Sierra Leone president fires deputy over mining

AP News
Posted: Jun 10, 2014 8:48 AM

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Sierra Leone's president has fired his chief of staff over his negotiating of a mining agreement and granting another company the right to log unlimited amounts of timber.

The statement from President Ernest Bai Koroma's office late Monday said Richard Conteh's negotiation of the mining agreement exposed the government to "potential loss of revenue." Conteh also allegedly issued an order allowing one company to export unlimited amounts of timber instead of the 30 containers stipulated by the president.

As chief of staff, Conteh, who was previously finance minister, was charged with overseeing projects initiated by the president and monitoring the performance of the other ministries.

Rich in natural resources, and especially diamonds, Sierra Leone remains poor as revenues are siphoned off by companies and corrupt officials.