Liberia chairman, speaker charged on alleged bribes

The chairman of Liberia's ruling party and the speaker of the house of representatives have been charged in connection with allegations reported by Global Witness that they paid bribes to government officials to change a mining law to help a British firm.

Sen. Varney Sherman and Speaker Alex Tyler appeared before a criminal court Wednesday.

Global Witness alleges Sherman, a lawyer in 2010 for Sable Mining, paid $950,000 to top Liberian officials to persuade them to alter the mining concession law to help the firm secure rights to the Wologizi iron ore concession in northern Liberia in 2010. Tyler was named as allegedly receiving money.

The two, who deny the allegations, have been released on bail.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf set up a taskforce to investigate the report.