Forty containers, containing scrap metals, are languishing at the Queen Elizabeth II Quay following the ban on scrap metals by the government.
“The containers arrived at the port and have been checked and scanned by port officials five days before the ban was announced” said Patrick Culdron a British businessman who owned one of the 40 containers currently at the quay.
He said the containers had been impounded for over four and a half months now and that they were still to discover under what authority these containers were impounded.
As soon as the ban was effected, port officials seized the containers and even offloaded some containers that had already been packed on ship for export, he noted.
There have been claims that some of the containers contained copper stolen from the National Power Authority (NPA), one of the items that propelled the government to put a ban on scrap metal exportation.
There have also been claims that some of the containers that are containing banned metals are being taken out of the quay, but there has been no proof of this. What is very certain are the calls on the Port Authority to open and recheck all the containers again to ascertain whether there are any banned materials. “If the containers are opened and properly inspected, we will definitely see the ones that were cutting down the NPA cables,” Patrick Culdron one of the few container owners that want the inspection carried out averred.
However the superintendent for export division, Sheik Manso Conteh, stated that when they receive authorization from the Ministry of Trade to open all the containers they would do so.
ASP Patrick Betts, head of operations at Ross Road police station who had supervised the re-examination of one such containers, said the Police would always meticulously examine any container at the quay when called upon to ascertain that no NPA cables were exported out of Sierra Leone.
By Mohamed Fofana