BY KEBBA MAMBURAY
The eldest member of the Faraba VDC told the Commission yesterday that the villagers were not aware of the MoU signed by the Alkalo on behalf of the village with Julakay. He also said that they were not aware of how Julakay obtained a licence. He said he made these statements at a village meeting attended by several officials.
Malang Jambawutu Sanyang, made these pronouncements yesterday August 2 when he appeared before the Faraba Commission.
‘Jambawutu’ told Commissioners that he is part of the Council of elders of Faraba, that they involve the youth of the village in anything that is to be undertaken in the village. He further explained that they are neither elected nor selected, to be part of the Council of elders; that once the person has reached old age the person is part of the decision making body of the Council of elders.
Sanyang testified that their meetings are done at the village Bantaba or the Alkalo’s compound; that whatever they agree from such meetings, they inform the youth.
On the issue of sand mining in Faraba, Sanyang said villagers use donkey carts to get sand from the quarry, to plaster their houses; that this issue of mining has been taking place since he was young; that during the regime of the former president, the VDC and the youth of the village, cleared the road and repaired potholes; that, during the term of the previous VDC, sand was mined from the quarry the proceeds were used for the development of the village; that the previous VDC signed that their term was to expire after 2 years only; that the VDC was tapping funds from the mining of sand for the development of the village. He further testifies that the VDC is under the supervision of council of elders and cannot do anything without their approval; that prior to the 18th of June 2018, he met ‘Julakay’, during a meeting he had with the villagers; that ‘Julakay’ explained to them that he got a license to mine sand in Faraba Banta but was advised to meet them to have their consent. Sanyang said at that meeting, the VDC Chairperson Alagie Sanyang on behalf of the youth, asked Julakay the benefits the village will get from the his sand mining, once he starts operation; that he (Malang Jambawutu Sanyang) intervened by saying that there was no problem for Julakay to mine sand but was concerned that to avoid damages, his vehicles cannot use the village road; that everybody agreed with him.
Sanyang said cola nuts were distributed and D10, 000.00 was given to the VDC and D5,000.00 was distributed amongst the village elders.
Sanyang further said there were no concerns raised regarding the sand mining issue; that Julakay further surveyed and identified the access road together with the Alkalo, the VDC Chairperson others, including himself.
Sanyang said there was a day the Alkalo called him and informed him about a meeting at the Governor’s office; that the governor told them that Julakay obtained a valid license to mine. Jambawutu said he was shocked because he was wandering whether Government was aware of the sand mining operation done by the VDC; that he requests for the Governor to allow them to discuss the matter at village level; that afterwards they conducted a meeting in the absence of the Alkalo and the imam, but that the VDC insisted they cannot hold the meeting in the absence of the Alkalo and other elders because according to him, they heard a rumour that it was the Council of elders who sold the site to Julakay.
Sanyang said another meeting was summoned by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Local Government and Lands and in the attendance was the Alkalo, some representatives of the Council of elders, the VDC, the Geology department and the NEA; that the meeting was centered on the complaint lodged by the VDC; that they are not aware of how Julakay obtained a license as well as the MOU, signed by the Alkalo on behalf of the village with Julakay; that at the meeting, the PS advised the VDC that they should consult the Alkalo in whatever case they have; that they were further advised that they are under the authority of the Alkalo and should sit with him and discuss every matter concerning the village.