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First witness testifies in GW bribery case

Prosecution’s first witness in the economic sabotage trial of past andpresent Liberian officials accused of being bribed by U.K. – basedSable Mining, Mr. Marc N. Kollie. says Dr. Eugene Shannon receivedUS$250,000 and another US$5,000 in his capacity as Lands and MinesMinister.

“The investigation concludes that Big Boy One is Defendant EugeneShannon and Big Boy -2 is Defendant E.C.B. Jones,” the Liberia Anti -Corruption Commission or LACC senior corruption investigator Mr.Kollie said Friday, 10 March at the Criminal Court “C”.

Witness Kollie alleged that former House Speaker J. Alex Tylerreceived from defendant H. Varney G. Sherman US$75,000 and furtherdemanded from Sable Mining executive defendant Klaus Piprek US$250,000in August 2010 to influence the passage of the Public Procurement andConcession Commission or PPCC Act in favor of the company.

Mr. Kollie testified that his interaction with the defendants wasprompted by a Global Witness report published on 11 May 2016. Heclaimed that Nigerian national Chris Onanuga received US$50,000, andformer National Investment Commission Boss Richard Tolbert receivedUS$50,000 from defendant Sherman.

Witness Kollie narrated how the Global Witness report specified analleged corruption scheme in which a British mining firm Sable Miningacquired shares or interest in Delta Mining and hired Liberian lawyer
Cllr. H. Varney G. Sherman who allegedly became distributor of bribesoffered by the company.

With the alleged advice of Cllr. Sherman, now Grand Cape Mount CountySenator, witness Kollie says Global Witness claimed that Sable Miningpaid bribes to current and past officials of government.

“The essence of these [bribe] payments according to the report was toinfluence the change or change of the Public Procurement ConcessionCommission (PPCC) Law of 2005; the laws of this country in favor of
Sable Mining. Sable Mining is a UK – based firm registered in theBritish Vergence Island with registration number 1402067,” the witnesssaid.

Witness Kollie said Global Witness had alleged that bribes were paidto the officials totaling US$950,000, and amounts paid to two unknowncharacters called by the report as Big Boys One and Two.

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He said a private investigator for over 25 years, Paul Sulevan, hadfurnished investigators with emails and other documentary evidencethat connected the defendants with the alleged commission of thecrimes.

Witness Kollie further said Heines Van Niekerk who was very familiarto the named defendants allegedly turned over to investigators ”CC”copies of emails directly sent to him.

He concluded that Sable Mining executive Klaus Piprek who worked inLiberia told investigators that he was copied and “CC” in most of theemails concerning the conspiracy to change the laws of Liberia infavor of a single company.

By Winston W. Parley-edited by Othello B. Garblah

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