Thursday, 28 April 2011


Sable Mining Sets the record Straight over mining interests in Liberia, Sierra Leone, makes breakup from consultant Sam Jackson official; South African investment Company says it has no interest in Western Cluster, eyes long-term investment in Liberia.
Rodney D. Sieh,; David B. Kolleh,, (231 631 0032)
he South African mining group Sable Mining has characterized recent negative media reports against the company as unfair while stating that it has no interest in derailing negotiations between the Liberian government and the Israeli company, Elenilto for the Western Clusters.
Addressing a major news conference in Monrovia Thursday, Heine Van Niekerk, Director of Sable Mining Africa Ltd and the President & Chief Executive Officer of Delta Mining Consolidated Pty., which is a subsidiary of Sable Mining Africa Ltd, accompanied by Klaus Piprek, the resident manager for Sable's interests in Liberia and Counsellor Varney Sherman, whose law firm, Sherman & Sherman has represented the company’s interests in Liberia since December 2008, said it was necessary for the company to clear the air on a number of issues which has been in the media recently regarding the company’s activities.
Van Niekerk explained that Delta Mining Consolidated Pty, now a subsidiary of Sable, by agreement with the Liberian Government, has already disengaged from any involvement with the Western Clusters. “We have honored that agreement and we will continue to honor that agreement,” the Sable Mining CEO asserted.
Van Niekerk said his company does not presume that were Elenilto's negotiations to fail that the Liberian Government would hand the Western Clusters over to Sable. Thus, there is no incentive whatsoever for Sable to finance or otherwise sponsor any activity intended to derail Elenilto's negotiations with the Liberian Government. “We trust that these assurances will debunk the erroneous assumption that Sable intends to derail Elenilto's negotiations with the Liberian Government. Sable does not stand to benefit from any such derailment.”
The explanation comes in the wake of a recent war-of-words between Mr. Sam Jackson, a consultant for Sable and agents of Elelnilto.
Parting ways with Sam Jackson
Distancing itself from Jackson Thursday, Van Niekerk said Sable Mining and Mr. Jackson have parted ways.
Said Van Niekerk: “Mr. Sam Jackson has performed well under his contract with Sable, but it has become clear to us that his other activities, especially his attacks on the process that led to naming Elenilto as the preferred bidder for the Western Clusters, is the sources of the unwarranted, false and malicious attacks on Sable in the media. To stop the unfounded and baseless media attacks on Sable, its directors and our interests in West Africa, we have terminated the consultancy agreement Mr. Jackson had with us. We regret taking this action, but we have determined that those who sponsor the malicious and false accusations against Sable, its interests and its directors, would not cease to do so once Mr. Jackson continues as a Sable consultant.  Our best wishes go with Mr. Jackson and, in this public manner; we thank him for his invaluable services.”
Cllr. Varney Sherman, the man’s whose law firm currently provides legal advice for the Mining Company, said he thinks if Jackson’s call was a personal venture as a Liberian citizen then, the media must be blamed for indicating in their articles that he may have been doing so on behalf of Sable.
Cllr. Sherman like Sable CEO believes that attacks on the company can only be aborted should the company ask Jackson to leave. The company’s lawyer also took jabs at several publications which published verbatim similar attacks on Sable, suggesting that the reports were paid and planted in certain newspaper.
The Bagla Hills Debacle
Regarding recent media reports out of Sierra Leone that the company acknowledged that there is a dispute regarding interests acquired over the Bagla Hills resource but has dispatched a legal team to Sierra Leone, which is currently engaged with the Sierra Leonean Government to conduct a due diligence on the issue.
Van Niekerk explained that Sable never knowingly or intentionally conducted itself illegally or inappropriately in Sierra Leone or anywhere else. “There is no reason for the Liberian press to demonize our company due to any error which may or may not have been committed in the process of acquiring interest in the Bagla Hills resources, as it is not uncommon for a foreign investor to be misled by local advisors and consultants during the process of acquiring an interest in natural resources.”

The Sable Mining CEO further noted that Sable has always conducted its business with the advice of local legal counsel and with the participation of local technical and development experts. Said Van Niekerk: “We relied substantially on their advice and support, but we acknowledge that as humans, they are not infallible. So, if the process in acquiring interest in Bagla Hills resources is flawed, we are committed to taking whatever remedial action is necessary to correct it. If however, as suggested by some, Bagla Hills is not available for exploration and exploitation of the resources, we will abide by the decision of the Sierra Leonean Government.”
