Chinese company KINGHO now known as Leone Rock Metals Group’s mafia tactics to engage in corrupt activities in the West African state of Sierra Leone has been finally exposed. The company has been acting like a mafia organization in its attempt to secure mining deals with the government of Sierra Leone using millions of dollars surreptitiously to bribe its way with little or no transparency and a complete lack of accountability. Newstime Africa has been keenly following the company’s trail to find out about its dealings with officials and departments in the country’s mining industry. The company has exhibited a complete lack of transparency as it tores through the country’s mining apparatus to ruthlessly secure for itself access to the huge mineral wealth the country has to offer.
Sierra Leone has been the victim of corrupt mining deals that have seen the country’s resources looted with little or no tangible realization of the benefits of its wealth being experienced by the locals
The company’s failure to make a meaningful impact on the mining sector despite the more than eight small and large-scale exploration and mining licenses given to them has raised serious eyebrows and has left the government with a huge debt to the tune of over four million dollars.
To make matters worse, despite its woeful failure throughout its operations over the years, the company was surreptitiously awarded a license for the Tonkolili Iron Ore Mines, the country’s most-priced asset in 2018. Why this was done is now a matter that Newstime Africa is currently investigating and will publish its findings as we get more facts.
It is worth noting that on January 8th, 2021, the Sierra Leone Parliament ratified a six-year lease agreement with the company for the management, expansion, and development of the Railway and Ports. One of the clauses in the said contract stated that the Lessor reserves the right to engage a third party for the management, expansion, and development of the Railway and Ports after the expiration of the two-year exclusivity given to Kingho Mining Company. Fast forward to 2023, however, the two-year exclusivity expired, and the Government of Sierra Leone, through the Ministry of Mines, decided to terminate the contract following the engagement of Arise IIP, an independent company with an enviable portfolio to take over the Rail and Ports.
This termination, however, seems to have rattled Kingho Mining Company and the company has now gone on the rampage instituting legal action against the government and recruiting brown-envelop journalists to wage a media war against both the government and Arise IIP.
The company is claiming that it has invested over 200 million dollars into the Ports and Railway industry in the last two years and therefore, demands full compensation for its so-called investment.
This is being done regardless of the fact that one of the clauses contained in the Kingho lease agreement was a provision made for full compensation in cash or kind of whatever investment it may have done on the Rail after an independent evaluation would have been done.
It has now emerged, however, that the company never invested in the rail as it earlier claimed, as experts have confided in a reputable local newspaper that Kingho will have to pay compensation to the Government when an independent evaluation shall be done on the Rail agreement. This is said to be the reason Kingho has now engaged in a smear campaign to gain public sympathy in a bid to dodge the millions of dollars in compensation that will be slammed on it as per the agreement.
More details to follow..
Written by – Ibrahim Alusine Kamara