Two offshore investment funds toke Liberia to London’s high court, over an unpaid debt that dates back to the 1970s.
The Caribbean-based companies, described as “vulture funds” want more than $20 million.
Vulture funds are investment companies that buy up the defaulted debts of poor countries extremely cheaply and then sue for full, immediate repayment with steep levels of interest and penalty charges. They can make enormous profits from taking money out of the economies of very poor countries – money which has often been freed up by debt cancellation.
But Liberia says there is no way the country can pay the debt, and accuses the firms of profiting from poverty.
Liberian Finance Minister Augustine Ngafuan told the BBC’s Network Africa programme the country could not afford to repay the debt.
“Our lawyers are going to work tooth and nail to battle this,” he said.
He added that he hoped that the international community would take action to make sure that “these people that survive on poverty do not thrive”.
Liberia recently emerged from 14 years of civil war, during which it is estimated that 250,000 people – one in 12 of the population – died. Average life expectancy is just 45, according to the World Bank. The $20m the two firms are claiming amounts to half the country’s health and education budget.
Maybe they expect us to pull the money out of our asses and give it to them, what the hell is wrong with these people, thousands of our children are dying everyday from malnutrition, and preventable deceases and all these greedy fools can think about is how to kill even more of them.
Let them take us to any court they want, we don’t have the money, we cannot afford to pay the debt, and we should not pay it even if we have it.