July 29, 2018
By Arolyn I. Koroma
President Dr. Maada Bio’s minister of Lands, Hon. Dr. Dennis Sandy surged ahead of the 100 Days in Grand style as he hit Hard on illegal Land Grabbers in Sierra Leone, especially in the capital city of Freetown. It is a unique story in the sense that, the pygmies in the Congo Forest do not treat their own like we have seen in Sierra Leone. It is hard to believe, but it happened within the past fifteen years. However, the past four month’s story was an extraordinary narrative. It is one where “Water Don Pass Garry, and it is also where political power and the stolen wealth of the nation was used to muscle the poor by illegally destroying a newly constructed building to give the land to the rich to build. It all happened in the name of “Bebray Bay power and dirty politics”.
President Dr. Maada Bio and Minister of Lands and Housing, Hon. Dr. Sandy are determined to fight the crazy and illegal land grabbing in Sierra Leone in any shape or form.
The one hundred (100) days of an administration in office must not be looked upon as a barometer of its five-year failure or successes in office. It is a propagandistic and political rhetoric. If critics perceived it that way, indeed the Maada Bio’s administration had made a huge stride in the nation’s cancerous illegal land Grabbing in the city of Freetown. No previous administration was able to check or slow down the illegal double land sales and purchases phenomenon. This broken land ownership law, can only be solved when the illegal land sellers began serving jail-terms for knowingly duping naïve land buyers.
The ministry of Lands scored the biggest point for the new administration within the first 1oo days, as the minister realized that not all problems can be solve by remote control; thus, going to the source of the problem separates between the talkers and doers. The ministry of Lands and Housing posed the greatest challenges to all previous governments. Because, the employees who are supposed to act right and promote positive administration’s image and good work succumbed to bribery and corruption. These every day acts to compete in taking home the most financial bribes negatively smear the government’s reputation for the benefit of employee’s families.
The employee’s every day main goal of lining their pockets with illegal millions of Leones to take home every work day adversely affect not only the minister, but the President’s popularity as well.
As the 100 Days went to a close on Friday 13th, Hon. Dr. Dennis Sandy’s first test of his resolve was at a disputed under construction prime pad of land at Hill Station. (For the record, I am an Author of three Texts Books, Investigative Journalist, and Editor-in-Chief of the Bai Bureh Times online newspaper based in USA. The said land is my family’s property and my commitment to reach the bottom of the matter cannot be understated).
The Lumley Police Station in Freetown goes into record as the most corrupt Police Precinct in the Nation of Sierra Leone.
My sister Fatmata Tina Sillah was the thirteenth Freetown who told me that, of all the corrupted Police Stations in Freetown, the Lumley Police precinct rank highest 99% in a scale from 5 to 100.
As I became involved in the land dispute, my sister told me that the government had handed the matter to the Lumley Police station. As a result, I tried to get a feel of the truth about the renegade officer, Paul Bangura who vowed not to accept any document from the government and even threatened to lock civilian messengers who demanded justice from his Lumley office. This is a man who rejected IG Lengor’s request to stop the illegal construction and he also received a letter from the former Ministry of Lands Permanent Secretary, Mr. Tarawally who requested him to stop the construction, he also refused. He adamantly repeated his statement that he was not going to accept any letter from any government office.
In my effort to make sure of the truth, I tried to get the phone number of the notorious Lumley Police Station’s Assistant Inspector General (AIG) He answered at the second telephone ring and my sister introduced herself as the owner of the disputed land at Hill Station, which the AIG’S office is mishandling and she introduced me (Arolyn) in the 3-way telephone conversation.
Fatmata Tina Sillah: Sir, it is me who is sitting in my two-bedroom and pallor in the photos you have seen and your office is keeping. You also saw that I first constructed a Pan-Body for a care-taker to live three years ago, as soon as the land was leased to me. You saw the hangings and a barrel of water. This is a three years old construction and people had lived there all through the years.
Quite recently, former Minister of Marin, Momodu Pat-Sowe and APC strongman Sanusi Obuski sent street thugs and a demolition team, and they broke my buildings. They gave my land to Hon. Momodu Pat-Sowe’s relative Isatu Sowe, who is also a good friend of Sanusi Obuski. My land was given to Isatu Sowe to build. I leased the land from the government, and developed it within two years as opposed to the government specified three years to develop government’s leased land. The demolition team sent by Mr. Pat-Sowe and Oboski on behalf Mrs. Isatu Sowe came with thugs who mercilessly beat the resident Saffa Sheku Kanneh, who was home at the time. The other residents Nyakeh Vamboi went to school and Alphonso Koroma traveled to the provinces. They returned to find their homes raised to the ground and lost all their personal belongings, and briefly became homeless. The contractor Mr. Bah, was molested and the thugs took his bag with money and other valuables. The victims went to the Acorn Police Station at I-Mart and reported their case. Mr. Sanusi Obuske had the case transferred to the Lumley Police Station where his sphere of influence is unlimited with the presence of Inspector Paul Bangura and others. The victims reported cases were placed in the Police Station’s Buff-Case section. This police satellite is known to be the most corrupt in the city of Freetown.
