GREENVILLE, Sinoe – Three Sinoe communities are threatening to terminate their contract with a logging company for failing to adhere to an agreement to provide the communities with benefits.
Morris Suah, who heads the Sewacajua Forest Committee, said the Mandra Logging Company’s failure to adhere to the agreement has caused residents living in Seekon, Waccaba, and Juazon to lose out on approximately US$1.5 million.
He said the company had agreed to rehabilitate four feeder roads, erect 14 hand pumps and 14 latrines, and construct four schools and a clinic. Those projects have not yet been done, and Suah said the forest committee was prepared to take Mandra to court. He noted that the committee had already sent the Forestry Development Authority a letter expressing its intent to end Mandra’s contract.
“Enough is enough; for so long, this company’s making fools out of us and we strongly believe that this is the time to prove to them ourselves using the legal proceeding, as already we have written all relevant authorities including the FDA,” Suah said.
The residents say they plan to remove the company and advertise the forest concession for a new company to operate. Two years ago, Mandra signed a 15-year contract with the communities to harvest logs from the forest. The total contract area is 31,336 hectares. On May 28 this year, the communities halted Mandra’s work for its failure to comply with the memorandum of understanding.
The communities have also accused Mandra of land grabbing and destruction of forest belonging to local communities in Sinoe.
The company is not only facing threats in the Sewacajua Forest; citizens of Murrysville Township have also given Mandra a 30-day ultimatum after residents say the company has failed to provide amenities it agreed to.
Addressing a news conference the past weekend in Greenville, the township development chairman, Massaquoi Roberts, said seven years after a memorandum of understanding was signed with the company, key provisions have not yet been met.
Roberts noted that the agreement called for the rehabilitation of roads in the township, the construction of seven hand pumps and eight latrines, and the employment of residents of the township.
The Bush Chicken attempted but could not reach Mandra in time for publication.
Featured photo by Flore de Preneuf/PROFOR