Press release | May 13, 2016

Global Witness welcomes Liberian pledge to investigate mining bribery scandal

Updated 31 July 2019 - see below

Government commitment follows Global Witness exposé on corruption

Global Witness welcomes the Liberian government’s announcement yesterday to investigate bribes and payments made by the UK mining company Sable and its lawyer Varney Sherman. In recent years, the government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has made efforts to hold accountable those who break Liberia’s natural resource laws, including prosecuting those involved in illegal logging and oil deals. We are hopeful that this investigation into the mining scandal will be similarly thorough, demonstrating Liberia’s commitment to fighting corruption.

In its 12 May statement, the Liberian government also announced that it had requested cooperation and assistance from the British government during the investigation into the UK-based Sable. Global Witness encourages this collaboration. If it is found by the Liberian and British governments that those involved in this mining scandal did break the law, the authorities of both countries should prosecute and make good on their pledges to end impunity.

Global Witness looks forward to cooperating with the Liberian and British authorities to ensure the government’s investigation is a success.

Police outside Senator Varney Sherman's house, Liberia

Armed police outside Senator Varney's house

Update: On 30 July 2019, following a trial at criminal court C in Monrovia, Liberia, Judge Peter Gbeneweleh, acting as judge and jury, acquitted those on the indictment of all charges, it was reported. The defendants faced counts of economic sabotage, bribery, criminal facilitation, conspiracy and solicitation and had denied the charges.