By Amin Kef-Ranger
The National Minerals Agency (NMA), in a press release dated 19th July, 2021, has explained with grave concern several publications in traditional and social media regarding the involvement of an NMA staff in fraudulent activities and the actions it has taken in this regard.
The release issued by the NMA stated that Daniel Kapr Serry was a contract-staff (February 2019 to June 2021) of the Agency, working as Mines Compliance Officer (MCO) assigned to the Lungi Airport. In June 2021, the NMA received reports that the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) was investigating a case of alleged fraud involving Daniel Serry.
It added that the Integrity Committee of the NMA immediately summoned Daniel Serry for questioning, and after interrogating him, the Committee concluded that Daniel Serry acted in a manner that was inconsistent with the core values of the Agency.
According to the press release, the Integrity Committee therefore recommended to Senior Management that his contract with the Agency be terminated, and Senior Management acted accordingly. This action by the Agency was purely administrative and did not impinge on the criminal investigation of the SLP. The NMA has a zero- tolerance policy on corruption and criminal activities in all its operations.
According to the release, the NMA further clarifies that it is illegal for anyone to engage in precious stones and minerals trading (buying and/or selling) without a valid mineral licence. “We have reviewed our databases and there is no evidence that any of the individuals complaining about the alleged fraudulent activities had licence to buy or sell precious stones and minerals in Sierra Leone, even though by their own admissions, they engaged in same,” the release noted.
The release added that it is therefore important to note that these individuals acted outside the law, by buying or attempting to buy precious minerals without acquiring the statutory licence. “The NMA has over the years been trying to combat the illegal trade in precious stones and minerals,” adding that this, in most cases, result in investors being scammed by fraudsters who take advantage of the desire of these investors to circumvent the legal channels. “We have a Fraud Alert prominently displayed on our website and other prominent places, and we shall continue to work with the public and the authorities to combat illegal minerals trade and fraud,” the release noted.
It however encouraged the public of its commitment to fully support the investigations into the alleged fraudulent activities. “We shall not let the action of one contract staff bring down the good reputation of the Agency, which we have worked so hard to build over the years,” it concluded.
(C) The Calabash Newspaper
By Amin Kef-Ranger