Arolyn: AIG, in addition to what my sister had clearly stated what can you contribute to the narrative of this issue? Why is Inspector Paul Bangura behaving the way he is mishandling the matter. This is wrong, Sir. Two wrongs can never make a right. I kindly request that you tell Inspector Paul Bangura and Madam Isatu Sowe to stop the illegal building construction.
AIG: Well, usually when cases like this occur, the government sent them to the police to investigate. The police decide who is right and assign the property to the individual.
Arolyn: Sir, again. Two wrongs can never make a right. So you assigned the case to Inspector Paul Bangura, who cannot see the truth and call it truth, even with the surmountable evidences handed to him. He vowed not to accept any legal document from government officials, who looked at the truth in the eye and call your police station’s action injustice, was done to Mrs. Fatmata Sillah. The ministry of Lands former Permanent Secretary, Mr. Barbar Fortune instructed you (AIG), your office personnel to stop supporting the illegal construction and your office refused? Former IG Lengor sent his envoy in the name of Mr. Tarawally to help you understand and amend your wrong in this case. Why nothing was done to stop this illegal act.
AIG: Mr. Koroma, as a matter of fact Inspector Paul Bangura just entered my office.
Arolyn: AIG, can I talk to Inspector Paul Bangura?
AIG: I am going to have consultation with Inspector Paul Bangura. Please, call me Monday (July 18).
I called AIG at about 9 am (S. L. time 7/18).
Arolyn & Fatmata sillah: 3-way conferences call: Good morning, AIG. I’m again calling regarding the land construction that is going on at Hill Station, which we discussed on Friday, July 20.
AIG: Good morning, Sir. I already have a big headache this morning. What I will do is, I will go to the Minister of Lands, Dr. Sandy during the week. Please, call again on Tuesday (July 24). And the phone went dead.
My sister Fatmata then, said, Arolyn, this man is going to tell the builders to hurry up and finish the Tie-Bean and start floating the building now under these heavy rains. I bet you. That is exactly what they are going to do.
We sent our team to the construction site (Sat.) the next day. And indeed they found the builders busy floating the building under the periodic brakes of persistent 7 days rain. They called us from the construction site. We knew that the AIG was hugely compromised. We instructed our team to go and meet the minister Hon. Dr. Sandy with all the house photos, the two letters from the Permanent Secretary Mr. Babar Fortune and also the request from former IG. Leonor demanding a halt of the construction. But the corrupt police station assistant Inspector Paul Bangura, who is taking orders directly from Obuski and Pat-Sowe from abroad was adamant and repeatedly rejected the letters. He refused not only to honor the letters, but he also threatened to lock-up the civilian messengers, Saffa Sheku Kanneh and Abdul Aziz who delivered the letters.
The minister attentively looked at all the photos, read all the documents and saw gross injustice which had been done to Mrs. Fatmata Sillah whose home was demolished by thugs, ordered by the two prominent political rouges.
The honorable minister personally made a trip to the construction site on Friday 21, 2018 and found the house roof floating was in process. He got out of his official car and he approached the contractor and his team of workers. He told them and I quote “stop the illegal construction right now! You are knowingly and illegally encroaching upon somebody’s land. I understand that you all have disobeyed two government directives to stop the illegal construction.”
It was at this time that Mrs. Isatu Sowe’s agent Mrs. Mimi Macaulay introduced herself as Human Right Activist. She asked the Minister to vacate the site, and she called both her thugs and Paul Banguras assigned Security watch Guards on site confronted the Minister, who never relented, or succumbed to the mob hysteria. He started dismantling the illegal construction until his voice and action was heard loud and clear.
I again called the AIG (July 24), as he told us that he was going to meet with the minister during the week.
AIG: sir, I cannot talk on the Hill Station land issue any more. The government has place a ban on saying anything about it.
Arolyn: okay, I thank you quite immensely. I really appreciated all your help. I however want you to do me a big favor.
AIG: What is it?
Arolyn: could you please, help me to get Mrs. Isatu Sowe and Inspector Paul Bangura so that I can interview them?
I called him in two hours’ time and he indeed gave me inspector Paul Bangura’s phone number, but not Mrs. Isatu Sowe. Of course, the request from retired IG Lengor and the letter from Permanent Secretary Berbar Fortune told Isatu Sowe’s full story of gross advantage
My three days effort to reach Inspector Paul Bangura proved fruitless the minister of Land, Dr. Sandy proved to be stronger than the land problems and their creators, who double sale lands and their purchasers. He is a man who the unrelenting 7 days rain in Freetown, cannot slow down. Hon. Dr. Dennis Sandy has proved that he is a splendid man, who `combined tenacity to positively promote his party’s ideals and new direction of governance.
Arolyn I. Koroma, Author & Editor-in-Chief:
The Bai Bureh Time. Goto: www.thebaiburehtimes.com