Challenging corruption: Iron Ore Case

In 2004, the Liberian transitional government began shipping the country’s 800,000 metric ton stockpile of iron ore to China, estimated to be worth more than USD$10 million. The export contract was never made public, violating the Accra Peace Agreement and continuing a legacy of corruption. Green Advocates is leading a network of civil society organizations challenging decades of government corruption by taking its first case against the government to the case the Supreme Court. This test case seeks to stop the illegal shipment of Liberia’s stockpile of iron ore.

Using Liberian laws, the constitution, and international precedents of the Accra Peace Agreement, Green Advocates sought to have the export contract made public so the government would have to account for the revenue from the iron ore export. Green Advocates argued its case in front of the Supreme Court and the court ordered the government to cease shipments of the iron ore.

The government ignored the court’s order, continued shipping from the Port of Buchanan, and challenged Green Advocates right to sue, or “standing.” Green Advocate attorneys appeared before Liberia’s Supreme Court in October 2004 Term of Court and made their case for standing. Green Advocates will have to wait until the court reconvenes in 2005 to see if Green Advocates will have standing to continue its challenge.