For the first time after series of accusations that the Executive Branch of Government is in secret concession deal to hand over the Wologizi Mountain in Lofa County to Jindal Group, an Indian steel Company, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai has openly taken the cat out of the bag saying, “Yes we welcome the Indian Company which has already expressed interest to explore the Wologizi”.
At a well attended press conference held yesterday at his residence in Paynesville shortly after his visit from Australia, VP Boakai told reporters that it is the function of the Executive to seek investment for the citizenry and as such this is exactly what he did during his visit to India.
The Vice President dispelled the perception of some Lofa County lawmakers that secret negotiation has been taking place with this Indian Company to take Wologizi.
“There is no secret negotiation in concession agreement; it has to go through legislation. The lawmakers from Lofa County were told about this company. They came here at my house to discuss this issue when I presented to them documents concerning the company’s interest that has been expressed to us as a government,” VP Boakai said.
The VP disclosed that about 16 different companies around the world have expressed interest over the management of the Wologizi Mountain. Although VP Boakai did not name the companies involved but indicated that there has been more names pouring in for the Wologizi concession.
Ambassador Boakai explained to reporters that while in India, he was opportune to see first class mining carried out by the Jindal India Steel Company, which he described as being impressive and welcoming for the Liberian people.
He said they were able to tour the company’s concession area in India and visited some of their social corporate responsibility sites where he (Boakai) officially dedicated one of the schools constructed by Jindal Steel Company for the people of India.
“At least I was able to see what they are doing. My job was to go out and see and report to the Executive. We are not here to give anything free. Any company interested in this concession will pass through the right channel and so there is nothing here like secret negotiation,” VP Boakai asserted.
In recent time, Representative Eugene Fallah Kparkar of Lofa County District #1 raised an alarm at a press conference over what he assumed that he received credible information linking the government’s arrangement to give out the Wologizi Mountain to the Indian steel company. He said at that conference that the iron ore industry should be set aside to ensure that Liberians are owners of their natural resource assets. Anything to the contrary, he warned will meet the fullest resistance of the people of Lofa and the Liberian people at large.
Rep. Kparkar also claimed that Mr. Robert Sirleaf, Chairman of the Board of the National Oil Company (NOCAL) and son of President Sirleaf is leading a government negotiation team, with Jetty Trading Corporation and the management of Jindal Group for control of Liberia’s largest iron ore asset.
The Wologizi Mountain is believed to have an indicative reserve of tens of billions of tons with a cash value of 50 billion dollars at current market price.