Corruption Pervasive in Mining Sector

first_imgConsultant Makor making a presentation at the launch.New report on sector disclosesIt has been no secret that Liberia’s economy has been solely reliant on the extractive sector, which has also been poorly managed and turned up marred by corruption and shortchanged. What many did not know was the pervasiveness of the menace in the country, especially under the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf led administration, until the damning May 2013 Moore Stephen audit report that opened the lid on the huge corruption that existed in the sector.The central message of that report, which was ordered by the Liberian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (LEITI), was that of the 68 concessions—many of them multinationals—signed with the government, only two met international standard, with the rest marred with flaws and manipulations. That report, while serving as an eyeopener for the public, also gave Liberians an insight into how “Business as usual” had transcended to another level.A new research report has also highlighted the many irregularities that continue to overwhelm the sector since the release of the report, with no corrective measures being put in place.According to the research conducted by the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) as part of Transparency International’s Mining for Sustainable Development (M4SD), there is widespread corruption across the entire mining value chain, especially the licensing and concession granting processes.Launched yesterday at a local resort in the presence of heads and members of several anti-graft and transparency groups, the research report highlighted that collusion, extortion, facilitation of payments/bribery, manipulation, abuse of power and vested interest are major corruption risks and identified vulnerabilities.“This is particularly common among public officials and powerful industrial executives who connive to exploit the system for personal gains,” the research consultant, Randall M. Makor, said at the launch.In spite of the emergence of President Sirleaf, a Harvard trained economist and international civil servant, and the establishment of numerous anti-graft institutions such as the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), LEITI, General Auditing Commission (GAC), the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) and Internal Audit Agency (IAA), set up to support the process to address the scourge of corruption and other vices in society, corruption in the sector, many believe, has become grossly multiplied—thereby stifling development of the sector and hardly any noteworthy dividend to the country.Statistics from the LEITI (2012-2013) report shows that the mining sector attracted massive foreign direct investment totalling US$7.6 billion from the extraction of iron ore since the end of the civil unrest in 2003. Also, a study conducted by Agnieszka Paczynska in 2016 states that, “since 2005, FDI flows into Liberia have increased significantly, reaching approximately $16 billion.”Participants at the ceremonyHowever, on the overall rating, the mining sector has attracted the largest inflow of FDIs from the productive sector, which is primarily driven by contributions from mining of iron ore, diamond and gold. Though this reemphasizes the significance of the mining sector to economic growth and development in Liberia, it is yet to have any substantial impact on the populace.Makor, while making his presentation on the research, indicated that governance of the sector is wide-ranging with complexities that negatively impinge on effective functioning.Though there are several major bodies relevant to granting of mining concessions, the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy (MLME) is the main entity statutorily mandated to administer all activities related to land, mineral, water and energy resources exploration, and also supervises the mining sector (granting of licenses, contracts and concessions).The Ministry’s work is supported by the Inter-Ministerial Technical Committee (IMTC) that provides guidance and technical advice regarding concession agreements and mining operations. Members of the IMTC, which is chaired by MLME, include the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Ministry of Justice (MOJ), National Investment Commission (NIC), Ministry of Labor (MOL), the Council of Economic Advisors to the President and the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL). These also work with the National Legislature.These institutions collaborate to award various mining rights to investors. But Makor said the award process is characterized by complexities, especially delays in processing contracts and licenses; unclear application procedures; and multiple actors singing onto concessions.He also indicated that there is limited enforcement of laws and regulations as well as deliberate disregard for key requirements. “Due diligence in reviewing applications and properly scrutinizing draft concession agreements is weak and ineffective,” he noted.He said the Legislature and Inter Ministerial Concession Committee knowingly failed to properly negotiate better deals and award concessions as well as rectify gaps associated with the licensing process.In his findings, Makor said of the 13 risks identified, four (4) relate to Process Practice, which indicates actual incidences and practices relating to the award of licenses, contracts and Mineral Development Agreements to investors that incentivize corruption and undermine institutionalization of systems and controls in the mining sector.Other issues are signifying circumstances that undermine compliance, due diligence and transparency in decision-making processes and governance of the sector. Together, he said, they highlighted vulnerabilities that increase the risks and incidences of corrupt practices — including weak monitoring and due diligence regimes, conflict of interest, collusion between the executive and legislative branches of government, violation of the rights of citizens, and low salaries and benefits of staff of ministries and agencies overseeing mining activities.He said the remaining risks allude to systemic weaknesses that promote corruption in the sector. They stem from an increasingly enabling environment for bribery and collusion such as an entrenched culture of impunity, weak enforcement regime and limited accountability mechanisms.Board Member Thompson launching the reportThe Report was launched by James Thompson, a Board Member of CENTAL, who said corruption is a pandemic in the Liberian society. “We need to make our society a better one and this can only be done when we fight corruption holistically,” he said.According to CENTAL Executive Director Anderson Miamen, the M4SD program is being implemented in 20 countries worldwide. Generally, it seeks to identify, analyze and proffer recommendations to address corruption risks and vulnerabilities in processes leading to the award of mining licenses, permits and contracts in Liberia, he added.“This is to ensure transparency and accountability in the licensing process to boost government revenues and address longstanding issues of corruption and bad governance that have undermined effectiveness of the sector,” he said.CENTAL Exec. Dir. Miamen providing the overview of the researchThe project, which has a lifespan of five years divided into two parts (first two years for Research, and the rest for Advocacy), intends to address felt needs of affected mining communities and improve sustainable economic growth and development in the country.The study was conducted by a consultant and a representative from CENTAL between February and November 2017 in Montserrado with field visits to mining communities in Bong and Nimba counties.The research also includes recommendations such as strengthening anti-corruption measures and institutions to combat the entrenched culture of impunity, which has undermined enforcement of laws and integrity building efforts in the country over the years; streamlining and simplifying the application procedure and contracting process to avoid complexities involved with acquiring a license.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

