Prosecution’s second witness in the ongoing alleged US$950,000 Global Witness bribery scandal last Friday told Criminal Court ‘C’ that co-defendant Christopher Onanuga, a Nigerian and executive of Delta Mining Consolidated (DMC), received US$50,000 as a bribe from Sable Mining, a UK based mining company.
In his testimony, Blamo Kofa, an investigator at the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), alleged that the payment to Onanuga was to enable him to facilitate the process that will allow Sable to buy a majority share in Delta as an exploration and development company already established in the country, of which he succeeded.
That majority share, Kofa further alleged, gave Sable the opportunity to bid for any concession agreement including the controversial Wologizi Mountain in Lofa County, for which Global Witness claimed co-defendant Varney Sherman, Sable’s Liberian lawyer, received US$950,000 from Sable to bribe top government officials including former House Speaker Alex Tyler.
The payment was intended for Sable Mining to obtain the Wologizi Mountain concession area by bribing some executives of the Legislature to change the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) Act that will declare it a non-bidding area in favor of the UK company.
The payment to Onanuga, Kofa claimed, was discovered in the DMC spreadsheet that was leaked by Heine van Niekerk, a South African and then Delta executive director in Liberia, to Global Witness.
In 2007, DMC won the controversial bid for mining the Western Cluster for iron ore, but that bidding process was later cancelled due to a reported “external influence or financial inducement.”
Kofa claimed the spreadsheet established that Onanuga negotiated for the rebranding of DMC as Sable Mining, the company that Global Witness reportedly linked to the bribery allegation.