Protest At HPX office

MONROVIA-Several protesters on Monday, April 11 gathered at the offices of   IVANHOE Liberia, a subsidiary of HPX mining company demanding an alleged corruption probe into payment made to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Recently, a leaked cash receipt of US$500,000 (five hundred thousand United States dollars) was allegedly received by the Speaker, Dr. Bohfor Chambers for legislative engagements.

The amount in question was said to have been paid by IVANHOE Liberia, a subsidiary of HPX.   It comes barely two weeks after the rejection of the third ratified Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) for Arcelor Mittal Liberia (AML) . Following that, the Liberian Government entered into a framework document with HPX.

HPX has a mining concession in Guinea but wants to have access to Liberia’s rail and port for the shipment of its Iron ore, but AML has said they needed to hold discussions before it could actualize.

Later, the government entered into an agreement with HPX. The Framework Agreement is another step forward in the realization of the benefits of the Guinean Nimba Iron Ore Project which will provide significant social and economic benefits to both Guinea and Liberia once in production.

The Framework Agreement builds on previous important steps, including the 2019 Implementation Agreement between Liberia and Guinea securing the use by 2 Guinean mining operators of Liberian infrastructure and transport services, and the Right of Access to existing transport infrastructure and services within the Yekepa-Buchanan port and rail corridor that was granted to HPX by the Government of Liberia in August 2021.

Many of the protestors said they believed that the rejection of the Arcelor Mittal MDA was triggered by the alleged amount received by the Speaker so they were calling on the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission-LACC to investigate.

Both the office of the Speaker and HPX have denied the allegations. However, the political spokesman in the office of the speaker, George Watkins wrote an opinion piece in a number of papers recently lashing at the CEO of Arcelor Mittal for what he said, was lavished spending some years ago on his daughter’s wedding.

Some of the protestors said the House of Representatives was accused in the past by Global Witness for allegedly receiving payments from Sable Mining. Soon, the former president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ordered an investigation into the case. The outcome of the investigation led to the indictment of many Liberians.

The protestors described HPX as a company that does not believe in competition and is only bent on working behind the backdoor channel.

 

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