No interest in Western Cluster
For Sable, the departure from Jackson while heartbreaking was a necessity. Van Niekerk said Sable will miss Jackson for his professional and technical skills and the invaluable contributions he has made to the company over the period he has worked as consultant of Sable.
Mr. Niekerk, said the company was taking the action because the calls from Mr. Jackson that Elenilto is not qualified to do mining in Liberia seemed to have suggested that his company was behind the campaign, adding “when in fact we have no interest whatsoever in the Western Cluster.”
“Mr. Sam Jackson has performed well under his contract with Sable, but it has become clear to us that his other activities, especially his attacks on the process that led to naming Elenilto as the preferred bidder for the Western Clusters, is the sources of the unwarranted, false and malicious attacks on Sable in the media.” Sable CEO told the media.
Sam Jackson, a Liberian Economist, has persistently maintained that Elenilto Mining Limited, the company that applied for the Western Cluster in 2008 and won it, does not have both the technical and financial capacity to carry to mining in Liberia, an argument that Elenilto has since rubbished.
To stop the unfounded and baseless media attacks on Sable, Niekerk said, “Its directors and our interests in West Africa, we have terminated the consultancy agreement Mr. Jackson had with us. We regret taking this action, but we have determined that those who sponsor the malicious and false accusations against Sable, its interests and its directors, would not cease to do so once Mr. Jackson continues as a Sable consultant.  Our best wishes go with Mr. Jackson and, in this public manner; we thank him for his invaluable services.”
“We reiterate that Sable has no interest in derailing Elenilto's negotiations with the Liberian Government for the Western Clusters. Delta Mining Consolidated Pty, now a subsidiary of Sable, by agreement with the Liberian Government, disengaged from any involvement with the Western Clusters. We have honored that agreement and we will continue to honor that agreement.” Mr. Niekerk said at the Thursday Press Conference.
Orchestrated Publications
The Sable Mining CEO told Journalists that the newspaper publications against Sable and its affiliated companies and subsidiaries appear to have been orchestrated. According to him, during the course of several weeks, various newspapers found it necessary to publish what he calls the ‘same false and malicious’ story about his company.
Niekerk said, his company had not responded initially to the publication because, as a matter of policy, Sable, like every reputable company, does not conduct its business in the press.
Continued Niekerk “At the initial stage, we thought to ignore those false and malicious publications, but when those publications intensified, we found it necessary to respond by a written Press Statement, which was published by many newspapers on the 11th day of April 2011. I believe that each of you has read our Press Statement and so it will not be necessary to repeat its contents now.”
Sable’s Interest
Sable’s foremost objective and interest according to Niekerk, is to create a viable economy with the active participation of the local population of the country.
He further said, affirming the long-term interest of collaborating with the Liberian Government and people in investing in the minerals of this country, is designed to have individual Liberian citizens and entities participate with Sable on a virtual "free-carry" basis. This he indicated is intended to explore for minerals and take the exploration to the level of determination of the commercial viability of a resource; at which stage, the Liberian partners will then be able to use their equity to source the capital required for exploitation of the resource.
Sherman agreed: “This Company is here to do real business; we talking about serious money here, Sable don’t have any interest getting involved with such unnecessary confrontations with another company, when there isn’t anything particular it stands to gain in the process.” 
Van Niekerk assured Liberians that Sable’s credential is intact and very credible. “We are a public company, which means Sable’s shares are on the stock exchange; Sable’s shares can be bought and sold by members of the public. Accordingly, Sable is governed by laws and regulations which prohibit our company and its directors engaging in any of the conduct we are accused of; and certainly, we would not violate the laws of England, where our company is listed only to find us prosecuted under English law. So, we trust that those who have engaged in these libelous attacks will desist now.”



