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ACC engages stakeholders in Tonkolili on the activities of mining companies

ACC engages stakeholders in Tonkolili on the activities of mining companies

In its quest to monitor the day to day activities of mining companies operating in different communities in Tonkolili District, the Northern Regional office of the Anti-Corruption Commission has engaged civil society organizations, NGOs, Local Council, MDAs, Local Authority, the Media and other stakeholders in the District. 

This was in the form of an awareness raising meeting at the Tonkolili District Council hall in Magburaka on Tuesday 18th October 2011. Speaking on the rationale for the meeting, chairman of the occasion, Mr. Abdul Karim Will, District Security Coordinator, Office of National Security, explained that it was geared towards establishing another level of partnership in a bid to come up with one voice to monitor the day to day activities of mining companies operating in different communities in line with the agreement acceded to. He noted that ACC is a friendly institution that is determined to ensure that the country benefits from her resources and the socio- economic needs of citizens are met.  

Regional Manager North, Patrick Sandi addressing the stakeholders

In his address, ACC’s Regional Manager North, Mr. Patrick Sandi said the meeting was part of the educational approach used by ACC in the fight against corruption. He lamented thatSierra Leoneis endowed with natural resources but the people are poor as a result of corruption. The Regional Manager highlighted some of the discrepancies in the Extractive Industries and Transparency Initiative Data Reconciliation Report in March 2010 in terms of payments made by mining companies and revenues received by MDAs, which relate to corruption. He made mention of how public officers are conniving with mining companies to defraud the state and beneficiary communities. 

Manager Sandi emphasised that ACC is in support of development, but wants to ensure that the right thing is done so that the people will benefit from the natural resources. He said the partnership would be based on how to ensure mining companies meet their corporate social responsibilities and what they need to do in order to ensure that compensation or packages and other benefits which suppose to meet the rightful beneficiaries get to them. 

The Regional Manager told stakeholders in Tonkolili District that if the issues of corruption in the mining companies are not addressed,Sierra Leonewill continue to lose. He assured them that it will no longer be business as usual in the extractive sector and called on them to be focused and sincere to in partnering with ACC in the fight against corruption inSierra Leoneso that the social and economic needs of all citizens would be met. 

Representing the Ministry of  Mineral Resources, Senior Mines Monitoring Officer, Mr. Osman J. Conteh highlighted several constrains faced in monitoring big mining companies like African Minerals, pressure from above and paramount chiefs preventing monitors from performing their duties. He lamented that some of the mining companies are secretly mining other minerals that are not included in their mining licenses. Mr. Conteh called on the ACC to make appropriate intervention in order to ensure transparency in the extractive sector.  

Speaking on behalf of the civil society, Mr. Sallieu A. Conteh called on ACC to look seriously into the issues of corporate social responsibilities of mining companies. He observed that the laws surrounding the operations of extractive industries are fragile and therefore advocated for tougher measures.  

At the end of the engagement, it was suggested that ACC should monitor and follow up on any donations or support made to communities by mining companies. Also, that all mining companies publicize their corporate social responsibilities carried out on an annual basis.

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