Land owning families in Eastern Sierra Leone sue Chinese company and Paramount Chief to recover land
Freetown, Sierra Leone, February 16, 2015– Land owning families in Nimiyama Chiefdom, Kono District, Eastern Sierra Leone have commenced legal action in the country’s High Court against Orient Agricultural Ltd- a Chinese-owned company, Paramount Chief George B. Torto III, Chiefdom Speaker Philip M. Koroma, Senior Town Chief Moses S. Kamanda and Councillor Hudy Condeh of Ward 78, to recover a total of 1,486 acres of land.
The writ, issued on 10 February 2015 also seeks damages for trespass to land, destruction of crops and economic trees as well as special damages for loss of revenue. The plaintiffs have in addition asked the court to issue an injunction against the defendants.
By an agreement dated 25 November 2013, the chiefs and councillor sold to Orient Agricultural Ltd, 1486 acres of farmland spanning 8 villages at the price of US $ 130 per acre. The land in question belongs to several land owning families who had no knowledge of the transaction and had never authorised the sale or disposal of their property. The defendants have cut down trees, and destroyed crops in the process of erecting huge pillars on the land. The families have been denied access to the land.
According to Sahr Moiguwa, one of the plaintiffs, “our lives depend on our land but the company and our leaders have taken that from us. They acted without our consent and continued to ignore our appeals since then. We are left with no other choice.”
Namati’s Director, Sonkita Conteh Esq. filed the suit on behalf of the land owning families.
About Namati Sierra Leone
Namati is a legal empowerment organisation dedicated to putting the law into people’s hands. We partner with civil society organizations and governments to develop, implement, and evaluate legal empowerment strategies that address four urgent challenges:
- Delivering quality legal aid at scale
- Protecting community land rights
- Closing the enforcement gap in environmental law
- Ensuring that essential services like healthcare and education are accountable to local communitiesNAMATI
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