Citizens including chives, elders, youth groups and Imam of the affected communities of Kinjor and Larjor in Grand Cape County have sharply reacted to recent statement in the media and attributed to Ms. Elizabeth ‘Ma Pai’ Fahnbulleh asking Green Advocates International to help institute a lawsuit against Aureus Mining.
Below is the full statement issued by the citizens in reaction to media report:
Position Statement By Officials and Residents of Kinjor Village, Gola Konneh District, Grand Cape Mount County – April 23, 2017
We the project affected communities of Kinjor-Larjor, representing the 322 family heads that voluntarily resettled in New Kinjor and Larjor in 2013, seek to be partners of choice with BMMC (formerly Aureus Mining) for developing mineral resources and helping to ensure that the companies’ investments in these resources enhance social and economic development locally and nationally, as an important part of accomplishing this goal.
However, we believe in a strategic collaborative development outcomes that are beyond the exclusive control of BMMC. The approach we are taking to development should involve BMMC and the Government of Liberia in other to shape outcomes as much if not more than a company’s corporate social responsibilities. We recognize that BMMC has core responsibilities, which need to be met. By working in constructive partnerships with all stakeholders, we the residents of Kinjor can play a positive role in helping BMMC provide a low income country, such as ours with an important, and sometimes critical economic boost, helping us to reduce poverty and re-engage in the global economy.
However, we note that in our recent experiences such positive outcomes have not been achieved and are holding the key to unleashing progress in Kinjor. For example, there are numerous outstanding obligations, which are derivative of the purchased Resettlement Land and the lease of the production area land. We believe that BMMC can contribute to addressing such obligation gaps without a result to lies, deception, distortion, and innuendos.
The purpose of this position statement is to reject and disassociate ourselves from recent statements attributed to Ms. Elizabeth “Ma Pai” Fahnbulleh, as reported by the online magazine editions of the FrontPage Africa and Global News Network of April 13, 2017 and April 15th 2017, respectively. Both online magazines reported that:
- “A citizens’ representative, Elizabeth Fahnbulleh, on behalf of the citizens of Cape Mount County asked Green Advocates International to help them institute lawsuit against Aureus Mining”
- “failing to complete construction of housing units embarked on for their citizens’ relocation purpose”
- “the place acquired by the Company to resettle them is in dispute”
- “the construction of a health post project the company promised is yet to begin”
We, the residents and leaders of “Kinjor”, indisputably and categorically reject, denounce, and disassociate ourselves from the statements attributed to Ms. Elizabeth “Ma Pai” Fahnbulleh. The alleged statements are malicious, unfounded, baseless, and misleading. Moreover, the allegations are intended to undermine BMMC’s social and economic contributions to our community more importantly than ever. They are also intended to visit pain and human suffering on the vulnerable residents of Kinjor through unnecessary litigation, which has the potential of strangulating the economic lifeline of affected communities.
Response to Elizabeth “Ma Pai” Fahnbulleh allegations
- Ma Pai acted alone and not in the name of the citizens of Cape Mount, not even Kinjor, where she resides and currently serves in the capacity of Co-Chairperson of the Resettlement Working Group (the management team responsible for the implementation of the Resettlement Action Plan). The claim that she was representing citizens of Cape Mount is erroneous and misleading. No citizen of Grand Cape Mount County sanctioned or supported her utterances at the Green Advocates organized program of April 12, 2017 in Monrovia. Ms. Fahnbulleh exploited an opportunity meant for sharing experiences to advance her personal agenda.
- Regarding her claim of BMMC failing to complete the permanent housing units in December 2014, it was Ms. Fahnbulleh, then Co-Chairlady of Kinjor women and official of the former RWG leadership, who among others, signed the extension agreement with Aureus, the previous management of BMMC, for our housing units to be completed in December 2017, instead.