High Court to hand down decision soon

first_img$54M missing diamonds…plaintiff recalls brother, business partner being shot and killed during robberyJustice Fidela Corbin-Lincoln is set to rule on the matter involving $54 million in uncut diamonds that vanished from Police custody in Mahdia, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) almost 25 years ago. This announcement followed the conclusion of the trial on Wednesday where the owner of the precious merchandise, Ronald Khan, maintained that the now missing items were weighed by Police in front him and several fellow ranks.The now elderly businessman told the court that he has not seen his diamonds since they disappeared from the Mahdia Police Station. Khan’s took legal action against the State in 2011 to reclaim his missing diamonds after he was not receiving positive word from Police on the location of the items.The 430 carats of diamonds were taken as evidence by Police after it was recovered following a 1994 robbery investigation when Khan’s Ewang Creek, mining camp in Region Eight was invaded. During that attack, his brother and a business associate were shot and killed while Khan’s life was nearly taken as he was also shot. The plaintiff told the court that he now bares a hole to his neck and can hardly see, owing to the injuries he received.“I reported the matter. I got shots over my skin. The Mahdia Station was contacted via radio set. The Police led me to Pamela Landing and the transported me to Mahdia Hospital. The next day they took me to identify the two men who robbed me,” the aged businessman recalled.Khan, who had to be assisted to a seat where he testified, said he spoke with late Police Commissioner Henry Greene on three occasions whom he said promised that the matter would be investigated but this never materialised. He also claimed that following the recovery in 1994, he attended court on a few occasions after being hospitalised for nearly three months but said he never knew what came out of the murder and robbery matter.“They kept putting off the case. I need my diamonds,” Khan, who now has hearing difficulties stressed.An animated Khan appeared surprised when State counsel Tiffany Castello suggested that the minerals may not have been in fact diamonds; but the man stressed that he became a pork knocker in 1950 as he outlined how diamonds are placed in categories of “Good; Reject; Industrial and Fine”. He recounted that he started out by selling gold and diamonds to the late MC Correia in Charlotte Street, Georgetown.Under cross examination, Castello suggested that Khan could not see properly when he claimed that he identified the stones at the Mahdia Police Station, but the former miner stressed that he could make out his diamonds. Khan added that at the time of the attack, he could not see as he was bleeding all over. He nevertheless held on to his claim that he saw his diamonds.When probed further, he stated that the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) did not verify the value of the diamonds. He noted that he “passed the diamonds through the GGMC.”Three Police witnesses also took the stand to testify. These were retired Inspector Terrence Semple, retired Corporal Westland Fraser and retired Senior Superintendent Courtney Ramsey. They were all cross-examined by Khan’s Attorney Nigel Hughes. Semple told the court that he received a ‘crazy-glue’ container with a quantity of stones but could not recall if Khan was brought to the Mahdia Police Station. He however noted remembering that Khan was injured and taken to hospital.Ramsey testified that he handed over the stones to “Constable Fraser” who was told to escort the diamonds to E (Linden-Kwakwani) and F Division (Interior locations). He also said that he was never requested to do an investigation of the missing merchandise, adding that he was not aware if Khan was ever told to collect the stones. (Shemuel Fanfair)last_img read more

