The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

RED FLAG! Is Sam G. Russ double Dipping, Jeopardizing Liberia’s Multi-Billion Dollar Mining Sector?

By Nathaniel A. Davids

Legal experts and governance practitioners alike are asking some sensitive questions about Liberia’s Mining Sector that seem very basic, but again, people will say “That’s L-I-B!”

How can a CEO of a controversial Russian iron ore company still work on the staff of President Weah’s Legal Advisor?

The issues being raised by these concerned legal pundits are based on some leaked documents which are in possession of this paper.

Mr. Sam G. Russ is signing documents as CEO on behalf of Solway Investment Group, a Russian mining company.

Solway Investment Group is under serious scrutiny after the US Treasury Department imposed Sanctions on Solway’s Director of Mining Operations and three of its subsidiaries for Russian-backed corruption in the mining industry in Guatemala.

The US Treasury Department Sanctions warn individuals and entities which are directly or indirectly connected to those sanctioned. Normally everybody gets watched very closely.

Observers and pundits are concerned that Mr. Russ’ actions

are risky and are exposing the President Weah’s Office and Cllr. Archibald Bernard,  Legal Advisor to President Weah to potential US Sanctions.

All of this is going on at a time when ArcelorMittal’s nearly 1Billion dollars MDA negotiations with the Government of Liberia are under way. President Weah recently constituted a 3-member Special Committee to review the Mittal MDA amendment. The direct boss of Mr. Sam G. Russ is Hon. Archibald Bernard, who is part of the 3-member Special Committee.

Isn’t there a direct conflict of interest, when Mr. Sam G. Russ is serving as both the CEO of Solway, Mittal’s main rivals for mineral rights in Nimba County, and Cllr. Archibald Bernard’s direct report?

Governance practitioners are raising the red flag that both HPX and ArcelorMittal are at a major negotiating disadvantage because of Sam Russ’ dual role as Solway Investment Group’s CEO while serving as principal assistant to Cllr. Archibald Bernard.

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