Briefing Document / July 15, 2009

Unscrupulous timber company behind bids to log Liberian forests

Three firms linked to Malaysian timber giant Samling, a company notorious for destroying tropical forests and abusing local communities, have been considered for major logging contracts in Liberia because of flaws in the bid evaluation process, Global Witness has discovered.

Alpha Logging, Atlantic Resources and Southeast Resources are all linked to Samling through their ownership structures. Samling is a highly predatory group of companies which has made huge profits at the expense of poor people.

If the contracts go ahead, this will be a major step back for the Liberian government, which has spent 5 years and lots of money reforming the forest sector and instituting a system of checks and balances, following years of civil war fuelled by illegal logging.

The Inter-Ministerial Concession Commission in Liberia approved the contracts and the Legislature ratified them.

The latest news is that Global Witness has issued a press release urging the Liberian President not to sign the logging contracts.

Read Global Witness's response to the news of ratification.  

Read the original press release, which outlines how the three companies are connected to Samling.

Samling wrote to Global Witness refuting the allegations. Read the correspondence.

The three companies bidding for the contracts also refuted Global Witness's claims. They issued a joint statement, to which Global Witness responded.

Read some background on how illegal logging funded the civil war in Liberia

Read Global Witness' brief on a background investigation into the logging companies.

Read Global Witness' letter to the FDA on the background investigation into the logging companies.

Read Global Witness' memorandum on the failures of the due diligence report.