Liberia: Bea Mountain Accused of Shielding Expatriate Allegedly Involved in Sexual Harassment

Monrovia — The Bea Mountain Mining Corporation, currently exploring and mining for gold in Western Liberia is engulfed in allegations of a major coverup to shield alleged sexual harassment involving one of its expat employees and a Liberian woman, also in the employ of the company.

The incident reportedly took place between November and December of 2020 and the accuser, whose name is being withheld due to the ongoing investigation, subsequently made allegations against Mr. Ferhat Ozdenvar, a Turkish national, working as the Procurement Manager of Bea Mountain Mining Company, the parent company of Avesoro Holdings.

In March this year, lawyers representing the interest of the accuser informed the company BMMC about the allegations.

In the communication, in possession of FrontPageAfrica, the accuser's lawyer expressed concerns that the accused Mr. Ozdenvar, also the accuser's supervisor, was also part of the committee set up to investigate the allegations.

According to the communication, the accuser noted that the accused, Mr. Ozdenvar was asked by the committee to provide a written response to the allegations, which he did, and that she was subsequently asked to respond to his response, which she also did.

The communication notes that both she and Mr. Ozdenvar were requested by the committee to appear in person for an investigation on January 15, 2021; and that though she appeared, and was put through several hours of interrogation, Mr. Ozdenvar did not appear. "To date, the committee has failed to provide any update to the accuser in respect of the status of the investigation," the communication from the accuser's lawyer to the company states.

The accuser also notes through her lawyer, that since she filed the complaint, she was requested to stay away form the office and has not been paid her salary for the months of January to June 2021, whilst Mr. Ozdenvar continues to work with pay while the company continues to potentially expose other employees to a predator, creating fear in other employees that they too might be subjected to the accuser's fate, should they decide to come forward.

Since the incident came to light, BMMC has reportedly smuggled the accused out of the country, to Turkey, and promoted as a Senior Manager over 4 countries including Liberia-A vulgar display of power by the institution.

FrontPageAfrica has been informed that the company has issued instructions for Mr. Ferhat to remain out of the country until the matter has quieted down.

In communication to the company, the accuser's lawyer, accused BMMC of trying to employ mechanisms to shut the accuser up and avoid liability, "because in your calculation, you are a multi-national and as such you can use your economic position, to exploit the vulnerability of a young Liberian woman," the communication noted.

The accuser's lawyer informed BMMC that the withholding of her salary is an unlawful retaliation. The company has also been informed that its facilitation of the travel of Mr. Ozdenvar out of Liberia is a clear stratagem at obstruction of justice.

The accuser's lawyer also prevailed on BMMC to ensure that her rights are protected, and her salary for the months she has been out of work, since January paid.

The company has been notified that the allegations borders on the violation of multiple provisions of the Decent Work Act, and BMMC -Avesoro Holdings may otherwise be held strictly liable for the sexual harassment.

When contacted by FrontPageAfrica, Mr. Serhan Umurhan, Chief Executive Officer of Bea Mountain Mining Company denied that Mr. Ferhat is still in the employ of the company.

Responding to an FPA inquiry, Mr. Umurhan wrote:

"First of all, the employment contract of the employee of our company Ferhat ÖZDENVAR has been terminated by our company and this person no longer works for our company. Therefore, Ferhat ÖZDENVAR has no relationship with our company. Hence the claim that this person was secretly sent to Turkey and still works in our company is false. It is known that the criminal investigation continues regarding the incident that our company alleged to have taken place between Ferhat ÖZDENVAR and the accused. Our company cannot comment on a matter which is subject to the ongoing criminal investigation. The judicial authorities are authorized to make the final decision on this matter."

The accused is said to be in a constant habit of sexually harassing women in the employ of BMMC. "I was just one of the many victim who decided to speak up. He imposes In a way that intimidates women into silence to protect their job. Which is why he doesn't give contract so in case a lady is offended by his advances, he can simply dismiss her," a female employee at BMMC, speaking on condition of anonymity told FrontPageAfrica.

Bea Mountain, the parent company of Avesoro Holdings, is engaged in the exploration and development of gold deposits in highly prospective and underexplored areas in Grand Cape Mount County, also has 100 percent exclusive rights to Weaju, Gondoja, Ndablama and Leopard Rock projects.

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