Over 600 Mines Monitors languishing … no salaries for 16 months
Bad blood continues to flow in the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources, where the authorities are presenting themselves to be very much hard working; whilst at the same time leaving those doing the dirty job to wallow in the wilderness. One of the primary roles of Mines Monitors is to serve as eyes for the Government of Sierra Leone in various locations across the country where there are active mining activities. Over the years, the leadership of Hon. Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray has not proved well in taking care of those that are tasked with the responsibility of monitoring mining activities and send accurate report to his Ministry.
Whether the Minister is playing games that has shadowed the work of Mines Monitors across the country or not is something that worth investigating.
But from all indications, since the Minister received the All Works of Life (AWOL) stage-managed award as the best Minister some two years ago, his leadership has become a complacent one, and as a result those suffering as a result of his poor stewardship are presently calling on President Koroma to take measures that will save them from administrative brouhaha.
Report reaching this press states that over 600 Mines Monitors deployed in various mining communities across the country are currently praying to the Almighty God to save them from the present calamity they are faced with. Confirmed report states that they have been working for about 17 months without a single cent from the Ministry as salary. The Monitors who do not know whether the new salary scale (Le480,000 per month) is reflecting on their monthly wages or not, are currently planning a sit down strike in order to gain the attention of President Koroma, for prompt action.
Osman J. Conteh is a Senior Mines Monitoring Officer in Tonkolili District. He told this press over the weekend that they have made several complaints to the Ministry about the way they are being left for 17 months without salaries; but all fell into deaf ears.
Abdul Ortole Kargbo, another Mines Monitoring Officer says they only know of their Le220,000 per month salary, which the Ministry of Mines has failed to pay for a very long time.
Other Mines Monitoring Officers interviewed by this press (who prefer anonymity), revealed that when the present Minister of Information and Communication, Hon. Alhaji Alpha Kanu was serving as Minister of Mines, their salaries were delayed for at most two months. They are of the view that most of them are prone to bribery from mining companies that are being monitored. Most of them do survive from these companies after telling their sad stories about the nonpayment of salaries. “At times we deliberately fail to send report because we are disgruntled and this normally gives a leeway to some mining companies to violate mining laws or agreements,” one of the Monitoring Officers said.
Report further states that much is expected from the Mines Minister, who had in several quarters promised that he would do all it takes to ensure that mining companies comply to the laws and agreement they have with government. Most of these promises are said to have fallen into thin air as nothing is being done to bring sanity into the sector.
The Minister who is not unconnected to allegations of $2million found in his possession in a foreign country, is yet to clarify the current predicament faced by Mines Monitoring Officers across the country. Even though he was expected to comment of the issue at the weekly Information Ministry Press Conference on Thursday, he was instead busy castigating an issue of Local Content, which he has deliberately played down. All other efforts made to get comment from his Ministry proved futile. Investigations continue.
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