LIBERIA: SOLWAY MINING SITE STILL UNDER SIEGE BY COUNTRY DEVILS
As ArcelorMittal endeavors to take over Solway’s iron project in Nimba, score of citizens from the affected communities and critics have taken stance to react to the emerging development. Speaking on a local radio station early this week, a youth leader of Zor Chiefdom Cyrus Bartuah called on chiefs and local leaders of the chiefdom to stay away from signing any memorandum of understanding orchestrated by Mr. Alford B. Morgan and the ArcelorMittal group. He noted that signing a document without proper understanding is detrimental and its legal implications maybe disastrous.
On Saturday 28, October 2023, several country devils entered the site, chased all workers away and took control of the area as an expression of the disenchantment of the local population who are still in sympathy with Solway.
“We cannot sit here and see such act of criminality go on unpunished. Hundreds of our children were working for Solway. The company built schools, gave help to our hospitals, took care of pregnant women who were coming from inaccessible places to be in Zorgowee until they deliver, we owe Solway a lot because they did all these while they had not yet got their MDA. How come Alford Boimah MORGAN who was receiving salary from the same company will go convince the President that the company belongs to him? The President did not do due diligence to the investors, and that is caring for any other investors.” An elderly man told this paper.
Recently, Mr. Alford B. Morgan the owner of International Logistics (Interlog) secretly stroke a deal with ArcelorMittal UK to sell the property of Solway Mining Inc. without the consent of majority shareholder Solway Swiss.
The fifty (50) million United States Dollars deal involves key people connected to the Weah led government. Dr. James Kollie a cousin of US sanctioned former Minister of States and Presidential Affairs Nathaniel McGill, together with Finance Minister Samuel Tweah (also sanctioned under US Visa restrictions), Pro Temp Albert Chie, Minister of Mines Gesler Murray, Chairman of NIC Molewuleh Gray and Liberia’s Maritime boss Eugen Nagbe were accordingly involved in aiding Morgan to frustrate the investors.
Sources said Mr. Morgan’s Company International Logistics (InterLog) is at the verge of being contracted by ArcelorMittal to provide geologic and logistics services to the world steel giant if the MoU is finalized.
It could be recalled in late 2021, workers of Interlog on Mount Blei plan to file a law suit against the CEO of International Logistics Mr. Alford Morgan for bad labor practices. It was established that the three years of Interlog operation as contracting company to Solway Mining Inc. the management refused to remit social security and income taxes deducted from workers. Mr. Morgan apologized to the workers but refused to remit workers’ taxes in government’s treasury despite repetitive written requests from Solway Swiss to do so.
Critics have said hiring the service of Alford Morgan and Interlog with such a poor track record will clearly expose the intention of ArcelorMittal toward the citizens of Liberia. They had previously called on the world steel giant to do due diligence and cautioned the entity not to enter into business deal with Interlog.
Meanwhile, Solway has started legal proceedings against President Weah and his Government to recover their license and/or fair compensation.
This paper has obtained documents showing that this transaction was allowed by President Weah and signed by the Minister of Justice himself alongside the signature of 3 ArcelorMittal senior executive, Petrus Stephanus Buys as Executive Vice President and CEO of Mining, Ram Chandra Saraf as Director of ArcelorMittal UK and approved internally by the Head of Legal and Compliance of Mittal, Mrs Margaret Clare-Ryan.
“We have heard and seen thick brown envelops changing hands around this transaction. The world is watching but nothing is happening.” An ex-ministry of mines official said.
“We don’t understand what this scamming officials are doing. The Legislature heavily rejected Mittal’s MDA last year sending a 10 page long report highlighting all breaches and defaults by the steel giant”. A local authority told this paper.
Another local authority who is heavily bitter on the way the Government treated these investors, expressed his feelings.
“Swiss company Solway came to Liberia and invested significant amount of capital in our ground as well as within our community.” The former official in Nimba said.