Int’l Advocacy Organization Calls On Liberian Govt To Conclude High Profile Corruption Cases

img_1110The International Justice Group (IJG), a newly formed global advocacy, research, documentation and accountability organization based in the United States and Europe with operations in Africa, Asia as well as South and Central Americas, is calling on the Liberian administration of current President George M. Weah to ensure an end to several high profile corruption cases in the country, especially the cases involving an Iron Deal carried out at the Port of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, and the Sable Mining bribery saga in Liberia.


The Iron Ore sale corruption case which took place under interim president, the late Gyude Bryant (then Chairman of Liberia’s transitional government) involved the following witnesses: Johnathan Mason, formerly of the Lands and Mines Ministry,  Mr. Albert Chie (current President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate), Lusine Kamara, former Minister of Finance, Isaac Nyenabo, former Comptroller General of Liberia, Tugbeh Doe, a former Deputy Minister of Finance and now a businessman, Pyne Walo, former Deputy Minister for Expenditure at the Ministry of Finance, Abraham Teplah Doe, a U.S. citizen, Thomas Niminie Yaya, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Richard Devine, current chairman of the National Port Authority’s board of directors among others.

In its blog post, Counselor Jerome J. Verdier, Sr., former chairman of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and founding executive director of the International Justice Group remarked, “Why should anyone or a group of individuals get involved with the selling of iron ore that belongs to an entire country without any proper legal authority?”

Iron Ore Mining - Liberia
Iron Ore Mining-Liberia File Photo

At the time when the country’s Iron Ore was sold out of Liberia, the International Justice Group’s director was a part of Liberia’s civil society when they got a tip-off on the illegal sale. Counselor Verdier immediately proceeded to the Supreme Court of Liberia and filed a Petition asking for a stop order for the ship not to leave the Port of Buchanan. According to Counselor Verdier, the then justice minister under Chairman Bryant disobeyed the Court’s order and ran the ship out of Buchanan.

According to Executive Director Verdier, the case is still pending before the Supreme Court and it is a big case but the Court has failed to decide it because of the very important justice and human rights issues raised. For example:

  1. the court had to determine that natural resources are people property. It belongs to the people and the government cannot dispose of it in any way that doesn’t benefit the people.
  2. the people have proprietary rights inherent in the natural resources and have a right to sue the government when those rights are violated.
  3. that apart from the right to sue government citizens have the right to recover damages from the government for the violation of those rights, and
  4. the petition was elaborate on natural resource exploitation and distribution and use. The court refused to rule twice because of the several unprecedented issues which would have changed how our resources are managed and exploited. Some of those issues are similar objectives as in the TRC Recommendations on Natural Resources.

When the current Executive Director of the International Justice Group went public with the case, the then Chief Justice at the time called him in audience and said in the end, “Look Counselor Verdier, you are young and there are lots of things you don’t understand but one day you will be in my position and you will understand why we cannot decide this case………..”


In another major alleged corruption case involving Sable Mining and some former and current Liberian officials and others including former House Speaker Alex Tyler, the International Justice Group is calling on the Weah administration to conclude the case to determine the facts.

Sable Mining Case Indictees - Courtesy of Daily Observer Newspaper
Suspects Named By Global Witness in the Sable Mining case (clockwise): Sen. Varney Sherman, J. Alex Tyler, Dr. Eugene Shannon, Former PPCC Chairman Willie Belleh, Sen. Morris Saytumah and Dr. Richard V. Tolbert – Courtesy Daily Observer

In a lower court’s ruling, the judge had mysteriously refused to admit the emails from one of the accused persons, Senator Varney Sherman, showing that he had bribed the officials and others. But the Supreme Court, in a ruling, says the lower court’s judge ruling was alien to Liberia’s jurisdiction. In the view of the International Justice Group, this calls into question the judge’s incompetence which could also be a ground for a possible removal from office if the case remains unresolved.

Based on the Supreme Court’s decision, it appears the prosecution in the Sable Mining’s case was in the right on this matter without explicitly giving reasons as to whether the accused persons are guilty. Therefore, the International Justice Group is calling on the Weah’s administration to take the bold step in concluding this landmark corruption case which has claimed the attention of the US and the UK. This is necessary because the ruling of the Supreme Court appears to vindicate the prosecution without affirming charges against those accused, or clearing their names from the charges.

Liberia Justice Minister Frank Musa Dea
Liberia Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean

The international Justice Group is also demanding an audit of all government’s agencies in the past administration where alleged corruption cases were rumored to have taken place. These include the ministries of finance, defense, and agriculture as well as the National Port Authority among others.

Source: International Justice Group (IJG)


Published by

West African Journal Magazine

The West African Journal was a major magazine publication in the United States with a focus on the Mano River region and West Africa sub-region during the civil crises in Liberia and neighboring countries during the decades of the 1990s. This was the period when many citizens and others in the sub-region were fleeing their homeland due to conflicts, and the magazine was a reliable source of information covering developments in the region and in the Diaspora.  However, the magazine suspended publication several years ago but is now back. It is, therefore, delightful that The West African Journal has been reactivated. The print edition of the magazine, to be published monthly and distributed in the United States, West Africa, and other parts of the world, will provide analysis of the major events of the period under review. Due to challenges relating to availability of reading materials in the sub-region, a few hundred copies of every edition of the magazine will be distributed free of charge to libraries and reading rooms at schools and institutions of higher learning in the sub-West Africa sub-region. The Journal covers government/politics, economics/international trade/investment and partnerships, women's issues, showcase of tourism and historic attractions in West Africa in particular, and Africa in general, as well as cover the Diaspora, entrepreneurship, among others. The Journal also taps into growing interest in the Unites States regarding resource-rich Africa as the next frontier for global economic progress amid an increasing global competition for access to the continent’s abundant natural resources. The magazine will regularly cover bilateral and multilateral partnerships between the US/multinational agencies and Africa/individual African countries. More importantly, in considering the danger of Climate Change and Global Warming, The Journal serves as a strong and unrelenting advocate to create international awareness regarding Climate Change, especially how West African countries and the African Continent as a whole are being negatively impacted. Through its environmental coverage, The Journal promotes education and awareness for people to be empowered. Our experienced team of editors, reporters and feature writers are excited to bring the stories that impact politics, finance, economy, arts, health, education, climate change, women and youth issues in Africa today. Contact The West African Journal is registered and published in Washington, D.C., U.S.A. Plans are underway to open a bureau office in Liberia, from which operations in other West African countries will be coordinated. Our journalists, who bring decades of high engagement of news and reportage, include former BBC veteran correspondent Isaac D.E. Bantu, former Daily Observer Features Editor and publisher of the West African Journal Joe S. Kappia, and Pana Press Editor Tepitapia K. Sannah, and respected Photo journalist and editor Gregory Stemn. These experienced and internationally-respected journalists ensure a high standard of professional journalism. Information and inquiries for The West African Journal should be directed to the following: Editor-in-Chief; Email: Isaac D.E. Bantu: Publishing Partner; Email: Mailing Address: P.O. Box 55053, Washington, D.C. 20040-5053 USA Thank you. Managing Editor