last term for the existing programme which former UK Advisor, Dr Sam Sittlington, was on.Dr Sittlington, who was fired by the UK Government back in January over a private fraud company he had set up here, was brought as an advisor to SOCU on a three-year contract. The fraud expert’s tenure in Guyana would have been up in March 2020 and according to High Commissioner Quinn, there was never any intention of extending or continuing that programme.However, the British diplomat told Guyana Times, when asked, that now that circumstances have changed and the work is undone, then there is a possibility that his Government can start a new programme with a new expert but this, he insists, will depend on the outcome of the current fraud probe at SOCU.“So we are still at the stage where we’re trying to figure out what might be feasible given the fact that we are already nearly three months into what might have been the last year of the contract anyway. So we have to figure out whether by the time we have someone trained up, selected and ready (to take over) how much time they might actually have left to do some work within SOCU… But it might actually be easier for us to look at a future programme and future series of activities separate from what (already) we have here,” High Commissioner Quinn pointed out.SOCU, the orgainsation that is supposed to be investigating fraud, has found itself under scrutiny in recent months after allegations of fraud were levelled against the agency, which falls under the Guyana Police Force (GPF).The audit that was conducted by the Police Force had unearthed irregularities that included falsified records and missing documents. According to reports, there was even a case of an official who alleged his signature was forged. In addition, there are reports of listed expenditure being concocted and receipts being backdated.Last week, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan told media operatives that the file of the fraud probe has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for legal advice. The Minister had noted that there is a possibility that criminal charges may be filed against officers found culpable.According to Ramjattan, the audit into SOCU made some damning allegations and legal advice will be needed on how to proceed.“It is not a nice report. It had some damning allegations. But these are operational matters now, the implementation of the recommendations is in the hands of the (Police) Commissioner. I understand the Commissioner, because of the damning nature of the allegations, has decided to take it to the DPP’s Chambers and the legal advisers. That will take some time,” Ramjattan had stated.The Public Security Minister had noted that even a restructuring of the Unit is not on the table, adding that fixing SOCU requires that the recommendations from the fraud probe be followed.According to Ramjattan, they have not sat down with Sydney James to have him defend his Unit against the findings of the auditors.Despite this however, the parliamentary Opposition People’s Progressive Party had called for the shutting down of the Unit in light of these allegations. But Ramjattan does not believe the now tainted integrity of the Unit will affect the many cases pending, most of which are against officials of the former PPP Administration.The PPP had long accused the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change coalition of using SOCU as part of a witching hunting exercise against former Government officials.last_img read more