The government of Sierra Leone is losing thousands of Leones in the diamond industry.
This was discovered by Awoko, when the Kenema-based reporter paid a brief visit to Kono and Kailahun districts in the east of the country.
He observed that the Mines Monitoring Officer (MMO), Mines warden, superintendent, Assistant superintendent, warden and senior warden all are operating under the direct supervision of the National Mineral Agency (NMA) and have now resulted to only trying to line their pockets. Some told me that they have worked for over eight months without salary or incentive. Most of them have resulted to conniving with miners, allowing illicit mining to go on in communities and accepting advantage from illicit miners in the region.
In Kono, the aggrieved workers explained that they will soon stage a strike action concerning their welfare which will send bad signals to their superiors in Freetown.
In Kailahun district, a mines monitor worker told me that they in the field across the nation are the backbone of the agency but their affairs are not catered for by the agency, adding that as workers, going without salaries for months, shows that nothing is impossible on their part as mines workers.
Awoko was part of the meeting that was held at the mines office along Maxwell Khobe street in Kenema city by the Director of NMA, A.B.Barrie when he told his staff that as from 1st July, all staff are now under the direct supervision of NMA.
Among the numerous staff in Kenema district, only the office messenger, the computer typist and the cadastral officer are receiving salaries from NMA since February 2014.
Speaking to the Director of National Mining Agency (NMA) A.B.Barrie on the line to Freetown, to comment on the issue, he says he is too busy to talk and that who ever says he or she is being treated unfairly, must meet him in Freetown.
Meanwhile in Freetown, the Mines Monitors are seen daily on the front steps of Youyi Building bemoaning their lack of salary for over a year now.
“How do they expect us to live when we do not know when our salaries will be paid or whether we will be absorbed by the NMA from the Ministry?” the say.
By Saffa Moriba
Friday May 02, 2014