Less rainfall expected over next 3 months – Hydromet Office

first_img…negative effects may be experienced late DecemberThe Hydrometerlogical Office of Guyana on Friday disclosed that less than usual rainfall can be expected over the next three months, owing to climatic conditions affecting the oceans.Specialist Meteorologist Komalchand DhiramThis was related during the fifth National Climate Outlook Forum (NCOF) at Herdmanston Lodge on Friday morning by a Specialist Meteorologist, Komalchand Dhiram.“The next three months is usually packed with the usual rainfall that we’d have what we call or some people call it the Christmas rain or end of the year rain but because of the existing El Nino that we have in the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean we will have a decrease in that amount,” he explained.Although persons can look forward to rain, the Specialist informed that it would not be the usual “Christmas rain”.According to him, negative effects are more than likely to affect large-scale farmers by late December to early January 2019. Because of the effects that are likely, the department said an advisory will be issued later.El Nino is a phenomenon which when present causes a warmth in the ocean that impacts the temperature of the water, which in turn affect the warmth in the atmosphere as well, which then affects the conditions necessary to produce rainfall, he pointed out.New webpageNonetheless, the Hydrometerelogical Office is currently working to develop its webpage to be able to provide updates on climate conditions as they become available.According to Dhiram, the upgrade to the webpage has become necessary with the advancing of technology across the region and world at large. It is the department’s hope to develop a web application (app) as the need may arise in the future.He explained, “We’ve been getting a lot of feedback from folks that it is important to have an app because that’s with the culture right now and that’s what society demands”.The meteorologist informed that the office is currently engaged with the Columbia University, International Research Institute for Climate and Science so that the web application can be developed.The new page, will be referred to as the ‘Maproom’, will allow users to click and access forecasts.The web page will play a vital role in updating the public on how much rain fall to expect during which period, as this too has an impact on tourist influx, he explained.When developed, the information to the general public will be free of cost, Dhiram added. The meteorologist said the Department hopes to have the web base up and running by mid-next year.The Maproom will be designed to include maps to depict where heavy rainfall is expected in the next six days, and how much rainfall is expected, along with where large or small amounts of rainfall are expected in the next three months, among others.Additionally, maps will also show rainfall patterns that can be expected for El Nino.last_img read more

