Liberia: Truth & Reconciliation on logging to fund the war & continuing corruption

Mr. Siakor was speaking Monday at Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation
Commission (TRC) Public Hearing on Economic Crimes at the Centennial
Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia. His presentation focused on the Logging
Sector and the Conflict.

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Siakor described the actions of former President Taylor and associates
as organized looting of public property in which government officials
at various levels participated and contributed to this large scale
theft of public property.

He said bad governance was one of the most important factors that made this possible. But Mr. Siakor expressed concern that the present government led by “perhaps the most high profile opposition and critic of former President Taylor” appears to be determined to maintain Taylor’s most notorious legacy, the large scale seizure of over a million acre of community’s forestlands in 2000.

“Perhaps not surprisingly, this was allowed by sons and daughters of those communities when they enacted the National Forest Law in 2000 which provided that all forest resources are owned by the republic-totally disregarding the property rights of communities with deeds for their forestlands.” The loss to these communities, he said, were in three-folds, as not only did the government steal the forest, but many of the companies that were given concessions wantonly violated their rights and yet they did not benefit from the revenue generated from logging activities.

He said while this government boasts about good governance and trumpets its respect for the rule of law it appears to be determined to maintain the legacy of former President Taylor.

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