The Liberia Democratic Institute a pro-democracy and a policy advocacy organization working in Liberia writes the National Legislature to seriously consider the revision of the 2005 Amended GAC Act for the ratification of the provision that mandate the President to re-nominate the AG every four years. In the opinion of the LDI, the provision having being tested in the first five years has failed to protect the autonomy and independence of the GAC and thereby making the post of Auditing General vulnerable to the whim and caprices of the Presidency.  The LDI urges the peoples' representative in the Legislature not to sit complacently while the Executive continues to contravene national statutes and international covenants established to protect the autonomy and independence of the Supreme Auditing Institution. "As direct representatives of the Liberian people they are under demand to ensure that public funds, resources and assets are protected and safeguarded from abuse and plunder". The Institute remains committed to working with all meaningful bodies, persons and institutions to promote public accountability and transparency. Below is the full text of the letter:
April 26, 2011
Senator Cletus S. Wortorson
President Pro-tempore
Liberian Senate
Capitol Hill, Monrovia

Dear Senator Wortorson:
We extend our compliments and wish to draw your attention to the controversy that has characterized the fight against corruption, particularly the role of the General Auditing Commission. As you may know, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has declared her unwillingness not to re-nominate outgoing Auditor General John Sembe Morlu, II. While this communication is neither intended to evoke the uproar that triggered the President’s action nor is it intended to speak to the merits and demerits of the controversy over the work of the General Auditing Commission, we are inclined to raise a couple of professional and statutory concerns which are intractably germane to the fight against corruption and which will ultimately leading to lasting impact on public financial management and socioeconomic development.
The General Auditing Commission (GAC) is one of three autonomous commissions of state given birth to by the Constitution, the organic law of the nation. Article 89 (c) of the Constitution creates the GAC to be an “Autonomous Public Commission”. “Autonomous” that qualifies the GAC is defined to mean “an organization, entity, body or person that is politically independent and self-governing”.
It may be important to briefly recall the metamorphosis which the GAC or previously the General Auditing Office (GAO) has undergone over the years. It was in 1956 that the Bureau of Audits was amended under Chapter 32, Sections 740-744 of the Executive Law of Liberia for its scope of work to include auditing all accounts of the Government of Liberia according to the Revenue and Finance Law of Liberia. In 1972, when the Executive Law of Liberia was amended, it re-established the General Auditing Office (GAO). The 1972 Executive Law made the tenure of the head of the GAO 15 years, when presidential tenure at the time was two five-year term. It was in 1986 that the General Auditing Commission was formed in accordance with Article 89 of the 1986 Liberian Constitution. Throughout these years, the GAO was made to report to the President. In June 2005, there was a new amendment to the 1972 Executive Law of Liberia. Precisely Chapter 53, Section 53.2 was amended to make the GAC reportable to the National Legislature, but with the reduction of the Auditor General’s tenure from 15 to four years.
Indeed, the 2005 Amendment that makes the GAC report to the Legislature instead of the President is consistent with international best practice. International conventions, such as Principles of the INTOSAI Lima Declaration and Mexico Declaration of Independence (ISSAI 10) uphold that particular provision of the amendment. Unfortunately, the reduction of the tenure of the Auditing General by the 2005 Amendment from 15 years to 4 years not only heavily politicizes and eroded the independence of the office of the Auditing General but also GAC and seriously contravenes the Constitution of Liberia and international conventions and best practices that make the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) an autonomous and independent public commission.   
The wisdom of the Constitution and international conventions regarding the autonomy and independence of the Commission resonates in the recent controversy over the re-nomination of the outgoing Auditor General—something that triggered the disinclination of President Sirleaf not to extend Mr. Morlu’s term to another four years. In an official statement heralding the President’s decision not to re-nominate Morlu on March 25, 2011, the President said: “We did not always agree with the way Mr. Morlu performed his job…Our disagreements over his mode of operation have never negated the fact that he has established a foundation that his successors can build upon in the fight against corruption.”
If the President who has the legal prerogative to nominate the Auditor General harbor “disagreements over modes of operations” with the Auditor General, it is highly naturally likely that the impact of those disagreements have got a role in determining whether or not a given President will choose to re-nominate the Auditor General every four years. Here, the autonomy and independence of the supreme audit institution has been out rightly and flagrantly tempered with in effect. It is therefore not a mistake that the Constitution of Liberia and international covenants and conventions grant autonomy or tenure of security to the office of the Auditor General. Even as corrupt as past successive political administrations of Liberia were perceived to be, the Executive Law establishing the GAO or the GAC granted the Auditor General a 15-year term, which by far outlast the two-time presidential term limits of the President, before the amendment of 2005. The amendment makes Liberia the only country in most part of the global community without a life or near-life tenure Auditor General and is likely to serve as a recipe for state revenue and resource abuse.