O.J. foes seeking to recast his book

first_imgThe book was billed as a speculative tale about how the killings might have occurred, but Simpson said in later interviews it was ghostwritten and was mostly about his relationship with his wife. Documents filed in the case show that Simpson wrote a letter to HarperCollins saying that Lorraine Brooke Associates, controlled by his children, “has the right to enter the agreement and bind me personally to the terms” of the book deal. HarperCollins has acknowledged paying Simpson about $880,000 for the book, but Cook said the Goldman family isn’t interested in trying to get that money. Instead, Cook said, the goal is for the book rights controlled by Lorraine Brooke Associates to be auctioned and for the Goldmans to place the winning bid, then write their own version. MIAMI – Heirs of murder victim Ronald Goldman want a federal bankruptcy judge in Florida to clear the way for them to bid on the rights to O.J. Simpson’s canceled “If I Did It” book so they can publish their own version called “Confessions of a Double Murderer.” “Our realistic quest is to acquire the book rights. Ultimately we package them and put it out commercially,” Goldman family attorney David Cook said Monday. “`Confessions of a Double Murderer’ is the working title.” Simpson, who lives in the Miami area, has maintained his innocence since his 1995 acquittal of the slayings in California of Goldman and Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson. The Goldman family, however, won a 1997 wrongful-death judgment against Simpson. In the Florida bankruptcy case, the Goldmans claim Simpson and publisher HarperCollins used what was essentially a shell company, called Lorraine Brooke Associates, to negotiate the “If I Did It” book deal. The project, which also envisioned a Simpson television interview on Fox, was canceled in November amid intense public outcry. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

Air Quality In The Peace Region Could Decrease With Controlled Burns

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – With the BC Wildfire Service set to take advantage of improved conditions to continue their attack on four wildfires in the Peace region, one of their tactics could result in an decrease in air quality in the region.The cooler temperatures and precipitation has enabled crews to establish fire control lines, and allowed them to get ready to conduct controlled burn operations to help fight these wildfires. The public may see increased smoke over the next couple of days as unburned fuel surrounding fire perimeters is burned to reduce the amount of available fuel to the fires.While a Smoky Skies Advisory that was posted by the BC Ministry of Environment on Friday, May 6th was lifted at 8:15 Wednesday morning, Air Quality Meteorologist Gavin King said in a release that “there are still active wildfires in the region and as such elevated local smoke concentrations can occur.”- Advertisement -Ellie Dupont with the BC Wildfire Service spoke with Energeticcity.ca on Tuesday morning, and stressed that members of the public need to respect the exclusion zones around all wildfires in the region, especially as crews are anticipating conditions that will be favourable to controlled burn operations.last_img read more

USA mystified by ’15 Donald Trumps’ jibe at Rugby World Cup

first_img0Shares0000‘I’ve absolutely no idea what he means by that’, USA coach Gary Gold said about a comment from England’s Eddie Jones © AFP/File / MARTIN HUNTERTOKYO, Japan, Sep 24 – USA coach Gary Gold said he was mystified by a comment from England’s Eddie Jones that the Eagles would play like “15 Donald Trumps” when they meet at the Rugby World Cup.“I’ve absolutely no idea what he means by that,” Gold said, ahead of Thursday’s game in Kobe. “We’re just a team that’s really got to focus on our own processes at the moment. We’ve got to worry about what we do when we get onto the rugby field.“At this stage, with all due respect, we’re not a good enough rugby team to be making comments or answers to questions like that. I don’t know what it means.”Jones made the comment when he was describing how the USA are “going to come out all guns blazing” for the Pool C clash, their opening game of the tournament.“It’s going to be like 15 Donald Trumps out there, so we’ll have to be on our job, because we know they’re going to give it everything they’ve got,” said the Australian coach.It wasn’t the only tongue-in-cheek comment from Jones, who also described Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido as “closer to Russia than you probably want to be”.0Shares0000(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Zlatan Ibrahimovic hints at possible Premier League move: Man United to pounce?

