28a.......before I leave the AFRC, I need to give a brief account of some of the reckless manner in which that regime dealt with the assets of this country. Some of the associates of the junta had no restraint in causing further havoc on the country.
At the request of Mr. Victor Foh, a gentleman, Mr. Michael Hart Jones, purporting to belong to a company named Africa Trade Link Ltd. entered into an arrangement with the AFRC junta whereby the unused mining and mineral reserves of this country were to be used as collateral for a loan that the junta was determined to obtain.
In this connection in a faxed message sent to Mr. Foh, dated 24th September 1997, Mr. Hart-Jones purported to have secured one billion dollars for the project. The project was to involve the Government giving four securities to the tune of $200 million and the mining concessions were to be the collateral. The funds to be raised by this arrangement were alleged to be intended to be utilized partly on the services of the AFRC junta.
The scheme was to be effected as follows:-
A company named Commercial African Development Ltd. (CARD) was re-registered in Sierra Leone on the 19th day of December 1997. This Company was made to enter into a joint partnership with the junta and the mining concessions in respect of the richest mining areas in the country were given to the joint venture. Four Bank Guarantees of $50 million each dated 12th November 1997, in favour of CARD for the $200 million secured were then issued by the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone and the Minister of Finance, both appointees of the junta.
If the AFRC had not been ousted in February 1998, thereby aborting the scheme, the effect on Sierra Leone and its economy as a result of this arrangement would have been -
The documents involved in this transaction are available here for the Commission's perusal.
The account of this transaction needs to be brought to the notice of the Commission merely for the purpose of further illustrating the reckless manner in which regimes, which were unaccountable, schemed to wreck the economy and destroy the mineral assets of this country.