After Chief Zanzan Karwor’s Illegal Shutdown: Liberian Senate Orders GMCS’s Mining Site Reopen

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The Liberian Senate Committee on Mines and Energy on Friday, March 11, 2022 during a public hearing ordered the reopening of the GMCS mining site in Rivercess County, which was illegally closed by Chief Zanzan Karwor by “traditional method” for more than one month.

   The Chairman of the Committee on Mines and Energy, Senator Simeon Taylor, called on local authorizes to respect the government’s mandate and stop the usurpation of government’s operation in the counties in order to maintain law and order in the country.

   It can be recalled that on March 3, 2022 the GMCS Mining Company officially filed a complaint to the Liberian Senate against the Chairman of the National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia, Chief Zanzan Karwor, for using traditional leaders in Rivercess County to interfere in the Ministry of Mines and Energy’s decision and the illegal closure of the GMCS mining site, which has paid all of its taxes into government’s revenue.

   According to GMCS Mining Company’s complaint to the Senate, “On January 24, 2022, we received a letter from Chief Zanzan Karwor that we should go Rivercess to conduct spot investigation, after we carefully checked the attachment of the complaint, we realized that the people who wrote the complaint are the same people charged by the Circuit Court of Rivercess County for ‘armed robbery, criminal attempt murder, theft of property and criminal facilitation’. We told Chief Zanzan Karwor that he did not have jurisdiction over a case pending in court, but Chief Zanzan Karwor told us he is only to investigate the ‘traditional cow tail’.”

   According to Rivercess Circuit Court’s record, several gunmen, allegedly headed by Moses Mayer, Traditional Council Inspector, and Arthur David, Council Chief of Rivercess County, at about 1:00 a.m. on December 5, 2021 entered the GMCS Mining site and carried out massive looting, valued at US$283,600, chopped two private securities assigned at the mining site, and shot firearm on GMCS’s premises.

   It was established that one Mohamadi N. Iria, who is believed to be the main perpetrator of the attack, used a false survey map to encroach on GMCS’s operational area. The Ministry of Mines and Energy gave its administrative ruling in favor of GMCS, and held Mohamadi N. Iria responsible for the encroachment, even imposing on him a fine of US$16,000 for wrongdoing on November 30, 2021.

   On February 2, 2022 GMCS officials went to Rivercess, but surprisingly Chief Zanzan Karwor accused one of the foreign partners: “He took the ‘traditional cow tail’ from Arthur David, who was arrested with items he looted from GMCS’s premises and charged for armed robbery, criminal attempt murder, theft of property and criminal facilitation.”

   Interestingly, Chief Zanzan Karwor informed the citizens that Mohamadi N. Iria should have place to work in GMCS Class B Mining License area, and he even announced that the company would close down immediately.

   At the public hearing, Gee explained that when Chief Zanzan Karwor ordered the closure of the site on February 2, 2022, they asked him to give a letter for the closure, but “he said he don’t need to give a letter. The same night, more than 40 gangsters went to our company’s yard and threatened us: ‘if any equipment move, your machines will be burned and people’s lives will lose here.’”

   He said Arthur David brought the alleged “traditional cow tail” to the camp, along with more than 40 traditional people who came with firearms and cutlasses, chopped our securities and looted our camp”. In that process, he lost the alleged “traditional cow tail”. “Should the company be responsible for that? Are traditional people above the law as Chief Zanzan Karwor declared at the meeting in Rivercess?” Gee wondered.

   Gee said, through the Ministry of Internal Affairs negotiation they paid some amount for a sacrifice of what the MIA has suggested, and MIA gave them the surety that Chief Zanzan Karwor and his team were only going to Rivercess to move the traditional aspect on March 2, 2022.

   “To our big surprise, Chief Zanzan Karwor and his team brought the ‘Devil’ outside and demanded that we pay another US$50,000, 4 cows, 4 goats, 4 cats and so on, in Rivercess County. His underman, Koffy Zaa, even threatened that he will remove our workers from our camp in the night. Based on that threat, we were forced to withdraw our workers from our camp in Rivercess and send them to Monrovia the same night. Moreover, Chief Zanzan Karwor even asked us in the meeting, ‘Why you can’t allow Mohamadi N. Iria to work in your area?’

    “Senators, we are regular taxpayers in this country. We have tried all means to settle this matter with Chief Zanzan Karwor, but failed. In which capacity Chief Zanzan Karwor can illegally close down a mining company…who shall be responsible for the losses of this illegal closure?” Gee noted.

   At the public hearing of the Committee on Mines and Energy were Senator Milton Teahjay, Sinoe County; Senator Darius Dillon, Montserrado County; Senator J. Gbleh-Bo Brown, Maryland County; and Senator Simeon Taylor, Grand Cape Mount County.

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