Court Returns Leased Land to Sierra Leone Community
A community in Sierra Leone is hopeful that a court ruling which ordered an international palm oil company to return a big block of land to its owners would be a source of empowerment for them to retake control of their land and resources.
In the course of the case the court discovered that the land in Port Loko district, northern Sierra Leone, was leased to a Singapore-based palm oil company, Siva Group, in 2011, but for three years it failed to fulfill its rent obligations to landowners.
In its judgment the court ordered the return of the 41,500 hectares (103,000 acres)to the community and a imposed $250,000 fine.
Lawyers for the case disclosed that this was the first time in the history of Sierra Leone that a community would win back land leased to a foreign company.