first_img PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates his goal against Chelsea in the Champions League 1 Zlatan Ibrahimovic has teased that he would be interested in a move to the Premier League in the summer when his Paris Saint-Germain contract expires.The enigmatic Swede has won league titles in Holland, Italy, Spain and France during a sparkling career.And now the 34-year-old striker has hinted he could bring his undoubted talents to England on a short-term deal, before an expected swansong in the MLS in 2017.Quoted in several national newspapers, Ibrahimovic said: “I have another three months here and then…what will happen? Big things will happen.”Asked specifically about a move to the Premier League, Ibrahimovic added: “Let’s just say I am in good shape.”Ibrahimovic’s career has taken him from Malmo to Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan and PSG. Unless he were willing to take a significant pay cut, only a handful of clubs could afford to match his reported £200,000-a-week after tax wages.Manchester City can almost certainly be ruled out after Ibrahimovic was critical of Pep Guardiola – his coach at Barcelona – in his autobiography. But move to Manchester United could be on the cards.Ibrahimovic played for Jose Mourinho at Inter, and the Portuguese is strongly linked with the Old Trafford post should the under-pressure Louis van Gaal leave.last_img read more

GAA NEWS: NAOMH BRID CLUB NOTES

first_imgThere was no luck for our Senior and Reserve teams at the weekend as they both lost at home to Bundoran. The reserves battled hard but a late Bundoran point helped them to a one point victory. In the Senior game a late penalty was enough to help Bundoran record a 2 point victory after the boys had come from behind to take the lead. Both teams play Maccumhaills at home this coming Saturday at 6pm and 7.30pm. All support is encouraged for both teams.Hard luck to Calum Gallagher and the Donegal Minors after they were defeated by Derry in the Ulster Minor Championship quarter final on Sunday evening.Our under 10’s are away to Ballyshannon for their second blitz of the season on Saturday morning. The bus will leave Pairc Naomh Brid at 9.30am. Training for u8’s and u12’s will continue at the pitch on Saturday morning at 10am. GAA NEWS: NAOMH BRID CLUB NOTES was last modified: May 29th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:NAOMH BRID CLUB NOTESlast_img read more

Neymar proves he is fit and ready for World Cup

first_imgOne of the greatest players on the planet is back with a bang, just in time for the World Cup.Neymar had been out with a fractured metatarsal and sprained ankle since February but returned as a substitute for Brazil in a friendly against Croatia at Anfield. 1 It took the world’s most expensive player just 23 minutes and 33 seconds to find his feet, and it was classic Neymar.He received the ball just inside the box and cut inside, beating two men before rifling the ball in off the crossbar.Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino loves scoring at Anfield and added a second for Brazil in injury time as they won the game 2-0.Neymar showed no sign of rustiness and picked up exactly where he left off earlier this season after replacing Fernandinho at half-time.He scored 28 goals in 30 appearances for French champions Paris Saint-Germain after his record-breaking £198m move from Barcelona last year.The Samba Boys have one more friendly against Austria next Sunday before their World Cup opener against Switzerland on 17th June.After serious concern over the possibility of him missing the tournament, it now looks like Brazil’s hero will be fit and ready to lead his nation’s bid for a sixth world title.last_img read more

