Ban on Timber… PATRICK KOROMA, OTHERS IN HOT WATERS

Hints of a bad deal by the APC government have seen the Bio led SLPP promptly imposing ban on the export of timber.

This, they say, has come as a result of corruption overindulgence of some government officials, who time countless, have had their hands in corporate conspiracy with business people in relation to the unaccounted for export of timbers from out of Sierra Leone, which also has seen government losing billions of its revenue.

It is true, the APC government of ex-president Koroma miserably authorized the ‘sell overseas’ of containers of timbers to one Patrick Koroma, a businessman.

Although there was a presidential moratorium on the export of timber, state chief of staff, Kontoh Sesay told NEW AGE that synergizing ministries the likes of Agriculture and Trade did allow Patrick Koroma to export over five thousand containers of timber from Sierra Leone.

He said government indeed permits the shipment of containers of timber, but did not explain benefits such will bring to the country.

He avoided telling whether the authorization had come from the express permission of then president Koroma, rather told NEW AGE: “go and talk to the President about that.”

Findings also revealed how Konton Sesay wrote letters to both the Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Trade, instructing them necessarily authorize power to export containers of timbers to Patrick Koroma.

But in an effort extricating himself from the bad deal, Agriculture Minister, Prof. Monty Jones claimed the order to export timbers came neither from his ministry nor Trade, but state house.

Minister Monty Jones further said the moratorium on timbers was never lifted even at the time Patrick Koroma was permitted to export such.

“I tell you,” Minister Monty Jones said, “three people were given concession in 2016, to export timbers but two have been dropped with Patrick Koroma barely permitted to do so.”

Patrick Koroma also confirmed receiving permit to export over five thousand and twenty containers of unprocessed cut timbers, but said it is probable the amount of timbers in bushes nationwide far outweigh one approved for exportation.

“It was a concession authorized by State House on the recommendation of Ministry of Agriculture,” Patrick claimed.
Experts say the export of over five thousand containers of timbers may possibly increase climate change risk in Sierra Leone.

They viewed the mount sugarloaf mudslide disaster, which claimed the lives of hundreds and made homeless thousands as one of number of destruction caused by the rampant and unchecked cutting and exporting of timbers in the country.

Even though president Bio’s ban on the export of timbers is centered on checks and balances vis-à-vis economic benefits of government, a call for a thorough inquiry on the amount of timbers so far exported, hazards caused to society, players involved and, of course, the motive behind such needs put in place.

Our next story will further look at cost as charged by Patrick to individual businesses per export of a container of timber.

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