Traders accuse Metropolitan Police of Theft
Many traders at the Central Business District (CBD) of Freetown have accused the Metropolitan police of the Freetown City Council (FCC) of always returning their seized goods with most items missing with invalid excuses.
The Development Director of United Indigenous Commercial and Petty Traders Union, Mr. Ibrahim Sesay confirmed that many traders have been complaining about how the Metropolitans officers have been pilfering items from their seized goods with impunity.
He maintained that though the Metropolitan officers are notorious for pilfering items from goods they usually seize from traders, the FCC authorities have never taken any punitive measures against them to deter such criminal act.
Mr. Ibrahim Sesay alleged that the interior of Eastern Police Clock Tower is used as storage for the Metropolitan officers for keeping seized goods, adding that some goods have been stocked in the interior of the clock tower for several months that some owners have given up on them after they had pleaded to no avail. He described it as serious setback to the victims who run their businesses on shoe-string budgets.
Mr. Ibrahim Sesay maintained that the unprofessional behaviour of the Metropolitan officers has put many traders who are breadwinners out of business.
He appealed to the FCC to do justice to the council and traders by investing the Le10 million for daily market dues be expended on the construction of standard markets in the municipality, noting that their perpetual harassment by the Metropolitan officers and the council’s inability to judiciously invest market dues in basic social amenities have prompted them to raise concern about how the council is running.
Mr. Sesay stressed that the council should act as servant for traders but has suddenly turned into an instrument of oppression which he said they are determined to protest against it in future.
He said though they are in support of President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s development strides in the country, they will not condone being treated like refugees in their own country. When contacted at his Wallace Johnson Street for comments, the Operational Officer, Freetown City Council metropolitan Police, John Simbo, described the allegations traders levelled against them as baseless and unfounded.
He maintained that his office is in charge of enforcing the municipal bye-laws and to protect the assets of the council.
The Operational Officer explained that his operation team has never exceeded ten personnel and that any traders arrested would be asked to fill a form called l “Particular of accused person” which he said comprised the name of the trader, offence(s) committed, address and description of items arrested followed by the signatures of the arresting officer, suspect and the Exhibit Clerk.
John Simbo furthered that after the defaulting trader has paid his/her fine for the crime committed, they will release the items immediately, adding that they have never received any complaints about theft of items seized by his personnel for various crimes committed according to their bye-laws.
He disclosed that the interior of the Eastern Police Clock Tower consists of three apartments – the corridor, electrical appliances section and the clock engine room, which he said have no accommodation for any sexual activity.
Mr. Simbo disclosed that between 9th – 11th February this year, they arrested Aruna Dento, Gibrilla Kargbo (Gibo), Alhaji Alpha Sesay, Ibrahim Takie Kamara aka (on target) and Osman Kamara for impersonation.
Responding to why they are no longer arresting child traders littering the streets of Freetown, he retorted that in 2010 they used to arrest child traders for the identification of their parents or guardians for further arrest, but they decided to mellow down for lack of a Municipality Court.
The Operational Officer assured that in the not-too-distant future they will start revisiting “Operation WID” disclosed that in a not too distant feature the metropolitan police will revisit all areas of operation weed and arrested suspects will be taken to the Central Police Station for further investigation owing to the fact that the council does not have a court on its own for summary offenses.
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