Over 500 aggrieved employees of Sierramin Bauxite (SL) Ltd of Port Loko District are demanding that the CEO of the company, Alhaji Umaru Bah pay all of their outstanding salaries, leave allowances and redundancy pay.

According to the aggrieved workers, Alhaji Umaru Bah who is also the Team Manager of Leone Stars Home Base Football Team and Real Republicans Football Club has not paid their salaries since February 2021.

They noted that there are employees whose employment contracts were terminated or summarily dismissed and others who resigned before and after February 2021 who also have outstanding arrears been deliberately denied from them.

The workers noted that in February 2022, the CEO through the representative of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security in North West Region Osman Conteh, and some senior management staff of the company, verbally admonished employees that as a result of operational challenges, they are sending employees on administrative leave and will notify them through their contacts to collect their salaries when available within the shortest possible time.

“All efforts to get the CEO and Management to deal with these issues fall on deaf ears. An employee who rose to request his pay was detained at the Rogbere and Port Loko Police stations for almost a week, with instructions from CEO Alhaji Umar Bah,” the Sierramin employees noted.

They furthered that the CEO threatened to use his political influence to detain or punish anyone suspected to put forward concerns about salary payment.

“CEO Alhaji Umar Bah has also used his political influence to thwart a case raised against him and his management at the NASSIT court for nonpayment of employees’ NASSIT contributions from 2014. CEO Bah’s management made NASSIT deductions from employees’ salaries but never deposited them into employees’ NASSIT accounts,” the workers stated.

They recalled that the license for the Bauxite concession was revoked from Sierramin Bauxite last year for noncompliance with government mining regulations after being given considerable time to do so by the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources.

They added that the license has been awarded to CTC Mining Company by the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources and CEO Bah has withdrawn all running company vehicles from the project area for personal use and left employee issues unattended.

“Such actions are meant to undermine the peace and development strides of HE Rtd. Brigadier Dr Julius Maada Bio and his government, in Port Loko district,” the workers noted.

The aggrieved employees therefore called on the Government of Sierra Leone, Labor Congress, Human Right Organisations and Port Loko District Stakeholders to ensure that they received their payments.

“We are soliciting the support of appropriate authorities to compel CEO Alhaji Umar Bah and his management to make these payments as soon as possible,” they noted.

The North West Region Labor Officer, Mr Osman Conteh can validate these assertions, and the former Human Resource Manager of Sierramin Bauxite (SL) Limited, Alimamy Palmo Sesay says the allegations made by aggrieved employees are true and his professional advice to CEO Alhaji Umar Bah and Sierramin Bauxite Company on these issues were ignored. He furthered that he is willing to provide further information to validate these claims when required.