Controversy Over Hectares Of Land Leased – SOCFIN Sets The Records Straight
There are certain unsubstantiated claims made by Joseph Rahall (in photo) of the Green Scenery in his recent piece which need some clarifications for the benefit of the general public. Socfin has 12,500 hectares out of the 27, 000 hectares of Sahn Malen Chiefdom in Pujehun District. The company has only planted about 40% of the entire hectares that comprised Malen.
In the leased area, there are a total of 11,000 adults whose taxes are fully paid by Socfin, while the company also pays directly to the Government of Sierra Leone or Government agencies for the 18,000 hectares of the leased land since the agricultural company only holds a sublease. Therefore, Socfin has NO influence on payment of the aforesaid money and Joseph Rahall, who is determined to tarnish the reputation of the company at all cost, is privy to this. It must also be emphasized here that contrary to claims by Joseph Rahall that “the company through its surveyors and the Paramount Chief cheated them during surveys,” Socfin did not take ANY piece of land without the owner agreeing or accepting the compensation money. Besides, various plots of land are untapped and Rahall knows this very well too! Surveys were also done with the owner/user of the land, the Village Chief and Government Representative fully in attendance. Mr. Rahall also knows very well that ALL records pertaining to these transactions are available to the public and can be obtained from both at the chiefdom authorities and Socfin upon simple request.But despite these records are available, Joseph Rahall would prefer to distort the fact in order to set the Malen indigenes against the company for what only God knows.
The 49,000 Joseph Rahall stated in his article as being the total population of Sahn Malen Chiefdom is a figment of his imagination. Even Statistics Sierra Leone (Stats SL) that conducted the last Population and Housing Census (PHC) in December, 2015 would disagree with that figure. It would sound strange, for instance, that the male population in the chiefdom is more than the female population when, in fact, the total population of Sierra Leone shows that the female population is more than the male population. What about the population of the elders and children which Mr. Rahall failed to mention?
Joseph Rahall is also challenged to produce the names of Socfin employees earning below the minimum wage of Le500,000.00 (Five hundred thousand Leones). His pathological lies coupled with the so-called Shiaka Sama’s nonsensical remarks without checking has done serious disservice to the people of Malen in particular and Sierra Leoneans in general. Let it be known to detractors like Joseph Rahall that Socfin is answerable to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security or the Sierra Leone Labour Congress (SLLC) in terms of employment and not to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) or Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) that have bad intentions for the company.For Joseph Rahall to liken the task in the palm oil plantation to “slave labour” is complete hallucination and madness, let alone the painting of an ugly picture of women have witnessed their children drop out of school over the years because they cannot afford school charges, and how their husbands are dying. These are all totally untrue but since Joseph Rahall and his like minds are bent on undermining the operations of Socfin, they would do anything to bring the company down. Mr. Rahall must be stopped from spreading pathological lies about Socfin because such negative attitude would scare away foreign investors.
Also, Joseph Rahall made mention of the ING Bank in Brussels as though he has some inside information from the bank, but his intention is to deceive the general public about Socfin. What arrant nonsense is he writing about the loan or does he want to block the financing of loans to investors in Sierra Leone? But the truth would come out when the Government of Sierra Leone would caution Mr. Rahall to substantiate the damning allegations he always making against Socfin.
Moreover, all lease agreements are lodged at the at the Registrar General’s Office and complaint Joseph Rahall that he could not get them from Socfin clearly exposed his ignorance on lease agreements in the country? With regards to how much the company pays to Government or Government bodies for the 18,000 hectares of leased land, he needs to employ a primary school-goer to simply calculate 18.000 x $12.5.
On the issue of human rights violations, they are only violated by individuals or institutions that deprive people of making ends meet. How Socfin can violate people’s human rights when the company’s conditions of service for workers are in line with international best practice? No one is force to work on the plantation but workers are gainfully employed by the company. Perhaps Joseph Rahall in his imagination wants to recreate communism in Malen without the foggiest idea that introducing communism in Sierra Leone will and cannot work. Neither will he or his partners ever put a bowl of rice on the table of the poor indigenes except their own.
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