Govt/SL Mining Debacle….

NMA Boss’ Incompetence Exposed

President Bio fooled again!!!

When the SL Mining Crisis was at its peak, the then Minister of Mines, Rado Yokie, advised the government to have a negotiated settlement of the matter, thereby preventing any court case that the company may institute, but the Director General at the National Minerals Agency (NMA), Julius Mattai and his Fiancé, the then Attorney General, Priscilla Schwarts, advised the President against that move, eventually leading to the removal of the minister from office by the President. Today his advice has had sway, as a negotiated settlement has been reached between the company and the government.

It could be recalled that the then Minister of Mines, vehemently opposed the suggestion by both the NMA boss and the AG, especially, being the fact that he was minister and had knowledge about the sector more than the others, and it was expected that his advice on the sector should be what the President should follow. Unfortunately, either because of some ulterior motive or the desire to show his standing with the President, the NMA boss kicked against the minister’s decision. Thus with the termination of the Mining License of SL Mining, the company took the matter to the International Court of Arbitration, which eventually found in favour of the company, directing that the government do the needful. Early this year, the government informed citizens that moves are on the way to settle the matter. Over the weekend, the matter was settled out of court and the government agreed to pay compensation to the company for economic loss occasioned by the untimely termination of their contract without recourse to the law guiding observance of contracts.

What was most disturbing is the fact that the then Attorney General, who was expected to advice the government on the law, either did not known about the relevant provisions in the law of contract, or simply sided with her partner in business to advice otherwise, and her advice to the President has rendered the country in huge financial loss to the tune of millions of dollars. Monies that could have been otherwise ploughed into other development activities for the country. It also further plunged the government into an embarrassing situation, where it had to eat back its words. Many Sierra Leoneans doubted that this Attorney General, who woefully lost the treason case against Palo Conteh, because of her failure to present the required evidence to tie the suspect to the case, would ever win the case against the mining company in an international court, where rules of evidence are strictly followed and respected.

It could be recalled that upon realization that the AG had advised the government wrongly on the Palo Conteh case and developed false charges against the man, thereby putting the government to both public and international ridicule after the verdict was delivered, prompted the President to sack her.

 The actions of both the NMA boss and the then AG have created loss of jobs for many Sierra Leoneans and plunged many families into poverty, as their bread winners were no longer employed and able to care for their families. It was also disclosed that some individuals committed suicide, as they could not fend for their families, and had become laughing stock of people in their communities.

Some concerned citizens are calling for the resignation of the NMA boss and a public apology to the nation for misleading the government and creating more hardship on the people, which will result from the huge financial loss that the government has now been laden with.

It is the view of many Sierra Leoneans that the Minister of Mines’ decision should not be overridden by his subordinate, irrespective of that subordinate’s affiliation with the President. It should be noted that whilst the President has the power to appoint those he is comfortable of working with, those appointed should respect the positions of their superiors, irrespective of their connections with the President, after all the desire of the President to appoint them is to ensure that they deliver on their respective mandates. As far as the mining sector is concern, the minister is the head of that ministry and should make the final decision on such matters and advice the President accordingly. His decision should not be challenged, because in our political dispensation, many seek only their personal interests and only a few try to deliver on their mandate. This lesson Sierra Leone has come to learn the hard way and is going to pay dearly for it.  

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