CORRECTED-Liberia grand jury indicts Sable Mining, officials for bribery

jueves 26 de mayo de 2016 04:41 GYT

(Corrects to clarify that Sable was not awarded the concession it was seeking to acquire)

By James Harding Giahyue

MONROVIA May 25 (Reuters) - A grand jury in Liberia on Wednesday indicted government officials, including the speaker of parliament and the head of the ruling party, along with London AIM-listed Sable Mining on charges including bribery.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ordered an inquiry into Sable's attempt to acquire an iron ore concession in northern Liberia after the watchdog group Global Witness made accusations of wrong-doing in a report earlier this month.

A grand jury in the capital Monrovia accused the defendants of bribery among other crimes, according to the indictment seen by Reuters.

The indictment alleged that the defendants conspired to use their positions to amend Liberia's public procurement and concessions law. It asserted that they succeeded in changing the law to give the Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy the power to declare a concession area as a non-bidding area.

The indictment did not specify how Sable Mining allegedly benefited from the change to the law and Reuters was unable to independently determine if Sable actually did.

In its report Global Witness claimed that the amendment was intended to allow the company to win the concession without a tender. In the end however, Sable Mining was not awarded the property, known as Wologizi.

A spokeswoman for Sable said the company would not comment on the accusations made in the indictment, which cover a period including 2010 and 2011.   Continuación...