Russian-backed Solway Group Seeks US$50M Illegal Settlement in Liberia

The Government of Liberia is struggling tooth and nail to raise funds for its national development roadmap -the ARREST Agenda with the deliberate strive to lift Liberians out of destitution. But amid these spine-piercing realities, a Russian-owned mining company that was designated by the United States Treasury Department in 2022, for corruption and bribery in the mining sector across the world, is embarking on another blackmail scheme to extort US$50 million United States Dollars under the guise of settle for a mining license that the Russian-backed firm was never directly a part of.

In a letter sent to Liberia’s Justice Minister, Cllr. Oswald N. Tweh and dated May 16, 2024, Solway Investment Group is requesting an “out of court settlement with the Government of Liberia for a ransom of US$50 million. The company is demanding that this ransom is paid “no later than Friday, May 31, 2024.

“Solway is open to considering a final and binding out-of-court settlement of this matter provided that such an agreement can be reached quickly. This would enable Liberia to complete negotiations in relation to the relevant area with third parties, including AML,” the company said in its letter to the Government of Liberia.

Solway Investment Group demanded “in summary, Solway requests compensation of not less than US$50 million in cash for the unlawful expropriation of its rights in Liberia, to be paid to an account of Solway’s choice in Switzerland, the United Kingdom or France. For the avoidance of doubt, this amount is significantly less than what Solway considers to be the fair value of its invest- ment in Liberia. Nonetheless, Solway is prepared to accept payment of this amount in exchange for the full and final settlement of any existing or future claims by Solway against Liberia,” SIG letter added.

In addition to its demand for ransom, the company claimed that it owns Solway Mining Inc. although documents at the Ministry of Mines and Energy point to the fact that Solway Mining Inc. is one hundred percent (100%) owned by a businessman, Alfred Boima Morgan who is the actual owner of the mining license in question.

On December 15, 2023, the Liberian Ministry of Mines and Energy stated emphatically “Our licensing system captured Mr. Alford Boima Morgan as 100% owner of SOLWAY Mining Inc.and Mr. Morgan was still in possession of his 100% shares of SOLWAY Mining Inc. as justified by his share certificate of October 17, 2018, at the time the Ministry granted MEL8000119.

This magazine has established that Mr. Morgan was never working for Solway Investment Group which is the basis for the company’s claim for a ransom in a deal originally owner by the businessman.

Our investigation revealed that the businessman holds 100% ownership and no other party should claim ownership according to the Ministry of Mines and Energy.

“If the termination of MEL8000119 by the Ministry of Mines and Energy is to be challenged, it must be done by the license holder (SOLWAY Mining Inc), and this must be done according to Section 19.1. Settlement of Dispute of the Minerals and Mining Law of 2000. The Ministry of Mines & Energy received an interest in the mineral sector from Mr. Alford B. Morgan of SOLWAY Mining Inc. through an application form that was filled in and submitted to the Minister’s office as required on January 3, 2019. The application was vetted, approved, the company was invoiced and after proof of payment was made, the license under discussion was granted,” the Ministry of Mines and Energy stated.

The Russian-backed mining company’s threats to sue the Liberian Government and then demanding ransom point to the reason owners of the company were sanctioned by the US Treasury Department for corruption especially considering the fact that the firm does not have any existing agreement with the Government of Liberia.

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M-News Africa is an online magazine that reports trending issues, politics, tourism, investigative reporting, Environmental, Marine Ecosystem, Human Rights, Human Interest and other cross-cutting issues. Contact us: +231 775 552 553; editor@mnewsafrica.com; info@mnewsafrica.com; Carey and Center Streets Intersection, Monrovia