LIBERIA – The hash economy condition of Liberia has pushed George Weah’s Coalition Democratic Change (DCD) government on a steep precipice that could see the United States Government under Joe Biden toss it to perpetual demise in the wake of confidential transaction with a firm that said to be financed and owned by Russian Oligarchs.
There are no stated reasons for investors fearing to do business under the Weah regime, but some of the few investments that showed head under the regime of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf have since folded.
That lack of major investment in the country has moved MNG Gold, a Turkish firm trading in the gold business, to become the biggest fish and seems to be wielding influence in the Weah Government.
Yet still, the government is finding it difficult to finance a proposed 700 Million National budget and is seeking new fronts for finances.
The new national budget has US$30 as a contribution from the controversial Solway mining agreement. The Ministry of Mines has granted Solway the right to explore mounts Mbelle and Detton in which ArcelorMittal is also claiming ownership.
That puts the Weah government on a direct collision course with ArcelorMittal; so much so that the Liberian President, in violation of the law, has disclosed his fervent support and interest for a new mining firm said to be owned by people who are being sought after by Liberia’s traditional friend and partner-the United States of America.
But what is behind the Liberian President and former soccer star putting his image on the line to unpretentiously speak so kind of Solway ownership?
Addressing Nimba citizens on the side-line of the last cabinet retreat, the former soccer star said Solway Mining was co-owned by a Liberian and an Indian; and that the Liberian was his family who and him stayed and slept in the same room.
President George Weah did not name the Liberian but added that it was good that ArcelorMittal and Solway were holding discussions on ways to find solutions to their misunderstanding.
Hiding from the Americans?
Investigated has unearthed Solway’s real owners; and not the little-known former Liberian rubber seller-Boimah Alford Morgan who is listed as Solway’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Theo Dennis as Comptroller.
According to the investigation, Solway is allegedly bankrolled by a Russian multi-billionaire, Aleksandr Bronstein, who has strong ties to the inner circle of Russian President, Vladimir Putin, including Alexey Mordashov, owner of the failed Putu Mining Operations in Liberia.
Putu Mining operated briefly in Grand Gedeh but got shut down under unexplained circumstances during the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf regime.
A Russian publication, Kommersant.ru, revealed in 2020 that the Solway Group is run by the Estonian oligarch, Aleksandr Bronstein, and his son, Dan Bronstein.
Aleksandr Bronstein, the publication reported is a business magnate who founded Solway Investment in 2002, after chairing the board of directors of Siberian-Urals Aluminum Company, Russian bauxite, and aluminum producer that merged in 2007 with its main competitor in the country, Rusal, and Swiss trader Glencore.
“Aleksandr Bronstein has also been the head of several mining companies, after starting his career at Estonia’s Ministry of Forestry and Environment. He is reputedly well-connected in the business and political world of both Estonia and Russia. Born in St. Petersburg to a family that left Russia to escape anti-Semitism, Aleksandr Bronstein is heavily involved in philanthropic activities for the Jewish community and has served as vice-president of the World Jewish Congress”, the report said.
The report states that Solway Investment’s arrival in Liberia marked its return to the African continent, as the company has held interests in Kaminex, which owns copper permits in the DRC.
“The Liberian subsidiary has been run since last November by Morgan Alford Warmiller, who previously worked in import-export to Liberia and neighboring countries such as Ivory Coast, notably for EU Commodities and West Africa Rubber Traders.
Top sources familiar with the situation said people took advantage of the CDC Government’s poor economy and allegedly negotiated to bring the Russians to Liberian under the charade, it is co-owned by a Liberian and an Indian.
Our sources said the Liberian leader had to say that as a means of camouflaging the Russian owners to avoid US sanctions.
The US is hunting down all Russian businesses around the world for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Watch out for details of how Solway actually got to Liberia.