The Sime Darby Plantation (SDPL) has clarified circumstances surrounding the video “Oil Palm Fresh Fruit Bunch” theft that occurred at Nimba Point, a town near the plantation, in early January. In the video a young man, about 30 years of age, is seen handcuffed and sitting on the ground, while he is being physically assaulted by a group of five men believed to be Sime Darby’s security officers . He was accused of stealing fresh palm fruit from the Sime Darby plantation and was brutally assaulted.
But according to Sime Darby’s management, those involved in the brutal physical assault are not employees of Sime Darby Plantation except one Boima Feika, a security guard, who is already undergoing investigation.
“Upon discovery of this incident, Sime Darby’s management took immediate steps by suspending its chief of security Thomas Walker, the personnel that was allegedly mistreating John Davies, the suspected. Davies has since surrendered himself to officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) and is undergoing further investigation,” the management told reporters over the weekend.
Accordingly, SDPL’s management does not condone any use of physical force and ill treatment by any of its employees, even on those caught stealing the plantation’s palm fruit.
However, the management has warned that anyone caught stealing from any of the company’s facilities, including its palm fruit, will be handed over to the LNP.
Meanwhile sources have confirmed to the Daily Observer that this is not the first of such incidences involving Sime Darby’s security officers who, locals say, are virtually a law unto themselves at the plantation. Sources further say that unfair labor practices and other forms of abuse are perpetrated against workers at the plantation.
Sources say were it not for a concerned individual who captured the torture of John Davies on video, the Sime Darby’s management would have denied that such an incident ever took place, noting that officers of the Liberia National Police assigned to the area tend to exercise undue respect towards the Sime Darby’s management and well above the interest of workers and locals in the area.
This, according to them, emboldens Sime Darby’s security officers and management to freely infringe on the rights of workers and local residents, as clearly demonstrated by this video in which Sime Darby’s security officers are seen physically assaulting and torturing John Davies for allegedly stealing a fresh palm fruit bunch.
Meanwhile the Sime Darby’s management has distanced itself from the video recording, saying that it does not condone any use of physical force and maltreatment of workers and locals.