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Supreme Court reserves ruling in BAO CHICO case

By Lincoln G. Peters 

The Supreme Court has reserved ruling in the BAO CHICO Mineral Development Agreement case which has brought the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate at loggerhead.

The case surrounds a heated argument between the two houses in which both the Senate and the House accused each other of committing constitutional errors.

Last year the Liberian Senate passed the BAO CHICO Mineral Development Agreement and sent it to the House of Representatives for approval.

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But the House of Representatives rejected approval of the US$500m agreement, claiming that the Senate violated Article 34d (i) of the Constitution of Liberia. 

Instead, the House of Representatives passed its own version of the BAO CHICO Mineral Development Agreement for the extraction of iron ore in Gbarpolu County, western Liberia.

Article 34d(i) provides that “All revenue bills, whether subsidies, charges, imports, duties or taxes, and other financial bills, shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.” 

The decision by the House of Representatives has prompted the Senate to file a petition before the Supreme Court of Liberia, seeking the constitutionality of the BAO CHICO Mineral Development Agreement.

The petition which invited the House of Representatives as first respondent also dragged Liberia’s Justice Minister Cllr. Frank Musa Dean as second respondent to a conference with Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr., on Wednesday, 22 December 2021.

“By directive of His Honor Francis S. Korkpor, Sr., Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, you are hereby cited to a conference with His Honor in the Conference Room of the Chief Justice on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, at the hour of 11:00 am in connection with the above-captioned case,” the Court ordered.

The concession is a 25-year agreement and is expected to earn Liberia millions of dollars.

The Mineral Development Agreement between the Government of Liberia and BAO CHICO Resources Liberia Ltd is for the extraction of iron ore to be operated under a Class “A” Mining License for an initial term of 25 years from the effective date.

BAO CHICO Resources Liberia Ltd. is a corporation registered under the laws of Liberia, with TIN Number 500118730 for mineral exploration and mining in Liberia.

On 12 August 2008, the company was granted an Exploration License MEL 12005 in accordance with Section 1.2 of the Exploration Regulations for the exploration of Mineral Products within the area specified on the license which covered a total area of 87.4km2 within Gbarpolu County.

The company’s license, which was renewed on 15 August 2013, is expected to provide direct benefits in the form of employment and revenue generation.

However, the Liberian Senate and the House of Representatives have been at loggerheads over the House’s decision to pass its version of the Mineral Development Agreement with BAO CHICO Mineral, ignoring similar agreement sent to it by the Senate.

Following arguments by both legal teams representing the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate on Tuesday, 18 January 2022, Chief Justice Korkpor the court reserved ruling in the case.

During the hearing, the Liberian Senate was represented by Grand Cape Mount County Senator Cllr. Varney Sherman and lawyers.

The Senate’s legal team contended that the House of Representatives committed constitutional errors by ratifying the BAO CHICO agreement.

In a related development, Chief Justice Korkpor has expressed dismay over Justice Minister Dean’s failure to appear in court after being served the notice of assignment for the hearing of the case.


The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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