Currently, the new BMMC management has provided hand tools valuing more than US$1,500.00 and an additional US$2,800.00 in financial allowances to 100 villagers carrying out a massive clean-up of the Kinjor Village. The cleaning up of the village marks the restart of construction work of the RAP Village. A team from the clean-up campaign will form the Village WATSAN Committee to sustain a clean and environmentally healthy Kinjor. BMMC is now hiring qualified carpenters and form workers to begin construction work.
- In connection with Ms. Fahnbulleh’s claim of a disputed land (the 150 acres of land purchased) for resettlement in New Kinjor, we wish to reaffirm that the 150 acres of land was legally purchased, the deed was probated by the court and is archived at the National Records and Archive Center.
Our relationship with our landlords (the citizens of Jawajeh Marvoh, Jenneh Brown, Blain and Deayelee) is cordial. Issue of dispute over the planting of cornerstone has long been resolved. The 150 acres of land is now a conflict free land for the permanent residency of directly affected communities. There exists no dispute between us and our landlords or any other party connected to this land.
- With respect to the clinic, which she is alleged to have referenced as not started, we regret that such an imposing accomplishment that is the talk of the village could escape Ms. Fahnbulleh sight. The Kinjor Clinic is 98% completed. It contains ten (10) rooms, six bathrooms, a pharmacy room, and a storage facility. It will be turned over to the Ministry of Health of the Government of Liberia; and will serve residents of affected communities and BMMC workers.
With reference to local residents lives not been improved by mine’s presence, regardless of our challenges, BMMC is performing well! We now have a health facility that never existed in our community, a school and more than 900 local jobs from mine operations providing income for individuals and families. Additionally, BMMC has offered our village two successive sand contracts, each amounting to $25,000 or a net profit of US$15,000.00 on every 100 loads of sand. BMMC also has an ongoing timber contract with one of our community cooperatives, the Inclusive Community Empowerment Cooperative Society to supply various sizes of timber products. These investments in enterprise activities in our communities are having impact on the livelihood of individual and families of our Village.
Recently, the sand contract between BMMC and Kinjor Village brought in US$5,250.00 as last installment payment, which on April 6, 2017 Mr. Armah M.L Gray, Chairman of RWG, signed for. This concluded the first phase of the 100 loads sand-deal, contrary to claims by Ms. Fahnbulleh that the BMMC has absconded with our funds.
Partnerships between BMMC, our government, development agencies, and our resettled community can help fill capacity and governance gaps where necessary and can also help all of us to expand, broaden and deepen the overall socio-economic contribution from the BMMC mining concession investments. These partnerships can drive progress on issues that BMMC acting alone may not have the capacity or mandate to address.
In addition to existing commitments under the Mineral Development Agreement, the Resettlement and Land Lease agreements with BMMC, the management of BMMC has expressed commitment to implementing all of its obligations and to actively support and help develop partnerships with other stakeholder groups with the aim of enhancing the social and economic contribution of mining through development partnerships. In practical terms, BMMC will contract with Agriculture firm to work in partnership with affected communities to start family farms with the ultimate goal of achieving permanent livelihood income for our farm-families. Accordingly, we welcome Bea Mountain Mining Corporation’s recent invitation to local and national agriculture organizations to submit project proposals for large scale commercial farming. This initiative, we believe, is aimed at reducing poverty in our community and our county at-large.
Notwithstanding, we recognize with displeasure the historical dilemma of negative economic growth that investments in mining and mineral resources has left behind in our communities all across Liberia. The mining industry has not always led to positive social and economic outcomes. In this region, in particular, the National Iron Ore Company, Liberia Mining Company as well as similar concessions are fine examples of ‘resource curse’ in our region and our country at-large. In Kinjor, we are committed to finding success factors by forming partnership with BMMC investment to become a significant driver of economic growth and poverty reduction, and to help catalyze growth in Liberia.
Armah M.L Gray
Resettlement Working Group
Shirk Hassan Kromah
Momo Seh Darblo
Dean of Elders
Lasana K. Sambola