Bong County Flag
Salala District Vows Legal Action Against Bong Leadership
By Ballah Kollie, LINA Bong County Correspondent
SALALA, June 1 (LINA) – Citizens of Salala District in Bong County have vowed to take legal action against the county leadership for their share of the more than US$1.7 million received as Social Development Fund from mining firm China Union.
The citizens, along with their District Representative, Adam Bill Conneh, took the decision during a meeting under the auspices of Senator Henry W. Yallah at the Salala Council Hall recently, according to the Liberia News Agency (LINA).
The citizens noted that the 52nd National Legislature and China Union signed the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) in 2009 in which it is stipulated that the latter allots US$1.75million to Bong County each year for development of the most affected communities, which are Salala, Sanoyea and Fuamah Districts in the company’s operational area.
According to the citizens, all three districts were supposed to get 20 percent or US$350,000 of the amount, which was later narrowed to US$300,000 and should have been shared amongst the districts at US$100,000 a piece each year.
However, the citizens noted that the two other districts have received their allotments over the past years, while Salala District’s share has not been made available during the same period.
The citizens added that a meeting was held with the county leaders on March 1, 2014 during which they were told that Salala would be given US$116,666.16 for the 2013/2014 allotment, leaving out the allotments for 2010/2011 and 2011/2012.
The citizens said during the meeting that they have been denied for too long, and will be seeking legal redress for their US$200,000 to cover the other two allotments.
Speaking earlier, Senator Yallah, informed citizens that at the March 1, 2014 Special Development Council Sitting, 73 of 93 delegatesoverwhelmingly resolved that Salala gets her fair share of the company’s 20 percent beginning 2013/2014, and therefore admonish them to accept the ruling and move forward.
However, the citizens went in a closed door meeting to discuss the decision announced by Senator Yallah, and later refused to accept what the lawmaker offered.
Responding to the Salala citizen’s non-acceptance response, Bong County Superintendent Selena Polson Mappy wondered when did Representative Conneh realize his district needed to benefit, especially when he served in the 52nd National Legislature when the China Union agreement was signed.
She also wondered what was the basis of the representative’s advocacy when, in fact, he served as Co-Chair to Representative George S. Mulbah when they both signed the 2011/2012 resolution that exclusively apportioned the same 20 percent to Sanoyea and Fuamah Districts.
She then advised Conneh to “stop fueling confusion” and help chart a course that will promote development in both the county and the district.
The meeting held in the Salala Council Hall brought together elders, chiefs, women and youth representatives and concerned citizens from all four clans of the district.
Bong County annually receives US$500,000 from Arcelor Mittal, US$1,750.000 from China Union, US$100,000 from BHP Billiton, US$12,000 from Amlib Liberia now MNG Gold, while US$200,000 comes from the Government of Liberia.
The use of this money is decided at the County’s Special Development Council sitting regarded as the highest decision-making body for the application of the funds.