lawmaker for Kombo East, Hon. Lamin F.M. Conta, on Tuesday August 7, 2018,
testified at the Faraba Commission that he was not informed by anyone about
what has been going at Faraba village.
Hon. Conta said the incident was a nightmare for him as he was kept in dark by the village heads.
He said he came to know about it when the paramilitary officers were deployed in the area; the same day of the incident that claimed the lives of 3 people on January 18, 2018.
“I was told that the natives of Faraba had an issue with one man known by the name Julakay,” he divulged. “This is how I got the information from some of the village residents.”
Hon. Conta added that the problem of the sand mining is an internal matter; he said he was only told lately by the VDC members. He adduced that the VDC informed him that the way Julakay obtained his licence was not the right procedure.
He said according to the information he received from the villagers, the residents of Faraba told him that they were not aware of how Julakay obtained his licence. He added the residents informed him that only few selected people in the village were informed about the licence issue.
He also said he visited two places at Faraba: the clay mining and the gravel area, adding they visited the famous mining area. He also testified that he was told by the VDC and the villagers that Julakay was given that area for mining.
He said the National Assembly Select Committee on environment could not meet Julakay in person because they were told that he was sick.
He explained that the committee then decided to speak with Julakay on telephone to let him stop mining operations until the matter is solved but he said Julakay refused to comply on the grounds that he obtained a legal licence to operate.
Conta added that he even advised the VDC to respect the rule of law and maintain calm and avoid committing any crime that would disrupt the peace until the matter is solved.
He also said he visited the village after the incident and saw many house being vandalised including some of the village heads’. He added that he visited the area and saw that the vehicles that were at the mining site had all been set on fire.
He continued that the villagers informed him that a group of youths from the village did all the damages of all the properties and burning vehicles and houses.
Hon. Conta in further testimony said he never met Julakay in person before but his committee members met him. He also said that the truth has to be established first and then reconciliation takes place. He also added that the alkalo should not sign the MOU with Julakay without agreeing with the VDC.