CSO Raises Concerns on Western Cluster -Says MDA In Gross Violation

MONROVIA – Amid the controversies trailing the Mineral Development Agreement the government of Liberia signed with Western Cluster, a civil society group, Publish What You Pay Liberia Coalition said it is deeply concerned about the ongoing Western Cluster Memorandum of Understanding discussion that is trending, stressing its attention has been drawn to the gross violation of the 2000 Mining and Minerals Laws of Liberia Section 6.5 and 6.6, which requires a Mineral Development Agreement for a Class A License holder to carry out operations or extraction of resources in Liberia. 

According to the a press statement issued by the institution and signed and approved by James Koryor, Head of Secretariat and Representative, Anglophone West Africa PWYP and Cecelia Danuwali, Chairperson, respectively, the institution “believes that the current MOU signed between some Officials of the Liberian Government and the Western Cluster Liberia Limited dated April 12, 2022, is petrifying and undermines the principles of transparency and accountability in the extractive sector, and is a calculated attempt to deny the people of Liberia and especially the citizens of Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Gbarpolu Counties their fair share of benefits of their resources”.

“Given the above, PWYP Liberia calls on the LEITI Secretariat to conduct a comprehensive post-award investigation of the processes leading to the MOU issuance. PWYP Liberia requests the LEITI Secretariat to analyze the MOU’s content against the company’s original MDA to ensure that all the legal requirements placed in the original MDA are not compromised in the MOU by the few hands full of “Negotiators.” Where observed, the report should point out any significant deviations. The report should also seek to determine the legal basis of the MOU and its subsequent implementation.

“PWYP Liberia views the current confusion between citizens on one hand and the Government and concessionaire on the other as critical, thus, undermining the doctrines of Contract Transparency, a core value of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

 “PWYP Liberia believes the fight against the mismanagement of the country’s natural resources should be holistic and sincere. PWYP Liberia unconditionally calls on the Government to lead the effort to calm the situation by taking the necessary actions to address the public outcry in the affected counties and manage the concessionaire’s optimum interest for the country’s greater good.

“Finally, PWYP Liberia calls on citizens in the affected counties to remain peaceful, engaged, and constructive and avoid conflict as we discuss the situation. As a civil society institution working to ensure greater transparency and accountability over the governance of the country’s natural resources and ensuring that citizens benefit from the extraction and exploration/ exploitation of their natural resources, we remain firm in ensuring its objectives are achieved”, the release concluded.

Publish What You Pay (PWYP) is a worldwide campaign for an open and accountable extractive industry. PWYP is the only global movement working to ensure that oil, gas, and mining revenues are used to drive development. With more than 1000 member organizations and 51 national coalitions, our strength lies in our ability to coordinate action nationally and globally, maximizing our collective impact. Hence, everyone benefits from their natural resources – today and tomorrow.

PWYP Liberia was launched in August 2006 and has focused on a wide range of issues, mainly supporting EITI implementation and disseminating data from EITI reports. The coalition plays a vital role in helping to make the reports accessible to Liberia’s people and supporting local communities so they benefit from natural resources. They do not suffer harmful effects from extraction.

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