Rep. Saah Joseph Wants Sime Darby to Cover Medical Costs of Tortured Man

MONROVIA, Montserrado – Representative Saah Joseph of Montserrado’s 13th district has given the management of the Sime Darby Oil Palm Plantation a 24-hour ultimatum to conduct a full medical examination of the man recently tortured after being caught stealing palm nuts.

Joseph said the management of the Malaysian company, which operates in parts of Bomi and Grand Cape Mount, risks being dragged to court if it fails to comply.

Recently a video surfaced on social media showing a man, who identified himself as John David, severely tortured in Grand Cape Mount.

On May 22, Saah told reporters at the Capitol building that he has contacted a law firm to engage the company on behalf of David, who has told reporters that he has not received proper medical care since he was tortured.

“I will ensure that the tortured victim health is restored through successful medical treatment,” he added. “I will also ensure that David receives compensation from the company for his torture.”

The ultimatum from the representative from Montserrado’s 13th district was added to a list of mandates from the House of Representatives to the company.

A statement issued by the legislature listed a number of demands from the company.

The House of Representatives required the company to install water and latrine facilities at school campuses and camp sites within 30 days.

The representatives further instructed Sime Darby to employ the requisite number of Liberians into senior managerial positions within three months, as stipulated in the concession agreement.

They also directed the company to ensure that family members of all contractors are receiving healthcare, and that the salaries of all teachers, nurses, and other professional staff are appropriate for their various qualifications and positions.

The management of the company has agreed to implement all the recommendations of the lawmakers in line with its concession agreement.

The company’s legal team presented a document to the lawmakers addressing each of the recommendation. The legal team also pledged the company’s commitment to working along with the Liberian people through lawmakers to implement its concession agreement.

For his part, Gregory Coleman, the director general of the National Bureau of Concession, pledged to ensure the implementation of the lawmakers’ recommendations.

In July 2009, Sime Darby signed a 63-year concession agreement with the government to develop 220,000 hectares of land in Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Gbarpolu, and Bong into oil palm and rubber plantations.

To date, 10,508 hectares have been planted in five estates in Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, and Lofa. Out of the total planted area of 10,508 hectares, 10,401 are planted with oil palm while the remainder are planted with rubber.

Featured photo by Zeze Ballah

Zeze Ballah

Zeze made his journalism debut as a high school reporter at the LAMCO Area School System. In 2016 and 2017, the Press Union of Liberia awarded Zeze with the Photojournalist of the Year award. Zeze was also the union's 2017 Health Reporter of the Year. He is a Health Journalism Fellow with Internews.

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