On the 3rd of April, 2013, the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma, issued a stern warning to ‘investors’ that would be granted land leases by government to spawn some marketable investment – from tourism to mining – but, would fail to utilize such lands for legally agreed purposes; he said that government reserves the right to repossess such lands, because it is obvious those who have not developed these lands lack the “technical and financial capacity to do so”.
This was during the launching of Sweet Salone’s The Place luxury resort on the idyllic Tokeh beachfront in the Freetown peninsular. President Koroma praised Sweet Salone for being “the first serious investor in tourism” from 2007 – during his first term in office – to the present. The President’s blend of praise and tough talk was ‘fallamakata-ed’ (emulated) by his land/environment minister, Musa Tarawally. The latter said that Sierra Leone is determined to give every encouragement to foreign investors; and issued a caustic warning to not only questionable foreign investors, but, also citizens who are like cancerous cells on the environment – “land grabbers and squatters”. Minister Tarawaly said that government would ensure “healthy and proper use of land”, so that “meaningful investment …won’t be strangled”.