By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
The Marketing Manager of Sierra Leone Guoji Investment Company, Fefegula Moore Foday has called on the Ministry of Trade and Industry to come to the drawing table and to do negotiation with them in order to amicably solved the Guoji eviction saga without any embarrassment.
The Guoji Marketing Manager made this called last Thursday 28th, January 2021 during the press briefing organised by the Consortium of Civil society on Social and Economic Justice at the SLAJ Headquarters, Harry Yansaneh Hall, in Freetown. He told journalists that: “we are kindly asking the Ministry of Trade, to go back to the drawing table and see that Guoji has contributed to the lives of citizens of this country. we have been friends; we have been partners in development; we have been living as a worthy family.
He thanked the consortium and the citizens of Sierra Leone for their efforts in resolving their issue adding that they are grateful whilst hoping that the government will resolve the issue amicably.
“On behalf of Guoji, I want to plead to the government through the Ministry of Trade to see how best they can resolve this matter without any biasness,’’
Secretary General of the Consortium Abdul Rahman Kays, said they have been operating for the past two years in the country advocating on social and economic justice issues adding that they have been raising issues around transport, passport and their implications on the human rights of citizens.
“Ladies and Gentlemen of the press we are here to discuss a critical human rights involvement and economic issues which is pertaining to our image as a nation. Sierra Leone is a country that has several ties with other international organisations, the world Trade Organisation, and there are charters and regulations in those organisations that binds the nation and if you are registered with those organisations like WTO, a foreign investment should have a fair share in the developmnmnt space as long as that business or organisation is legally registered within the country of its operations,’’ he said.
He added that as a consortium, they received an information concerning a huma rights violations that has to do with Guoji, a registered company in the country Sierra Leone, stating that they become very much concerned and they decided to investigate on these issues.
“We are not taking sides as a consortium we want to be objective; we want to know the reason; we don’t want to be seen like other people are seeing us as taking sides. we are not siding any party. we want to see a just and amicable situation. The Guoji issues, we visited the premises of Guoji and then we put out our findings, we went to the Ministry of Trade but unfortunately, they didn’t allow us to get a meeting. The Permanent Secretary was very adamant he said to us it’s a government decision, we were not there to reverse but to urged them to amicably solve the issues,’’ Kays lamented.
Chairman of the Consortium of Civil Society on Social and Economic Justice, Mohamed Kamara, said they as a consortium they took up the Guoji issue as it is a human rights issue, and hence the reason they decided to bring it to the notice of the public and the diplomatic community.
“Considering the bilateral relationship that have existed between the government of Sierra Leone and the Peoples Republic of China through the Sierra and Sino Friendship Cooperation, we demand for the following: We are calling on the Office of the President to intervene considering his efforts to weigh-in investors to Sierra Leone and pay critical attention to the Ministry of Trade and Industry in line with their dealings with foreign investment companies,’’ he said.
He added that they found out that the said agreement was designed to foster Sierra-Sino Friendship to develop trade and bilateral relationship between the Peoples Republic of China and Sierra Leone to support and strengthen local markets stating that they observed that small contingent of armed police and military personnel were deployed without the knowledge of Guoji.
Kamara however urged the office of the President to intervene over the forcibly entry and pre -eviction of Guoji Investment, and the Ministry of Trade in order to amicably solve the problem so as a nation we do not face embarrassment.