March 18, 2021
By Alhaji Haruna Sani
Native Consortium and Kanu Family, led by Francis Lamin Kanu of Makinkeba village, Buya Remende Chiefdom, have won a landmark court case against defunct Africa Minerals Limited (AML) as first defendant, Shan Steel Iron Ore as second defendant, and China Civil Engineering Construction Cooperation (CCECC) as third defendant.
“Sometimes in 2017, Native Consortium filed a landmark litigation after a Memorandum of Understanding regarding a piece of land owned by the Kanu Family at Makinkeba Village, Buya Romende Chiefdom in the Port Loko District.
According to the Executive Director of Native Consortium, Edmond Abu, he was seriously harassed, intimidated and blackmailed by security officers to an extent that people were calling for his arrest.
He, however, commended the former All People’s Congress (APC) led administration for not heeding to the said calls.
He said his organization stood by the poor villagers against mining companies,who had wanted to use the court to avoid paying or honouring the MOU signed between AML and the Land Owners regarding the land,a document that inherited by Shan Steel and CCECC.
According to the judgement handed down by Justice Ibrahim Mohamed Koroma on 28th May 2018, the 1st Francis Lamin Kanu, 2nd Pa Santigie Ansha Kanu 3rd Pa Hassan Kanu, as Plaintiffs, are the legitimate representatives, owners and beneficiaries of the said land, subject to statutory Declaration registered as No. 23/13 at Volume 54 Page 64, dated the 13 February, 2013”, it further reads.
A release from Native Consortium indicates that some of the details of the obligation in the MOU include the construction of a school that will have housed 120 pupils, a project that commenced but not completed.
“Paragraph 6(b) of the said MOU also provides for the construction of a market to accommodate 50 stalls to be roofed with corrugated iron sheets. The construction of the said market was estimated to cost Le 420,241,500 by virtue of the quantity survey prepared and signed by the same engineering firm,” the release states.
Native Consortium narrates in the release that after the said judgement, the defense lawyer,Kweku Lisk and his client quickly ran to the former Chief Justice Abdulai Cham, who re-assigned the matter to Justice Komba Kamanda to put a stay on the execution orders in the judgement of Justice Koroma.
“Instead of the lawyer approaching superior courts of judicature like the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, Justice Cham re-assigned the matter to Justice Kamanda. This matter was delayed to a point that we had to ask the current Chief Justice Edwards to re-assign it to another Judge instead of Justice Kamanda. While Justice Kamanda took almost two years without any verdict on the matter, the current Judge took less than two months to restore all the judgement orders, given by Justice Koroma in May 2018,” the release states.