A high court judge in Sierra Leone, Justice Bintu Alhadi has ruled that neither Koidu Holdings Diamond Mining company, nor its brand name, OCTEA is allowed to pay taxes of whatever type to the local government of the town council of Kono district.
The court in his ruling said that because its parent company (OCTEA) was registered in the British Virgin Islands and the subsidiary (Koidu Holdings Ltd) is exempt by law (ratified by parliament in 2010) from paying any taxes whatsoever.
In a surprised one hour ruling, the judge said she relied heavily on a parliamentary decision of October 2010 when the legislature of Sierra Leone, in rectifying the company’s agreement with government of Sierra Leone debated and unanimously voted that the company was exempt from paying almost all expected taxes in Sierra Leone, including employee tax.
The case was lodged at the Freetown Commercial Fast track court by Kono Mayor, His Lordship Emmerson Sahr Lamina.
It is generally a belief in Kono that the Mayor was removed from post by the Ernest Bai Koroma government because the young Mayor refused to be part of the corrupt political cabal within the government; in taking money from several companies operating in the country from the back door while depriving the country of necessary revenue.
The judge said that OCTEA should be paid cost by the Town Council.
Many Sierra Leoneans believe that this legal decision is heavily burdened by the beleaguered Ernest Bai Koroma that is presently everything but seriousness and that the decision of the judge should be appealed against.
When asked about the case today at a press conference, the president said the OCTEA issue was one of the many mining problems he inherited and that he was trying to solve them soonest.
The president barely had 18 months more to go though news in the corridors of power say he is hectically working with certain unscrupulous opposition party members through bribery to postpone the elections due 2018.