Vimetco Blames Drowned Victim on NSBT

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Mohamed Koroma, a cook at the Vimetco mining site , Sierra Rutile, in Moyamba has drowned after tension from the sea waves moved the barge away from an operational vessel.  Management of Vimetco confirmed to Public Review.

The force from the tide swung the mooring rope and tossed him  (Koroma)into the sea where he was later found dead.  Reports say he was not rescued by his employers when the incident occurred except his corpse floated on the high seas days afterwards. But the company claimed it made rescue efforts but the exercise was futile.

The late Mohamed Koroma was working as part of personnel of Stevedores hired by Nectar Sierra Leone Bulk Terminal (NSBT) to cook for the Vimetco Bouxite Mining Company. The blame game has begun. Vimetco in a letter addressed to Public Review seems to cast some blame on NSBT. 

According to some family members of the late man  Vimetco has since been avoiding responsibility yet rests on blame shifting for the death of Koroma.

‘’Regarding assistance to the family of the late Mohamed Koroma; be informd that SMHL selles its bauxite on FAS basis and not on FOS basis rendering the stevedoring activities outside the scope of the SMHL operations.

The stevedores (including the late Mohamed Koroma) were hired by NSBT and we believe any issue regarding their maintenance or welfare rests under the responsibility of NSBT.’’ The General Manager of VIMETCO , Basudeb Datta told  Public Review in a letter addressed to it.

The young man fell into the sea close to where he was sitting and submerged without a trace.

Investigations by this medium has revealed that NSBT the Company that Vimetco outsourced its transport services never provided safety training to workers regarding operations at the mining site.

A correspondence from Vimetco to this medium has confirmed that it is the duty of NSBT which is the outsourced company to provide the selection and safety training for the stevedores.

According to the correspondence it is the responsibility of NSBT to ensure the proper screening of workers and to enforce safety compliance of workers at the operations site.

It could be inferred that by reneging on its duty to provide safety training for workers, the negligence of NSBT has led to the death of a Sierra Leonean.

The non compliance of labour laws by foreign companies in respect to adhering to safety standards of workers has led to the death of many Sierra Leoneans in mining sites.

Mohamed Koroma drowned on the 17th June 2021, only for his dead body to be discovered floating on the sea after three days.

It should be noted that no rescue mission was activated to rescue and locate Mohamed Koroma after he accidentally fell into the sea.

Had the incident involved a white foreign expatriate, a rescue mission would have been triggered by VIMETCO which is the parent Company or NSBT the subsidiary that provides transport and labour services.

After the unfortunate incident, both VIMETCO and NSBT are evading their duties to render assistance to the family of the late Mohamed Koroma.

Both companies are circumventing their responsibilities by expecting the other to shoulder the financial responsibility of providing financial compensation to the family of late Mohamed Koroma.

It should be noted that Vimetco, the parent company is the largest bauxite mining company that is operating in Moyamba District, southern part of Sierra Leone.

‘’ We have conducted a detailed investigation report which we sent to NSBT and we ask that you get further information regarding the incident from Nectar’’ told Public Review.

From our findings we noticed that there are reasons for the death of the late Mohamed Koraoma. Amongst such reasons were:

Poor safety measures: this can be confirmed on the moving barge away from the operational area. This may have occurred due to lack of standard measures that may have prevented it from happening.

The confirmation of VIMETCO management to Public Review shows that management knows the dangers, but failed to mitigate it.

There is further proof that VITMETCO could not rescue the victim because the company does not have standard prevention measures or department. Thus the reason for hiring another company that proved fruitless in search  of the late man ; as the victim was found dead after  days.

VIMETCO has proven unwilling to compensate the deceased family as family member keep blaming the company for its unwilling to compensate the victim rather they are shifting the blame on NSBT which is subordinate company.          

In our subsequent editions, we will publish and analysis excerpts of the written responses sent to Public Review dated 22nd June, 2021 by Vimetco Boss, Basudeb Datta. Plus, a critical view on NSBT’s sheer negligence on the issue.

Charcoal Burner Gets Life Imprisonment

Appeal Court Judge presiding over cases at the Sexual Offences Model Court, Hon. Justice Alhaji Mohamed Momo-Jah Stevens (JA) has today sentenced Joseph Lamin, a Charcoal Burner, to life imprisonment for destroying the virginity and anus of a 9-year-old pupil in a ‘gang rape.’

According to the particulars of offence, Joseph Lamin who was residing at York Road in Waterloo, on the 28th day of July, 2020 engaged in an act of sexual penetration of one Mary Wilson (not real name), a child. He was brought before the Sexual Offences Model Court for sexual penetration contrary to section 19 of the Sexual Offences Act No. 12 of 2012 as repealed and replaced by section 4 of the Sexual Offences (amendment) Act of 2019, Act No. 8 of 2019.

Representing the victim, state counsel MP Sesay, applied for trial by a Judge alone instead of a Judge and Jury pursuant to Section 144 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1965 as repealed and replaced by section 3 of the Criminal Procedure (amendment) Act of 1981. His application was granted.

The Medical report endorsed by Dr. O. Claudius-Cole revealed that the victim was in severe pain and was immediately rushed to the theatre room for surgery. It further revealed that there were several bruises on her cheeks and the left side of her face close to the mouth.

“Hymen was completely ruptured and the vaginia and anus was just one big hole. The rectum and anus were torn,” the medical report stated.

In her testimony, the victim told the court that after they were attacked by three unknown persons at around 3am in the morning, she escaped and took refuge in a nearby makeshift structure but she was chased by the accused person and two of his colleagues.

She went on to explain that she was ‘gang-raped’ wherein her virginity was destroyed. According to her, the two others ran away but the police later apprehended accused Mohamed Lamin. She said after the surgery, she was later hospitalised for one month and two weeks.

Four witnesses testified including the police investigator from the Water Police Family Support Unit who explained their visit to the crime scene.

Accused Joseph Lamin who pleaded not guilty relied on his statement at the police and there was no witness to that effect. He was represented by C. Taylor Young from the Legal Aid Board who later made his plea in mitigation.

Delivering his Judgment, Hon. Justice Momo-Jah Stevens said the accused is guilty as charged and the prosecution has proved its case. He referenced the case of Woolmington Versus DPP and re-emphasised that the accused is guilty. He sentenced accused Joseph Lamin to life imprisonment based on the following aggravating factors; the accused committed the offence in the company of another person or persons, before or after the commission of the offence the accused used a weapon (knife) to threaten the victim and in the process caused bodily harm victim, and that the victim’s anus and virginity were destroyed.

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