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Saturday, July 20, 2024

SCRAP DEALERS DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY: PRESIDENT KAMARA FACES REMOVAL AMID ALLEGATIONS OF MISCONDUCT

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MONROVIA – The President of the Liberia Scrap Dealers Association (LSDA), Ayouba Kamara, is under severe pressure from members of the Association, following accusations of unilaterally organizing a managed election and claiming victory without proper procedures. Over 400 members have signed a resolution demanding Kamara’s immediate removal.

The resolution was the outcome of a meeting held on May 4, 2024, where members voiced their dissatisfaction with Kamara’s leadership. The leadership of the Liberia Scrap Buyers Association (LSBA) had invited all scrap dealers, including those from the LSDA, to this meeting to address Kamara’s alleged illegitimate regime.

Members cited numerous violations, including Kamara’s failure to organize regular meetings to discuss scrap prices and his alleged collusion with foreign scrap cartels, which undermined the economic survival of local scrappers. Kamara conducted elections without establishing an election commission, as required by the LSDA constitution. He extended his term illegally beyond the three-year limit. Kamara also failed to provide annual progress reports to the General Assembly and did not secure a scrap yard for illegal scrap, as mandated by the LSDA constitution. Furthermore, Kamara allegedly received personal benefits from Sethi, a millionaire scrap dealer, compromising his role as an advocate for local scrappers.

In the resolution, the aggrieved members outlined their frustrations, accusing Kamara of turning the scrap business, which was intended to benefit Liberians, over to foreign cartels. This move, they claim, has allowed these cartels to dictate the prices of scrap, to the detriment of local scrappers. Kamara’s actions, according to the resolution, have been influenced by wealthy scrap dealers and end-users who have financed his business ventures, thereby creating a conflict of interest.

The resolution also emphasized Kamara’s failure to adhere to the LSDA’s constitutional requirements. According to the members, there was no election commission established to oversee the elections, nor was there a request for funding issues addressed to the President or the Executive Committee. Additionally, there were no complaints filed by candidates participating in the election, nor was there any media announcement regarding funding concerns.

Furthermore, the resolution highlighted Kamara’s disregard for scrap regulation and the LSDA constitution, including his failure to make annual reports and secure a scrap yard for illegal scrap. The members accused Kamara of misinterpreting Article 24 of the LSDA constitution to justify his prolonged tenure. They also pointed out his acceptance of vehicles, motorbikes, and furniture from Sethi, which they argue were used for his personal business interests rather than for the benefit of the scrappers.

In light of these violations, the members of the LSDA have decided to form an interim leadership team to manage the Association’s affairs until a transparent election can be held. They believe this interim leadership is necessary to restore integrity and proper governance within the organization. The resolution calls for a free, fair, and transparent election to be conducted within 30 days, ensuring that all scrappers have a voice in the leadership of their Association.

According to some members, this situation has highlighted significant issues within the LSDA, bringing to light the need for stricter adherence to its constitutional provisions and a more transparent electoral process. The members’ call for Kamara’s resignation is a strong message against corruption and mismanagement, emphasizing the importance of accountability and democratic principles within the Association. The outcome of this conflict will likely have a lasting impact on the governance of the LSDA and the scrap industry in Liberia.

The wider scrap community and industry stakeholders are closely monitoring the developments. Many are hopeful that the interim leadership will pave the way for a more transparent and effective governance structure. This crisis could potentially serve as a turning point, driving much-needed reforms in the LSDA and fostering a more equitable environment for all scrap dealers in Liberia.

Additionally, this episode stresses the larger challenges of leadership and governance in organizations that serve vulnerable and economically disadvantaged groups. The actions taken by the LSDA members reflect a growing awareness and assertiveness among local scrappers to demand better representation and fairer practices. As the situation evolves, it will be crucial for the interim leadership to maintain transparency and engage in consistent dialogue with all stakeholders to ensure lasting positive change.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kamara, when contacted to respond to the allegations against him, said that those raising the allegations are members of another organization. According to him, they have created another association called the Scrap Buyers Association. “They are not part of the LSDA because they’ve created another association,” Kamara stated. He argued that if the group had presented their concerns as part of the Scrap Dealers Association, he would probably listen to their concerns because that would mean they are under the association. “The Scrap Buyers Association have their constitution and articles of incorporation, they are operating as an association that is not affiliated with the Liberia Scrap Dealers Association,” Kamara concluded.

Socrates Smythe Saywon
Socrates Smythe Saywon is a Liberian journalist. You can contact me at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or reach out via email at saywonsocrates@smartnewsliberia.com or saywonsocrates3@gmail.com.

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