• October 17, 2023

Short Comment The ARISE, Kingho Saga… Our Last Word!

Short Comment The ARISE, Kingho Saga… Our Last Word!
Share on

A senior government official has confirmed in an anonymous newspaper and social media article that, the Government of Sierra Leone was still in discussions with Kingho over the signing of a new agreement to manage the Pepel Rail and Port. This is the first time that, the Government of Sierra Leone is making such an admission.

The fact of the matter is that, even Kingho have admitted that the lease rent payment they initially negotiated with the Government of Sierra Leone for the use of the Pepel Rail and Port is a paltry sum.

Under the 2021 lease agreement, Kingho was paying an annual lease rent of US$1,250,000 (One Million two hundred and fifty thousand US Dollars) to the Government of Sierra Leone.
The company is now offering, under a new agreement, to pay US$1,500,000 (One Million five hundred thousand US Dollars) as annual lease rent for the Pepel Rail and Port. Kingho and other mining companies depend on the rail to transport their minerals to the sea port of Pepel for export.
The new agreement that is being negotiated between the

Government and Kingho is for a twenty-year period. Against the advice of the Ministry of Finance, the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources Julius Mattai has unilaterally removed the termination clause in the new agreement. This single-handed decision by the Mines Minister has infuriated his colleagues in the Finance and Justice Ministries.

Many experts in the mining industry have argued that mortgaging the county’s only minerals Port to a Chinese company with a colourful track-record is not in the best interest of the country.

Kingho, since 2021, have tried to monopolize the Pepel Port against the interest of other mining companies.
This year, a bauxite mining company paid US$1.7 Million to Kingho just for a single shipment of bauxite through the Pepel Port. And Kingho is paying US$1,250,000 million to the Government of Sierra Leone as annual lease rent for the use of the same facility.

We have to demonstrate seriousness in this country. How can we mortgage an important national asset to a Chinese company for a pittance? How can foreigners take us seriously when we continue to surrender vital national assets to so-called investors for a chicken feed?

The ARISE Agreement was approved by Cabinet and forwarded to Parliament by State House for ratification. It was blocked in Parliament through the deceptive conduct of some people in and around the Government who are on the gravy train of Kingho.

During the 2018 Presidential election campaign, Brig. (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio promised to put the interest of the country above personal or partisan consideration.

This is another opportunity for President Bio to march words with action by taking a long, hard look at the new Kingho lease agreement in the interest of the country.

We continue to ask the question: What is Government really getting from the Kingho lease agreement? It is just a pittance!
Our last word on this issue is: We will stand with ARISE to the end. We believe that, the ARISE Agreement is in the best interest of this country.
May common sense prevail!

By Sorie Fofana, Global Times

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *