Liberia: Government Orders the Deportation of a British Investor

By: Augustine N. Myers – The Government of the Republic of Liberia has ordered with immediate effect the deportation of a British Investor on charges of bribery in connection with a Carbon Offsetting Deal worth close to 2.2 billion United States dollars.

The Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs are directed to begin extradition proceedings against Michael Foster, a businessman from Widnes, Cheshire.

The directive is issued by the Liberian leader, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, which also followed the dismissal of some Government officials from the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and the Public Procurement & Concessions Commission (PPCC).

Mr. Foster was reportedly arrested by City London Police last June and was subsequently released without charge. City London Police said last week that the investigation was ongoing and that they were still cooperating with Liberian Authorities. The Home Office would not confirm or deny whether it had received an extradition request for Foster.

President Johnson-Sirleaf launched an inquiry into the proposed carbon concession after Mr. Foster was arrested. The Spokesman of Mr. Foster says he awaits his copy and therefore sight of the report, indeed such will be the first communication from the Special Presidential Committee.

The alleged carbon concession proposed by Mr. Foster to the forestry Development Authority of the West African State (Liberia) involved the rental of one-fifth of its rainforest to his (Foster) Company “Carbon Harvesting Corporation”, with a view of selling offset credits.

The Deal would have covered 400,000 hectares of forest that held an estimated 162 million tones of CO2. With a minimum target price of around $13.5 per tone, the deal could have been worth up to 2.2bn.

Liberia is 32 per cent forested and could potentially earn much needed revenue from its natural resources as it recovers from decades of civil war funded by so-called conflict timber and diamonds.

Since the end of the Liberian civil war in 2003, and the election of Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as Africa’s first female President in 2006, Liberia has focused on its forests as a major source of revenue, granting large concessions of to logging Companies.