The Chairman of the Opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party, John Oponjo Benjamin has said the London Mining Agreement passed by Parliament is the first that contravenes the Mines and Minerals Act.
Speaking to Journalists last week at the SLAJ Secretariat, John Benjamin said it was disturbing to note that the very first agreement with London Mining contravenes the Mines and Minerals Act in several respects which he described as blatant contradiction.
The SLPP Chairman highlighted provision 3(a) captioned applications of Minerals Act which states that “The provisions of the Minerals Act relating to mining leases shall apply to the mining lease and additional mining leases except to the extent that they are inconsistent with the expressed or any implied terms and conditions of this Agreement and the mining lease, in which event the provisions of this Agreement and Mining lease shall prevail” The SLPP Chairman said the provision essentially meant that the London Mining Agreement takes precedence over the parent Act. He stoutly condemned the agreement as it is against the Mines Act and Income Tax. “The inopportune and contentious feat by Government undermines the primacy of the rule of law as the head cornerstone for stability and investment confidence which are necessary to improve the poor standard of living of majority of Sierra Leoneans and usher in a new era of opportunity and prosperity”
He further believes that the London Mining Agreement also deeply undercuts Government’s commitment encapsulated in the provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act 2009 which seeks to ensure that Sierra Leoneans benefit from the earnings of mining.John Benjamin said he was not speaking against incentives or giving it out but that the laws of the Mining Act should be followed. He said in the Act, 37% of the profit should be given to government but that in the case of London Mining they agreed for them to pay 6%. By Ishmael Bayoh