By ratifying the BAO CHICO Mineral Development Agreement, the Liberian Senate did not violate Article 34d(i) of the 1986 Constitution, according to the Liberian Supreme Court.
“All revenue bills, whether subsidies, charges, imports, or other financial bills, shall originate in the House of Representatives; however, the Senate may offer or concur with changes as on other bills,” according to Article 34d(i).
Members of the House of Representatives have argued that the law is a revenue bill, while the Supreme Court has ruled that it is a finance bill.
The Senate plenary petitioned the Supreme Court, claiming that Article 34d(i) of the Liberian Constitution of 1986 was interpreted incorrectly.
The Senate made its decision in response to a communication from the House of Representatives alleging that the process leading to ratification of the BAO CHICO Mineral Development Agreement violated Article 34d(i) of Liberia’s 1986 Constitution.
The BAO-CHICO agreement is for the extraction of iron ore to be operated under a Class A mining license for an initial term of twenty-five (25) years in Gbarpolu County within the area specified on the license, which covers a total area of 87.4 km2 within Gbarpolu County.
The company’s investment is to the tune of US $500 million, aimed at improving the country’s economy and creating job opportunities and scholarships for citizens as part of its support to the government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
According to the government, the BAO CHICO deal is expected to bring in an annual social contribution of US $300,000 and, after five years, escalate to US $500,000 until the end of the term.
Also, an additional US $10,000 is expected for Gbarpolu County as General Education Funding, while another US $50,000 will be provided annually as Scientific Reserves Fund. “