Donegal ETB launches new Career Traineeship in Hospitality Operations

first_imgDonegal ETB has launched an exciting new training opportunity in Hospitality Operations with some the county’s best known industry leaders.The career traineeship has been developed in partnership with many of the leading hotels in Donegal who will provide the work practice elements of this course.In South Donegal these include Harvey’s Point (Donegal Town), Solis Lough Eske Castle Hotel (Donegal Town), the Mill Park Hotel (Donegal Town), the Sandhouse Hotel and Marine Spa (Rossnowlagh), the Abbey Hotel (Donegal Town) and the Great Northern Hotel (Bundoran), while in the North and West Donegal these include the Waterfront Hotel (Dungloe), the Mount Errigal Hotel (Letterkenny), the Shandon Hotel (Portnablagh), the Silver Tassie Hotel (Letterkenny) and Arnolds Hotel (Dunfanaghy). The launch took place at Letterkenny Institute of Technology’s Killybegs Campus as the first phase of the traineeship will be delivered in the excellent facilities offered by the School of Tourism, with many of the partner hotels in the South of the county in attendance. The traineeship will begin in North Donegal in the Autumn.Sarah Moloney, Konan McIntyre, Naomi Moore, Sean O’Fearraigh, Mark O’Brien and Hannah Doherty at the Donegal ETB launch of the new Career Traineeship in Hospitality Operation in the LYIT Campus Killybegs. Photo Clive WassonSpeaking ahead of the launch, Martina Bromley, Head of Enterprise and Hospitality, Fáilte Ireland stated, ‘Donegal has been making huge strides in recent years, the Wild Atlantic Way is one of those key projects and of course Donegal ETB has been doing wonderful work.’The traineeship covers a range of modules relevant to the industry including customer service, reception and frontline office skills, accommodation techniques, restaurant skills and food preparation. Additional modules will also cover reservations and revenue management, marketing and social media, food and beverage cost control, menu planning, food hygiene (HACCP) and barista training.At the Donegal ETB launch of the new Career Traineeship in Hospitality Operation in the LYIT Campus Killybegs are seated Vinny McGroary, Area Training Manager, Donegal ETB and Sean Duffy, Head of School of Tourism, Letterkenny Institute of Technology. Back from left are Given Faracli, Donegal ETB, Dearbhla Kelly, Career Coach, Mary Sammon, Manager, Mill Park Hotel, Catherine Monahan, Director of Human Resources, Solis Lough Eske Castle Hotel, Deirdre McGloin, Owner/Manager, Harvey’s Point Hotel, Paul Diver, Owner/Manager, Sandhouse Hotel & Marine Spa, Tara McGuire, ETB and Declan Doherty, Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.A full house at the Donegal ETB launch of the new Career Traineeship in Hospitality Operation in the LYIT Campus KillybegsPhoto Clive WassonSpeaking at the launch, Donegal ETB’s Area Training Manager Vinny McGroary said, ‘This career traineeship has been developed in close collaboration with the hospitality industry here in Donegal. Donegal ETB would like to thank them all for their support and we’re delighted to see such a great turn out for the launch here in LYIT’s Killybegs campus today.’ As one of the partner hotels in South Donegal attending yesterday’s launch, Harvey’s Point Owner/Manager Deirdre McGloin, stated, ‘It’s fantastic that the ETB are collaborating with the industry to create a very great programme.’Work experience is a core component of the traineeship which includes sixteen weeks of practical work experience in many of the hotels who have collaborated on its development.Margaret Bradley nd Katolina Keys at the Donegal ETB launch of the new Career Traineeship in Hospitality Operation in the LYIT Campus KillybegsPhoto Clive WassonColm McElroy and Lorna Nolan at the Donegal ETB launch of the new Career Traineeship in Hospitality Operation in the LYIT Campus KillybegsPhoto Clive WassonJenny Ryle, Sergey Kelly, Jasmin smyth, Antonette Clayton and Luke Mangan at the Donegal ETB launch of the new Career Traineeship in Hospitality Operation in the LYIT Campus KillybegsPhoto Clive WassonSpeaking about this ahead of the launch, Aisling Arnold, General Manager, Arnold’s Hotel, a North and West county partner said, ‘We are thrilled that there is a placement as this allows candidates an excellent opportunity to experience real life within the hospitality industry.’ The traineeship will also allow learners to progress directly into employment in the hospitality sector and will also facilitate entry, on a competitive basis, to a range of third level institutions nationwide, including LYIT’s Hospitality and Tourism courses in Killybegs.Career Traineeships are co-funded by the Irish government and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) 2014-2020.If this is an industry that interests you, apply online today through www.fetchcourses.ie. Donegal ETB launches new Career Traineeship in Hospitality Operations was last modified: May 9th, 2018 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:career traineeshipcareersDonegal ETBHospitality Operationslast_img read more