Koidu Holdings sign agreement with crop owners
Affected crop owners of Koidu Holding’s Kimberlite mining project have signed a compensation agreement with Koidu Holdings at a ceremony held in Kono Thursday 28th.
In his statement, the Director of Mines, Jonathan Sheka, who also acted as chairman of the ceremony said his presence is to guarantee the peaceful signing of an agreement between Koidu Holdings and all affected crop owners.
He assured the crop owners that they will receive their compensation in the first week of August.
The Mayor of Koidu Town, Cecil Gbenda, admonished all to seek clarification if they did not understand content in the agreement document.
The Chairlady Kono District Council, Madam Finda Diana Konomanyi said several meetings have been held prior to the final signing of the agreement.
“The situation in Kono is unique,” she said, “We want people to understand all that are happening between mining companies and affected property owners. Kono should be free from negative dissemination of information because we need total peace, Diana said”
Paramount Chief Paul Saquee thanked the management of Koidu Holdings for bringing to reality the signing of the agreement. He said Koidu Holdings has made the best mining agreement so far.
He furthered that the government and Koidu Holdings has had an agreement for the setting up of a taskforce which was long approved by cabinet.
He said however that he represents the government in Kono District.
“The resettlement package will in future benefit Kono Chiefdom. In the not too far future, so to say – four years – the strength of profit making by Koidu Holdings will manifest itself and 10% of such will go to people of Kono,”PC Saquee said.
“The company has put mechanisms in place for the preparation of ID Cards for all affected crop owners.”
The acting public relation officer of the affected property owners association, Musa Jamin, called on all to put aside their grievances and contribute to the promotion of Koidu town.
He said Koidu Holdings has no intention of damaging the District, but rather help develop it.
Kumba King, who spoke on behalf of Women of Kono called on management of Koidu Holdings to provide employment opportunities for the women.
She stressed nevertheless that crop owners’ compensation packages must be paid in full and without any delay.
In his path, Hon. Emmanuel Tommy, affirmed that he and other stakeholders have made it a duty to witness the agreement because they want to enjoy absolute peace in Kono.
“The people of Tankoro Chiefdom are affected, but there are others who more affected,” he said.
“Proper explanations have to be made for the crop owners to understand before signing.”
Hon. Chernor Bah, Chairman Mines and Minerals Committee in Parliament, spoke about the role of civil society groups- pointing out that they should be engaged for common the goals.
He said it is compulsory to undertake corporate social responsibility i.e., building schools, hospitals etc.
He said the agreement is one of the best in the sub-region.
Koidu Holdings representative, Dino Courtinho said, in January 2009, the committee and stakeholders agreed on crop compensation.
It was understood that Koidu Holdings should provide compensation for the crop owners and build houses for persons affected.
He appealed to the Kono people to support his company to forge ahead.
He assured all that his company will provide job opportunities for the community, but admonished them to exercise patience.
“The company has the sense of right and wrong. We’ve set aside money meant as compensation. We will be paying over Le 2.6 billion to crop owners as compensation. Payment will be made in two weeks time, he said.”
The Deputy Minister of Minerals, Abdul Ignosi Koroma said government is fully aware of Koidu Holdings’ expansion and 500 million safety envelope. The agreement, he said, was between government, the affected owners and Koidu Holdings.
He said the crop compensation will begin on the 1st, 2nd, 3rdand 4th in Yamandu town.
“A voucher has to be signed by the crop owners as proof of payment by Koidu Holdings,” he continued.
By N’gardi Lahai
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