5 February 2013

Liberia: Arcelormittal Hires Armed Security Officers

Defense Minister Brownie Samukai has accused ArcelorMittal of bringing into the country ex- military personnel who are armed to protect the company's shipping operations but company has rubbished the claims.

In an interview aired on Truth FM Monday, Minister Samukai said it is against the law of Liberia and the United Nations armed embargo for the company to bring armed security personnel to protect its shipping operations.

Minister Samukai said while Liberians are desperately in need of jobs, it was wrong for the company to bring foreigners to be paid huge salary at the detriment of Liberians.

But in reaction, the Head of Communications of ArcelorMittal-Liberia, Hesta Baker-Pearson said the allegation is untrue.

"ArcelorMittal Liberia does not hire armed guards and nor does any company contracted to do work for us; furthermore, we have not hired ISS (International Security Services) to carry out work for us," she stated.

Madam Baker-Pearson: "We fully abide by the United Nations mandate against arms and under no circumstances will we violate that mandate. ArcelorMittal Liberia is also committed to abide by the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights that sets out international best practice and standards for security arrangements of industrial operations."

"As required by law, the coast guards and the Ministry of Defense are able to inspect any of our vessels at anytime and we invite them to do so," Madam Baker-Pearson said.

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