Notwithstanding the circumstances that led to the President’s refusal to re-nominate Morlu—and now that he’s gone—the country is left with a huge handicap and a burden in the fight against corruption, a pandemic we all consider a source of poverty, inequality and conflict. The handicap and burden, which don’t come to an end at the departure of Morlu, is a vulnerable and insecure Auditor General who is subservient to the Presidency only because he or she expects to get nominated every four years.
And it is time for this nation, and particularly the Legislature, to look beyond the moral and political boundaries and to see the imperative to take a relook at the amended Executive Law and ensure that Constitutional provision of autonomy assigned the GAC is not continuously negated and that Liberia gets on part with the rest of the international community.
Thus, I am urging the Legislature to do one of two things: restore provisions of Chapter 53 Section 53.2 of the 1972 Executive Law which grants the Auditor General 15 year tenure or make the tenure of the Auditor General lifetime as with the case of the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court. Each of these options substantially de-politicizes the Auditor General and the Commission, puts the tenure of Commission above the combined Constitutional term limits of the President and grants true autonomy to the Auditor General and the Commission as demanded by the Constitution of Liberia and international covenants.
If the fight against corruption is to gain its true meaning and succeed, and if the country can “ill-afford needless controversies and distractions” every four years as President Sirleaf intimated in a statement disengaging with Morlu, this Legislature to whom the Auditor General of Liberia reports and which is the true representation of the Liberian populace cannot leave the 2005 amended 1972 Executive Law as is. The lesson learned from the Morlu’s saga brings upon you a demanding responsibility as representative of the people to prevent the continuous abrogation of the autonomy and independence of the GAC. You cannot leave the fate of the Auditor General of Liberia in the hands of the President of Liberia alone. This is so because the President who and her cabinet have a political agenda and character to protect is bound to come into disagreements with the Auditor General or the GAC’s modes of operations; and each time they disagree, there would be a change of head of the autonomous public Commission. Then, where then is the independence of the GAC? This will greatly derail the fight against corruption, if it has not already done so.
Hope you take this petition serious in the supreme interest of the people and Nation of Liberia.
Kind regards.
Sincerely yours.

Dan T. Saryee, Sr.



Absentee Lawmakers Do not Deserve Pay, Rep Murray Must Stop Making Excuses
REPRESENTATIVE Kettehkumeh Murray, the unofficial designated spokesman for lawmakers who have failed to show up for work this week wants the people of Liberia to know that his peers were simply in their constituencies catering to their constituents and should therefore be forgiven.
THE TRUTH of the matter is lawmakers have from time to time abuse the trust and betrayed the confidence of the Liberian people by failing to show up for work and when they do show up, have failed to implement laws and tackle serious issues that affect the very constituents who elected them into office.
NOW IN A crucial re-election year, many are trying to shore up support and convince their constituents that they have in fact really been doing some marvelous work.
TODAY, MANY communities remain poor, sanitation continues continue to pose problems and scores of Liberians cannot even afford to purchase a bag of rice much less scrap up ingredients to eat along with the staple food.
JOBLESSNESS remains a problem and rarely do constituents see their lawmakers, who routinely pass them by in fancy jeeps and brand name cars.
NOW AFTER two weeks Easter vacation, they want the Liberian people to believe that they are catering to the needs of their constituents.
WHAT IS SO pressing now, in an election year that could not have been handled over the past five years?
WHAT HAS changed so suddenly?
WE FIND Representative Murray’s description of his colleagues’ absence as wisdom on their part to visit their constituents as a nothing but a lot of hot air and comes across as a simple case of a rotten apple trying to convince the world that the bunch is actually a good bunch.
IT IS TIME Liberians to put an end to the madness. The democratic process allows for you to exercise you vote wisely.
IF YOU for any reason feel that those who represent you have not been performing, do the right thing and vote them out. Don’t allow politicians to once again use this period to play on your plight and emotions for a vote with more promises of the same from yesterday.
THIS ELECTION, like all others is about choices. The right one could make all the difference, the wrong one could keep many in the doldrums for years.
THERE IS SIMPLY no room for lawmakers to take any Liberian for a ride much less try to explain away their absence from work on a fine sunny day.