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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Liberia: Boakai Blocks ‘Yellow Machine Gift’ Targeting Billion$ in Mining Contracts

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By Festus Poquie and E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor

President Joseph Boakai declines multimillion-dollar token, which aides facilitated to apparently lure authorities to surrendering the country’s remaining mining assets to Chinese and South African mineral barons.

Mamaka Bility, the Minister of State Without Portfolio announced in recent cabinet meeting that the government has acquired 285 pieces of earth moving machines to bolster low cost road construction and maintenance. The market value of the equipment is in the neighborhood of $30 million.

The President cut off the deal in an emergency cabinet meeting Monday as lawmakers and critics fume over the source and the not too-clear nature of the arrangement, according to people who had access to the conversation.

With transparency and other governance issues raised, Boakai chastised officials associated with the arrangement and that he senses wrong doing.

“The deal was a very bad deal,” the verified source said on condition not to be named due to potential impact on confidential nature of employment.

“They offered 500 pieces of equipment in exchange for over a billion dollar in local mining contracts.”

President Boakai has not reached the conclusion of relinquishing the highly rated Wologizi Mountain in his native Lofa County to the Chinese. Based on the untimely announcement, the president is bitter with the deal on grounds that nothing has reached a conclusion to be disclosed to the public.

Presidential Press Secretary Kula Fofana contacted said the Ministry of Information will speak on the matter Tuesday in the capital Monrovia.

Xu Ming, Senior Vice president of Chinese company – Sany Group and Robert Gumede, Chairman of  South Africa based Guma Group are at the heart of the controversial charity.

In a video released by Ms. Bility, Gumede said through the partnership, the companies were connecting Liberia with China and South Africa.

Liberia Code of Conduct for Government Officials and Employees prohibits bribe and token of such scale and magnitude. Known as the ‘Black Knight of Africa’ Gumede has running business ties in Liberia.

In February US firm HPX signed a letter of intent with the Liberian government promising to finance a multibillion-dollar “Liberty Corridor” along with Guma Group. Under the plan, HPX and Guma would build an entirely new railway from northern Liberia to a modern deepwater port on the coast.

The ceremony announcing the project, which would cost an estimated $3 billion to $5 billion, was attended by Boakai, Freidland, and the South African billionaire Robert Gumede.

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