USAID, EU, Foreign Mining Experts to Testify in US$950K Bribery Case

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Few of the bribery suspects, as claimed by Global Witness, in the Sable Mining case (clockwise): Sen. Varney Sherman, J. Alex Tyler, Dr. Eugene Shannon, PPCC Chairman Willie Belleh, Sen. Morris Saytumah and Dr. Richard V. Tolbert

Dr. Paul Jourdan, a South African geologist and mining expert from the Governance and Economic Management Assistance Program (GEMAP) sponsored by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with other experts who proposed the new section into the 2005 Act; section ’75’, which was later amended in 2010, is among several international expert witnesses to testify in the ongoing US$950,000 alleged Global Witness reported bribery scandal.

Dr. Jourdan, according to Criminal Court ‘C’ records, collaborated with a Ghanaian lawyer and mineral expert, Dr.  Fui S. Tshikata, who will also testify, came to Liberia under the USAID’s GEMAP program through the International Business Initiative of the State of Virginia in the United States of America to carry out the amendment.

Also, Dr. J. Christian Ngot Konglo, a Ugandan mineral and mining expert, who was sponsored by the European Union (EU) offices in Liberia to assist the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) with the drafting of the interim procedures for the issuance of mineral exploration license without tender, which led to the issuance of the PPCC’s regulation No. 002 of the controversial Section ’75’, is also expected to testify over the matter.

Jourdan, Tshikata and Ngot Konglo’s testimonies resulted from a request by defendants Sherman and his co-defendants asking the court to issue a Writ of Subpoenas AD Testificadum and Subpoenas Duces Tecum, compelling them to appear and testify as to whether there were changes made on the amended PPCC Act of 2010 as claimed by prosecutors.

The request was issued to the court on Wednesday, December 12, 2018.

It was not clear when the court will issue the subpoena, especially to those foreign experts, who currently reside in foreign lands, “because the court has to use the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to communicate with their counterpart to ensure the appearance of those witnesses.”

Global Witness in 2016 released a report – The Deceivers – and accused Senator Varney G. Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County then lawyer of Sable Mining Africa Limited, a UK mining company, of receiving more than US$900,000 to bribe senior government officials in an effort to change Section ’75’ of the PPCC law for the sole purpose of granting the company a non-bidding right to the Wologizi Mountain in Lofa County.

It was against Global Witness’s report that the government indicted Senator Sherman and several public officials of multiple criminal charges that included economic sabotage and bribery, of which accusation Sherman and the other defendants have asked the court to subpoena the international and local mining experts to testify as to whether there were any changes made to the PPCC Act.

Andrew Groves, a British national and former executive of the defunct Sable Mining, also subpoenaed to provide testimony about the government’s allegation that he gave to co-defendants Eugene Shannon and Ernest C.B. Jones then minister of Lands, Mine and Energy, and his deputy an amount of US$500,000 as bribe to facilitate the amendment of the act.

Also, Heine Van Nerkierk, a South African national and former executive of Sable Mining, would testify whether he actually gave a spreadsheet and matrix that should disburse some of the money that was given to defendant Sherman for onward payment to co-defendants Alex Tyler, former House Speaker Richard Tolbert, former chairman of the National Investment Commission (NIC), Senator Morris Saytumah of Bomi County, and Willie Belleh, former PPCC chairman, as bribe to facilitate the changing of the Act, according to prosecutors.

Former Montserrado County District# 4 Representative and former secretary general of the erstwhile ruling Unity Party Henry Fahnbulleh, who was listed in the spreadsheet and matrix as one of those who allegedly received US$25,000 from defendant Sherman as part of the bribe, was also subpoenaed to testify.

Current Deputy Minister for Planning Carlton Miller of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, who by then was in that very position, is testifying about a recent statement he made during his confirmation at the Senate where he said he was involved and knowledgeable about the process of amending the Act.

Others who are expected to testify are Joseph Neufville, executive director of the PPCC from 2006 to 2009, Mrs. Esther Paegar, former co-chair of the PPCC, as well as  Lawrence Kennedy and Jones Williams of Global Media and Communication LLC of the State of Maryland, USA, and Madam Mildred Sayon, clerk of the House of Representatives, and Norbollor Singbe, secretary of the Senate respectively.

12 COMMENTS

      • You mean Ellen. But then she and those strings are doomed to having their own “funeral”; since political witch hunts are only successful when instigator of the witch hunt or the witch is the power. And in this case where those who were hunted and those in power now and for the coming 12 or more years are brothers dwelling in unity, the witch, amid it’s doomed failure may just, out of frustration, lose her broom stick and end up crawling back into her cage for the rest of her life in darkness and hell as those who have escaped from her, live happily ever after.

  1. One wonders why this article makes no mention of the two super culprits: “Big Boy 1” and “Big Boy 2”. It would difficult if not impossible to unravel this case if those two are not identified and brought to trial along with the rest of the defendants.

  2. Kortuwah,
    You’re right.
    I have the hunch that the faces of the “two big boys” will be exposed before the case concludes. There could be more boys and girls whose faces will pop up as the saga unfolds. The fact that the EU, USAID and others may testify guves me hope.

    My other concern is whether the culprits or the “two big boys” will be severely punished regardless of their clout or influence when the case concludes.

    Weah cannot punish. The lawmakers cannot punish. The courts in Liberia have the responsibility to punish all guilty individuals. Time will tell.

  3. Former NIC Commissioner does not have a PhD to be referred to as Dr. this or that. The man has a JD (Juris Doctorate) which is a first professional degree in law. JD degrees are awarded to 1st degree holders from the US and Canada. The JD is a like a LLB in Liberia. It is follow by an LLM (Masters) and a LL.D (Doctorate). Stop calling the man Dr.

  4. ON ANOTHER NOTE: Liberia’s problems began in 1892 with the True Whig Party [TWP], and NOT since 1847 when J.J. Roberts was President! ‘‘The True Whig Party [TWP] historians’’ do not write about these historical facts. The True Whig Party members, a majority group, suffered from an identity crisis vis-à-vis the Founding Fathers of the minority original Republican Party [1847-1870] which was worsened by the Stockholm Syndrone. When the TWP took over [1870-1872=2 years] it FAILED miserably! This led to POWER SHARING [1872-1892=20 years]. With no other choice due to their incompetence, President J.J. Roberts, Republican, was re-elected a 2nd non-consecutive term by a ‘Joint Convention’. The TWP later became the ruling majority party [1892-1980=88 years] when ‘doing things the Liberian way’ was introduced. From 1892-2018, we’re still talking about corruption, greed, abuse of resources, and the lack of transparency and accountability in government. The rest is history… WHO KNOWS THIS?

  5. “Foreign Monopoly Capitals”, a puppeteer which is Africa’s greatest enemy, along with BLACK CORRUPTION, are the most potent driven forces behind our set back.
    Put money in the average black man’s pocket , car to his disposal, access to women: You got him. He will do anything for you. Even if it means to kill his own people, as we always see being done. Since he does not own and operates production to perpetuate prosperity, he doesn’t care the consequences of his action toward his fellow country man.
    A carry out mentality, “Just grab and go”.

  6. I hope I am not side tracking, may I ask what is happening with the Matilda Parker’s NPA case, are we ever going to get the end result? In the mentioned case, it is the people’s money, unlike the above mentioned case where it is foreign money used to “bribe;” just wondering.

  7. She smiled and nodded at me, but she had been very sweet the whole time. Unlike her awful husband, who was trying to convince us she was fine to get on a plane! I hope she’s doing well.

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