Friday, July 22, 2011

Sime Darby Faces Lawsuit

Green Advocates International has finally resolved to institute
lawsuit against Sime Darby Plantation and the Government of Liberia for illegally taking over several farmlands to cultivate oil palm in Grand Cape Mount County.
Green Advocates International reached the decision on Saturday
following series of requests from Grand Cape Mount and Bomi counties citizens living near the Malaysian Company concession area.
The citizens, in separate pleas at a recent meeting in Grand Cape
Mount County, asked the advocacy group to help stop further expansion of Sime Darby’s plantation.
They claimed that the Malaysian Company is planning to further
expand it plantation without regard to inhabitants of various
communities in Bomi and Grand Cape Mount counties.
The citizens indicated that Sime Darby has, without any prior notice and consent, taken over their farmlands to grow oil palm.
“The clearing of our forest by Sime Darby has exposed us to raging sunlight and rainstorm,” the Bomi and Grand Cape Mount citizens said.
They alleged that they can no longer farm as a result of the
company and the Government of Liberia forceful seizure of their
The citizens said their land was forcefully taken away from them by the Government of Liberia and given to the company to grow oil palm without their knowledge and consent.
“We were never part of the concession agreement entered into between the government and Sime Darby and not aware of what is in the agreement.
“We are face with severe hardships because we do not have bush to farm anymore,” they noted.
An elder of the counties Siaffa B. Gray disclosed that the company
has desecrated their ancestral graves and bulldozed cash crops like
palm and cassava farms privately owed by the citizens.
He said the company also destroyed their secret society shrub.
He disclosed that about 2.5 million palm trees which serve as a
source of income for the locals were destroyed by Sime Darby without any compensation.
“You have to ensure that Sime Darby is taken to court and is made to pay for all that it has destroyed here,” elder Gray said on behalf of
the citizens.
Responding to the citizens’ request, Green Advocates International
Lead Campaigner Alfred Lahai Brownell assured that his organization would drag Sime Darby and the Government of Liberia to the Supreme Court to revoke the concession agreement on the ground that it is unconstitutional.
He said “we will go to court and we will fight this case and if we don’t succeed at the Supreme Court of Liberia, we will take this
matter to the international community.”
Cllr. Brownell noted that he would rely on his international
partners to fight the case out of Liberia.
The Green Advocates Lead Campaigner couldn’t control his tears when he said “the action of government to give your land to Sime Darby without your prior consent is unfair and wicked.”
He said Green Advocates would challenge government’s action at the Supreme Court, noting “government will have to prove that it own this land that it has given to Sime Darby”
Sime Darby is a Malaysian Company that has a US$800,000 Concession in Liberia.

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