ArcelorMittal Denies Media Report…But E & P Company Differs

By Jefferson D. Tweh From Yekepa

The Management of ArcelorMittal Liberia Mining Company operating in Yekepa, Nimba County has denied reports circulating in the Liberian media that the company seized Engineers & Planners Company’s equipment and failed to pay millions of United States Dollars owed by E&P Company.

The Communication Manager of ArcelorMittal Liberia Mining Company, Mr. Jerry Mwagbe, disclosed that ArcelorMittal did not seize E&P Company’s equipment but if E&P Company goes through the proper channel, then ArcelorMittal will release those equipment.

Mr.Mwagbe told journalists at his office in Yekepa that ArcelorMittal always paid E&P Company timely in line with the terms of contract and that payment is being made within 30 days once a bill is received but failed to tell the newsmen how much money ArcelorMittal owes E&P Company.

According to Mr.Mwagbe, ArcelorMittal did not force and threaten any E&P employee to go back to work because the E&P workers are on their own.

Mr.Mwagbe added that ArcelorMittal Liberia plans to transition all E&P Company employees into ArcelorMittal Liberia and this process started in November 2013 and by December 31, 2013, all E&P employees will become ArcelorMittal Liberia employees.

Mr. Mwagbe intimated further that the Country Director of Engineers and Planners Company, Madam Pamela Bowen, foresees losing her contract with ArcelorMittal as the contract ends December 31, 2013.

Meanwhile, the Management of Engineers and Planners Company say AcelorMittal has seized their equipment and flagrantly refused to pay their millions of United States Dollars.

The Project Manager of Engineers and Planners Company, Mr. Felix Baanye, averred that ArcelorMittal is utilizing the equipment issue as an alibi for not paying the millions of United States owed E&P Company.

Mr.Baanye noted that E&P Country Director, Pamela Bowen, reminded the management of ArcelorMittal several times to pay E&P the money owed them but ArcelorMittal has remained mute on the issue.

According to Mr.Baanye, ArcelorMittal has taken all E&P employees including seven experts from Ghana without consultation of the Engineers and Planners Company.

“Right now our employees are working with ArcelorMittal Liberia without the government of Liberia knowing anything about it,”Mr.Baanye concluded.

The Senior Human Resource or Administrative Supervisor, E&P Company, Mr.Harrison Agama said E&P Company wants to pay its employees for the Christmas Season but ArcelorMittal refused to pay their money.

“The Management of Engineers and Planners Company have decided to pay 189 employees, including seven experts because those individuals have to buy something for their relatives for the season but ArcelorMittal refused to pay our millions of United States Dollars,” Agama said.

Mr. Agama disclosed that since 2011, ArcelorMittal has owed E&P Company millions of United States Dollars and had been adamant and resolute to pay a dime to them.

Meanwhile, Mr.Agama is calling on the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Labor to launch an investigation, so that Engineers and Planners Company can get its money and equipment.

When this paper contacted the Country Director of E&P Company Country, Madam Pamela Bowen on the frustrating issue, she said ArcelorMittal Liberia is not doing the right thing and she is happy that her company’s contract will end in December 2013 with ArcelorMittal. She said that Engineers and Planners Company has been working with many companies around the globe and there has been no problem in their operation.

“I am not frustrated to end contract with ArcelorMittal but I want the management of ArcelorMittal to pay our money and release our equipment,” Madam Bowen stated.