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Seventeen Implementing Partners (IPs) are planning to stage a peaceful demonstration against the Agricultural Engineering Services Division (AESD) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFFS) and the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) for what they described as ‘negligence’ in the part of the Ministry to pay them after the successful implementation of a land development project.
Sources within the circle of the seventeen implementing partners confirmed to this press that a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between AESD and each of the 17 IPs on the 23rd of February 2012, for the implementation of seventy (70) hectares of land development project seeking to increase productivity in five districts including Port Loko, Kambia, Moyamba, Pujehun and Kenema districts for the sum of Le 337,620,000 each.
The implementing partners, according to reports ran out of patience following elapse of the stipulated time frame. Reports further state that each of the IPs only received Le 24 million out of the said colossal sums.
“We intend staging a collective and peaceful demonstration to demonstrate our plights”. “We have been unable to pay those we contracted for the implementation of the project and assurances are still unripe whiles the pressure burden is on us,” a Director for one of the IPs, who prefers anonymity confided in this press.
An extract from the MOU which is currently in our disposal reads:
“Payment shall be made in three installments with maximum amount of USD20,000.00. Each installment Payment must be justified by (i) a technical certification by AESD and Rural Engineer or with other representative of ASREP”.
Our investigations revealed that rural representative of AESD and ASREP as well as representatives from Freetown have been frequenting these project sites giving the IPs confidence to continue working as they promised to pay the monies owed them within the shortest possible time.
However, sources within the Ministry have informed this press that the problem is not with the African Development Bank but with the Ministry’s Coordinators – most of whom are lining their pockets at the expenses of the poor IPs.
Sierra Express Media is also cross checking these allegations with officials at the Ministry who are still reluctant to speak up on the issue.
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