(LINA) – Following weeks of probe into the alleged inhumane treatment of a Liberian citizen at the Sime Darby Oil Palm Plantation, the specialized legislative investigative committee constituted by the House to probe the issue has called on the body to take steps to correct several misgivings identified at the company.
The committee, headed by Margibi County Representative Tibelrosa S. Tarponweh has informed the House to instruct the management of Sime Darby to provide safe drinking water and latrine for students attending the only High School on the plantation.
The committee, in a report submitted to the body on Tuesday, said it was observed during a fact-finding assessment at the company that Liberians living on the premises of the entity lack adequate supply of drinking water, while the company was reserving more than enough water for watering palm trees.
The committee, having observed also that only a single Liberian was holding top managerial post at the company, recommended to the body to ensure that Sime Darby lives up to the terms as stipulated in the concession agreement with the government that 50 percent of top managerial positions be reserved for Liberians exclusively.
As part of its recommendations, the committee wants the oil palm company to employ Liberians contractors who served the company for two years, and that contractors should not serve for more than three years without gaining employment status.
The committee disclosed that during its fact-finding it also discovered that family members of employees living on the plantation are prevented from seeking medication at the only health facility on the plantation, something the committee termed as a breach of the concession agreement and recommends that the company provides medication for relatives of its employees living on the plantation.
Relative to monthly wages of employees, specifically Liberians, the committee said the company should be made to pay salaries which commensurate with the qualification of Liberians in its employ and that higher wages should not only be given to foreigners as discovered during the committee’s inquiry.
Among several other recommendations, the committee petitioned the House to address the alleged issue of arbitrary dismissals of Liberians working at the plantation.
Following the submission of the report to the Plenary, Representative Tarponweh told members of the House that the report was not intended to impartially indict the company or scare investors from the country.
Tarponweh believes that in as much as the government and people of Liberia will need foreign investors in the country, investments should not be done at the detriment of the people of Liberia.