Monrovia - The Acting Chairman of the Democratic Alliance Mr. Lewis Brown has welcome news about the recent merger arrangements between the Liberty Party and the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC). Similarly, we welcome the decision of Counselor Charles Walker Brumskine and Ambassador George Weah to run on a united ticket. The DA wishes these political organizations well.
“We cannot wait for election results to create jobs; to improve the capacities of Liberians; to encourage Liberian equity participation in the economy; to subsidize and collateralize SMEs for qualified Liberians many of whom are being economically left aside by half-baked programs of downsizing and rightsizing; to present a tax regime that is conducive to investment, trade and development; and to avoid the pursuit of selfish interests in the repeated awards of concessions and contracts that bear no linkages to improving the socioeconomic conditions of the people.”
|Lewis Brown, Acting Chairman, Democratic Alliance|
The DA Acting Chair also congratulated the President and the ruling Unity Party on the successful conduct of its national convention a few weeks ago.
Brown explains that the DA aims to provide the Liberian electorates with a more credible alternative to the ruling party. “Of necessity, such alternatives must comprise individuals and political institutions with whom the DA shares similar values not only to win the 2011 elections on a single slate of candidates but also, and more importantly, to govern within an institutionalized democratic framework by which we would hold ourselves in check. The time is now to unite the country, to reconcile the people, and to transition our society from the failures of the past which led us to war into a future of sustainable peace, equality, democracy and shared prosperity.”
Nevertheless, Brown noted that in the months leading to next year’s elections, there are national challenges still lingering as he took a stab at the current government for failing to address the needs of the ordinary Liberians. Said Brown: “We cannot wait for election results to create jobs; to improve the capacities of Liberians; to encourage Liberian equity participation in the economy; to subsidize and collateralize SMEs for qualified Liberians many of whom are being economically left aside by half-baked programs of downsizing and rightsizing; to present a tax regime that is conducive to investment, trade and development; and to avoid the pursuit of selfish interests in the repeated awards of concessions and contracts that bear no linkages to improving the socioeconomic conditions of the people.”
The DA chairman also pointed to the recent carbon credit controversy which he said raised questions about the integrity of the post-war government. “The Liberian people were alerted to alleged fraud and bribery by government officials and functionaries in the Carbon Harvesting ignominy. The allegations gain prominence perhaps because of the intervention of Global Witness and other external actors. As yet, still unable to identify the location of the more than 400,000 hectares of land in Rivercess County which is the subject of the purported contract, high ranking officials of the government and relatives of the President are again being accused of surrendering the rights and wealth of unsuspecting Liberians many of whom are living in abject poverty without due diligence and in furtherance of wholly selfish intentions.”
Blasting ‘Fraudulent’ Elenilto deal
Besides the carbon deal, the DA chair also took aim at the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf administration handling of the equally scandalous award of Liberia’s iron ore resources in the Western Cluster Bid to Elenilto Minerals and Mining Company (Elenilto). The award of the Western Cluster Bid to Elenilto, according to Brown, appears to be fraudulently deceptive and engineered only to enrich a few at the expense of the many. “Here again, the facts are well known. In fact, every responsible agency of the Liberian government is now aware of the incapacity of Elenilto to administer the Western Cluster Iron Ore Deposit. The shocking truth is that Elenilto does not meet the minimum requirements to be awarded this precious natural resource. This is according to the administration’s own due diligence report. It is puzzling therefore that the administration through the Inter Ministerial Technical Committee (IMTC), headed by the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, and the Inter Ministerial Concession Commission (IMCC), headed by the National Investment Commission will set its own diligence report aside.”
Brown said according to the due diligence report which we present to you, Elenilto Minerals and Mining Company, a company which has been awarded a 2.5 billion dollar project that should provide 4,000 jobs to the economically depressed counties of Bomi and Cape Mount comprise the following technical, professional and financial profile:
Elenilto is two years old having been formed only in 2008.
Elenilto has no experience in iron ore mining anywhere on the planet.
Elenilto did not present financial statements during the bidding process when a five year history of financial statements was a requirement. Even the partner, Engelinvest, the parent company, does not have a five year history of financial statements. Even more disturbing, the Auditing Firm of Deloitte and Touche is unable to verify any information in the due diligence report presented by Elenilto.
Elenilto provided a technical and financial partner who should aid its working of the Western Cluster. The partner, IMC/DMT does not possess the money or technical ability to carry out mining in the Western Cluster. There is no technical history to attest to the capacity of Elenilto to conduct mining operations. There is no financial history to Elenilto to also attest to its capacity to underwrite the cost of mining and employing Liberians. Brown said Elenilto has no demonstrated experience in an environmental or social impact assessment for a mine producing at least ten million metric tons per annum or any mine for that matter. “ The information provided on the backer of Elenilto, Mr. Jacob Engel is not verified by the due diligence or from sources that are dependable. The company’s reliance on raising the necessary capital to fund the Western Cluster could not be successful.”
Continued Brown: “As you will easily determine from the due diligence report, two other companies were involved in the Western Cluster Iron Ore bid. Capital Steel Holdings, a subsidiary of Shougang Corporation of China, a multi-billion dollar company with known expertise in iron ore production around the world and Sociedade de Fomento Industrial Private Limited, an iron ore producing company with decades of experience in iron ore mining in India. Are we to conclude that the Liberian Government is seeking to award the Western cluster to the least experienced, the least technical, and the least financially capable company? As the due diligence report suggests, this is exactly what the administration has shockingly done.”
The DA chair wondered how did a virtually unknown company with no money; no history in iron ore production anywhere on the planet; and no proven technical capacity get a 2.5 billion dollar iron ore project in Liberia, especially at a time when we need to create jobs and to fight poverty?
Said Brown: “After the Carbon Harvesting blowback and now Elenilto are we wrong to believe that we are being exposed to the character and pattern which saw the award of a record number of concessions which were recently concluded and ratified, many without being read by members of the Legislature? Are we right to conclude that this is the so-called resourcefulness to which some are referring?”
Brown noted that poverty, ignorance, and disease which breed unrests and insecurity will continue to stalk our communities, in a land that God has richly blessed with plenty, if Liberians continue their designs of mismanagement and the pursuit of personal interests to the exclusion of the aspirations of the underprivileged many. Brown said the Democratic Alliance believes that no national challenge being faced in Liberia today is greater than healing “fractured nation and exuding, by the faithful examples of leadership, the simple belief often enunciated – the belief that we will rise or we will fall together.”
Brown also called on the administration to cancel the award of the Western Cluster to Elenilto. “We also call on the administration to create an independent commission of Liberians and international partners to investigate the process and roles of individuals and agencies in this award. Not to do so is to critically derail the expectation of the Liberian people for change and improved management of our resources.”