Liberia News: China Union ‘Cheating’

Monrovia-April-2-TNR:Several Ellen Johnson Sirleaf era concessions agreement did not meet or go through refined legal requirements, thus rendering their operations largely illegitimate, an investigation revealed then. The weight of the accusation and its potential impact on the country meant nothing to Madam Sirleaf and her administration. Many years after these Agreements were signed, there are much more confusions than the anticipated outcomes of changing the lives of Liberians and the general outlook of the country. As The New Republic finds out, developments in the operation of China Union speak to the ignored realities still hunting and hurting the country.

China Union, one of the major postwar foreign companies that signed mouthwatering Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) with the Liberian Government, is proceeding wrongly relative to the terms and conditions of its operations in the agreement, recent House of Representatives investigation revealed.

Topping what is regarded as the company’s ‘cheating’ undertakings is the failure to fulfill or implement any of its obligations and commitments to Bong County, mainly the areas it is operating, such as conditioning of roads, support to or building of medical facilities, provision of safe drinking water and scholarship opportunities for young high school graduates, as well as other basic social services to citizens.

These actions, which are said to be in flagrant violation of the MDA, prompted

Representative Foday E. Fahnbulleh of District 7, Bong County to  complain China Union to the Plenary of the House of Representatives, seeking the Body’s intervention into the company’s cheats against the county in general and Bong Mines in particular.

He, however, vowed to push the company to the point where it will abide the terms and conditions of the MDA in the interest of the District and the county at large, during a one-day engagement with citizens.

“My office will ensure that China Union lives up to their responsibility and will work with every state holder in the county and country in order to implement the MDA signed between the company and the Government of Liberia some years back, which has no direct benefit to the ordinary citizens,” Rep. Fahnbulleh assured.

Representative P. Mike Jurey of Maryland County District #2 and Chairman on the House’s Joint Committee investigating the China Union Concession said they had been mandated by Plenary to explore means China Union can structure a plan of action in six months period as per the MDA.

He also extolled citizens of District #7, Bong County, for exercising a great deal of patience and the willingness demonstrated to encourage dialogue between them and the Liberian government, including China Union as well.

Recall that in November 2009, the Liberian government signed a US$2.6 billion agreement with the Chinese Company-China Union to mine iron ore at the former Bong Mining Company in Bong Mines.

The Agreement, signed during the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, allowed China Union to operate Liberia’s former western Bong Mines, which was earlier operated by the German-owned Bong Mining Company.


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