By Alhaji Haruna Sani
Morlen Tronstad, a Norwegian mining engineer and investor, has narrated to journalists how he narrowly escaped kidnapping and subsequent death after he was allegedly duped by his Norwegian brother in cohort with Hon.Alusine Kanneh, all of Barvunra Mining Company operating at Ngrima Town in the Kailahun District.
But Hon. Alusine Kanneh, denied the claim of conniving to kidnap the investor, stating that he was never at the scene where the scuffle took place.
Trostad, who was telling his story to journalists at Radison Blu Hotel in Freetown, said he came in contact with his counterparts through a Norwegian Newspaper-the Financial Times, which had advertised an investment opportunity in Barvunra, a Norwegian mining company with subsidiary in Sierra Leone.
He said the call on the said advert was for the company to expand to large scale mining.
“I decided to invest into the mining and deposited the sum of $ 1.3 million into the company’s account in Oslo, Norway which account for 35% shares in the company. When I travelled to Sierra Leone in mid-October, I realized that the company was operating on a small scale gold mining in Salema Village, Penguia Chiefdom in Kailahun District,” he said.
He added that he asked several questions around the operations of the company but couldn’t get answers from his counterparts who kept giving him hope that they will acquire license to operate on a large scale.
The Norwegian investor explained that he was approached by several Sierra Leoneans who disclosed to him that he had been scammed and that it would not be possible for Barvunra to be granted large scale mining license, since a certain company named Majestic had been granted license to undertake large-scale mining operations in the community.
Tronstad said he then requested to leave the company so that his investment could be reimbursed, but that he faced a stiff resistance from his partners.
Following the said development, Tronstad said he took one of his machines-the dumper to a safer place while the excavators remained at the site of Barvunra company.
He claimed that he was hoisted by three Operational Support Division Police personnel who he said were ordered by Hon. Alusine Kanneh representing Constituency 013 in Kenema, who is a shareholder of Barvunra company.
He said the police allegedly manhandled him and even threatened to take away his phone, adding that he was constantly threatened with death but was later rescued by a certain Paramount Chief in the chiefdom.
He said several attempts were made by his compatriot and Kanneh to get rid of him by armed police, but he was on each occasion being rescued by people.
Speaking to journalists in Freetown, Morlen Tronstad called on authorities to help him get justice.