By Lincoln G. Peters
Liberia’s immediate past Foreign Minister Milton Gbehzohngar Findley has dragged the management of ArcelorMittal to court for a declaratory judgment due to the company’s alleged failure to meet its social responsibility agreement signed in 2007.
Mr. Findley, a former Senate President Pro – tempore during former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s administration before being appointed Foreign Minister under the George Manneh Weah regime, issuing the steel giant company just days after it amended its multi-billion-dollar Mineral Development Agreement with Mr. Weah’s government.
Speaking at a press conference in Monrovia Wednesday, 15 September 2021, Mr. Findley noted that his legal team, represented by Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson has filed a petition of declaratory judgment before the Second Judicial Circuit Court of Grand Bassa County against ArcelorMittal.
In the petition filed, Findley’s lawyers alleged that Mittal Steel has not been living up to its social contract theory, adding that under international laws, international organizations or corporations are required by law to abide by international standards in the treatment of concessions and citizens within the concession areas.
But Mr. Findley accuses ArcelorMittal of allegedly breaching multiple provisions of Liberia’s Civil Procedure Law and the Liberia Code of Laws Revised which prompted him to sue the company to compel it to do the right thing and respect the rights of the people of Grand Bassa County.
He wants the court to restore all the rights and privileges that are stated in the agreement for the people of Grand Bassa County.
“I’m a Concessionaire and party to the Concession Agreement with the Government of the Republic of Liberia and Mittal Steel which is named “An Act Ratifying the Amendment to the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) Dated August 17, 2005, Between the Government of the Republic of Liberia … and Mittal Steel Holding,” said Mr. Findley.
He explained that under the Concession Agreement signed by Mittal Steel and the Government of Liberia, the company shall construct, maintain and operate health facilities in the concession area, and shall install, maintain, and use modern health devices and equipment.
He said the agreement also obligates the company to practice modern health procedures and precautions in accordance with accepted international medical standards.
But he claimed that since its existence in 2007, this concession agreement has never been implemented by Mittal Steel.
“All I’m not asking Mittal Steel to leave this country, neither do I want them out of operation in Grand Bassa County. What I want from the Court is to declare the rights of the hundreds of Bassa Citizens. This action is in accordance with the provision of the Concession, “Findley noted.
Findley’s legal action comes this week after President Weah on Friday, September 10, 2021, commended ArcelorMittal Executive Chairman Mr. Lakshmi Mittal for his intentions to continue to invest in the future of Liberia after the signing ceremony of an amended Mineral Development Agreement between the Government of Liberia and ArcelorMittal.
With the signing of the Third Amendment to its Mineral Development Agreement, the Executive Mansion here says ArcelorMittal will invest an additional US$800 million into its Phase Two iron ore project, which will enable them to move from producing five million metric tons of iron ore per year to fifteen million metric tons per year within the next three years.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/liberia-government-signs-landmark-agreement-with-arcelormittal/–Edited by Winston W. Parley