According to legal sources, it is purely the prerogative of a company to hire or find its own private security outfit. There are many who are looking at the scenario from the angle of mining companies that were operating in this country prior to the war. There was the case of the Liberia American Mining Company (LAMCO) in Nimba County, and the Bong Mining Company in lower Bong County, that maintained their own security for the protection of company properties.
The question that was being asked in several quarters is, what will be the profit to ArcelorMittal to hire and import foreign mercenaries to serve as private security in the country. Can it then be true that ArcelorMittal has side-stepped the fact that Liberia is governed by the rule of law and the concessional agreements with government have no provisions for companies engaging in subversive activities?
What Defense Minister Samukai is maintaining he is aware of what the company, sayin that the company's alleged action is a total violation of the country's laws and the United Nations armed embargo on Liberia. He however noted that there was no need for anyone to panic.
But the ArcelorMittal's spokesperson Hasta Baker vehemently denied the allegations, stating that: 'it has been alleged that ArcelorMittal was bringing in armed ex-military officials with ammunition as security for its ships operating in Buchanan. This is absolutely not true as ArcelorMittal-Liberia does not hire armed guards or contracted any company to do security work for them. “We have not hired a security firm by the name of International security systems.”
ArcelorMittal further indicated that they fully abide with the United Nations mandate against the importation of arms and under no circumstances will they violate the UN mandate as they are committed to abide by the voluntary principles on security and human rights that sets out international best practice standards for security and arrangements of industrial operations.
We view that if the Defense Minister lacks credible evidences to implicate ArcelorMittal, making such allegations when in fact they do not exist can have the propensity to discourage potential investors to scare away from Liberia.
The argument in town is that Defense Minister Samukai has his own security firm Execon and that ArcelorMittal may have elected not to hire it for security services, thereby raising the noise. If this is the case as being suggested in several quarters, then, we feel that the Defense Minister was not doing justice as a public official, by blending his public work with his private initiative.
We feel that this is sheer injustice to the Liberian people and its investment partners including the accused ArcelorMittal. This is so because it is unprofitable to the nation for anyone to cry wolf when a wolf does not exist and when such is done out of prejudice for one reason or the other.