The permanent sectary at the Ministry of Local Government and Lands, Buba Sanyang, Monday testified at the Faraba Commission that he received a letter from the Faraba VDC, requesting the Ministry of Lands to revoke the mining licence issued to Julakay.
PS Sanyang stated that at the commission, the VDC claimed that the area that was issued to Julakay to do his mining operations was not favourable to the community as it affects their farm lands and the village football field.
PS Sanyang told the commission that after receiving the letter from the VDC dated on January 18, 2018, he then later called a meeting with his deputy PS of Technical, Saikou Sanyang and the deputy PS of Administration, Jerreh Sanyang to discuss the issue.
He said later on 9 January, he organised a meeting with various stakeholders including the executive director of NEA, director of Geology, CEO of Brikama Area Council, the chief of Kombo East District, the alkalo of Faraba and the chairman of Faraba VDC to discuss the claim made by the VDC.
Sanyang said this meeting was held at the Ministry of Lands on January 24. He said all the stakeholders were present but the IGP and the governor of West Coast Region sent in their representatives.
He said this was the first meeting organised between the VDC and the alkalo on the sand mining issue so that the matter could be solved amicably.
Sanyang revealed at the commission that the alkalo of Faraba was earlier said to have been informed by Julakay that (he Julakay) was issued a licence to mine but the authorities told Julakay that he should meet the Faraba community for memorandum of understanding before starting any activities on the ground.
PS Sanyang also explained the second time they organised another meeting, which they talked about private properties, football field, the access road to the mining area.
Sanyang assigned a technical team on the ground to compare the 3.4 hecters allocated to Julakey and also to verify the claim made by the VDC that the Julakay given area to mine had entered the private property of someone and the village football field.
Sanyang said the reason why he assigned a team was to map out the 3.4 hecters and to make sure the claim made by the VDC is true.
Sanyang further explained that at the end of the meeting, they decided that if there was any ongoing activities on the ground, they would tell one Mr. Jawo from Lands Office who also attended the meeting to inform Julakay to stop operation if he had already started, but Mr. Jawo had told them that Julakay had not yet started mining operations.
PS Sanyang said a technical team from Lands after visiting the Faraba mining site, organised a stakeholders’ meeting so that the technical team will provide a presentation report on the area.
PS Sanyang said he got to know that during the meeting, the alkalo and the VDC were not present during the time the technical team from Lands were assigned to do their Faraba survey exercise.
Sanyang said he organised another visit for the technical team to make sure they did another proper survey in front of the VDC and village alkalo.
Sanyang also revealed that the NEA in a letter addressed to Julakay dated April 17, 2018, was copied to them.
He said the letter stated that Julakay had been issued a licence to mine at Faraba at a volume area size of 8.4 hecters which was increased from the volume size of 3.4 hecters in the beginning.
Sanyang said he was invited to a meeting on May 23, at the office of the Inspector General of Police alongside with director of Lands, director of Physical Planning, Faraba VDC, Faraba alkalo, Ministry of Petroleum, council of elders, IGP Kinteh and his assistant.
Sanyang further revealed that they were informed by the police that Julakay had been issued with a legal licence to do sand mining operations in Faraba. Sanyang said he observed during the meeting at the Office of the IGP that the residents of Faraba were not happy with the decision taken by the IGP that Julakay should go ahead with his mining operations.