The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Leone Rock Metals, a subsidiary of Kingho Rail and Port company, and CTC Mining in respect of the use of the rail and port services of the country, after the contract signed between the government and Kingho Rail and Port company had been terminated by the government, has been seen as an exploitation of the friendly relationship that had existed between the government and people of Sierra Leone and the People’s Republic of China.
According to many concerned Sierra Leoneans, the relationship between the country and China have been very cordial and productive, but that does not mean that a company belonging to that country should be allowed to abuse this relationship.
It is clear that the government entered into a business agreement with the Chinese company, Kingho Rail and Port company for the refurbishing and management of the country’s rail and Port at Pepel for a six-year period, but that after two years of operation, the government had the right to review and even invite another party.
This was clearly stated in the agreement signed with Kingho, but after two years, the government, desirous of expanding the services to other players, including its citizens, decided, in accordance with the agreement to terminate the rail and port contract with Kingho, and entered into another agreement with another company, Arise IPP, which was to take over the operations of the rail and port, and to as well expand the rail to as far as neighboring Guinea, thereby enabling other mining sector players get access to the service, as well as Sierra Leonean and Guinean business people get access to same.
This move is in the best interest of the country, as it will see marked improvement in trade between the two countries, increase in revenue from taxes etc.
This action by the government has been opposed by Kingho on the grounds that the contract between them and the government was for six years, but failed to recognize the caveat of two years stipulated in the said contract for review.
As the government terminated their contract and replaced it with another company, Kingho threatened to go to Court, but to date, no Court paper had been served on the government in respect of the said termination, as a result, nothing will stop the government from continuing with the new contract signed with Arise IIP, and also this eventually prevents Kingho or its subsidiary from entering into any contract in respect of the said rail and Port services.
Therefore, many see the signing of an MoU with CTC by a subsidiary of Kingho Rail and Port company for the use of the services, has been seen as the Chinese company deliberately exploiting the relationship between their government and the people of Sierra Leone, much to the detriment of the Sierra Leoneans.