By Jariatu Bangura
Members of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Lands, Country Planning and the Environment yesterday queried officials of MASSADA Waste Management Company, Sierra Block Concretes, Super Holdings Plastic Products and Regimanuel Grey Enterprises for wilfully failing to comply with registration requirements for obtaining Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) licenses before commencing operations in the country.
MASSADA was recently awarded a multi-million contract by the government of Sierra Leone to clean the streets of Freetown, while Sierra Blocks Concrete and Super Holding Plastic Products have been operating in the country for several years.
Speaking at the hearing, Hon. Jusufu B. Mansaray said the EPA had in a letter to the Committee complained several companies for being in default of laws in respect of their operation, in violation of the EPA Act which stipulates rules and imposes fines against violators.
He said that in spite the emergency clearance given to MASSADA, they should have complied with laws before commencing operations in the country, especially those dealing with environmental impact. He rapped officials at Sierra Blocks Company for operating under an expired license, as it was negligent on their part to continue producing blocks while failing to renew their license.
Hon. Patrick L. Kargbo said ministries, department and agencies have all defaulted in providing accurate documents to Parliament, and that the Committee would discountenance misleading statements or excuses in future.
“All documents required by any Committee (of Parliament) must be provided as most MDAs have no respect for Parliament and this time round we will not tolerate any excuses for failing to submit such documents. This House is not a girls’ or boys’ camp that you come and play and then leave,” he noted.
Responding to Committee members, National Project Manager of MASSADA, Aminata Dumbuya, confirmed the company was in breach of environmental laws due to the urgency with which they were awarded the contract to clean Freetown, but assured the Committee that they are on the verge of registering with the EPA and obtaining an environmental impact assessment license.
On his part, General Manager of Sierra Blocks Concrete Company, Saidu Sesay, said their licenses expired last month and that they are in the process of renewing it. He promised that they will not violate the country’s laws in the future.