Land Conflict at # 51 Sanders Street Complainant Prepares to go High Court
An intense land dispute which has erupted at # 51 Sanders Street in Freetown has left with the complainant, Rev. Victoria Mariama Cole with no option but to go to the High Court of Sierra Leone to seek justice and regains her bonified property.
Explaining to this medium, the tearing Mrs. Cole said # 5 Sanders Street is their family property, stating that during the rebel incursion in Freetown in 1999, her mother’s aunt handed over the two and half town lots which was set ablaze to Ayo Dele Refelle to serve as Power of Attorney on the land as age has tell before her death.
Mrs. Cole said one Mr. Osman Kargbo met the caretakers to lease the land to construct a carpentry shops and two rooms, adding that the occupants were moved to the pan body at the back of the house as a means to rescue them as tenants. According to Mrs. Cole, Mr. Osman Kargbo claimed that the money he has spent to construct his business centre was equivalent to Eight (8) years which started from 2000 to 2008.
She said in the interim, a set of Fullah calling themselves Fullah Bothers led by Abdulai Jalloh also came to lease a portion of the remaining land to build a pharmacy for a period of ten (10) years. Surprisingly, Mrs. Cole said, Mr. Osman Kargbo leased the place to the Jalloh Brothers instead of handing over the land after his time was expired.
When I came from my place of work at Bo, Mrs. Cole said she asked, who built the pharmacy without informing them as rightful landowners? She continued that the Jalloh Brothers answered that the land was leased to them by Mr. Osman Kargbo.
“I asked how it happens and the Jalloh Brothers responded that they were told by Mr. Kargbo that he was not only granted by Mrs. Cole mother to serve as caretaker for the land but she also ordered him to lease the land,” she stated.
Mrs. Cole said when she asked the Jalloh Brothers to pay rent to her, they referred her to Mr. Osman Kargbo.
In 2015, Mrs. Cole said she brought her mother who had just recovered from sick bed in one of the hospitals in Bo City but, when she approached the Jalloh Brothers to pay rent, they also referred them to the said Mr. Osman Kargbo. At this stage, Mrs. Cole explained that she found Mr. Kargbo at his house and told him that they did not authorized him to lease their house to another person after his time was over, noting that she threatened to take him to the police, but Mr. Kargbo begged for the matter to be discussed in house.
Coming to the house at 5 Old Railway Line the next day, her mother further questioned Mr. Kargbo if that was the plan, but she said Mr. Kargbo quickly confessed that he rented the land to the Jalloh Brothers in the tune of Eight Million Leones (Le8M) for a period of two years, which summed up the money to Sixteen Million Leones (Le 16M).
She said Mr. Kargbo promised to deliver the sixteen million Leones the next day and reviewed the tenancy agreement between the land owners and the Jalloh Brothers. Since then, Mrs. Cole said, Mr. Kargbo disappeared in the thin air until he resurfaced in 2019.
Amazingly, Mrs. Cole lamented that they received an intelligent that Mr. Kargbo has removed all tenants and caretakers in the house, elaborating that when she complained at the CID, she was told that the people were removed by Mr. Kargbo in consonant with the Jalloh Brothers.
She discussed that the reported the matter at the Legal Aid Board (LAB) but Mr. Kargbo and compatriots boycotted LAB invitation to know the truth in the matter, furthered that the other day, Mr. Kargbo met them at 5 Old Railway Line to negotiate on the matter but Mrs. Cole said they turned down his request with motive that his time has over and he never acted upon his words.
Mrs. Cole said she told Mr. Kargbo that she would not let him go scot free until police intervention, noting that she took him to the Adelaide Police Station in January, 2019. She said she was referred to the Officer Commanding (OC) at the designated station who was trying to negotiate on the matter.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Cole continued that one senior police officer who came from Lumley Police Division, Mr. Manneh came and said Mr. Kargbo must be released immediately by order from above and ordered the matter to be thrown out. When LAB invited them for the second time, Mrs. Cole alleged that Mr. Kargbo and crew told LAB that their lawyer, Elvis Kargbo advised them not to go there because the matter was at the High Court of Sierra Leone, advancing that it was the High Court that ordered the removal of the occupants at the place.
According to her, they were told by LAB to take the matter to court.
“I am surprised to hear that the matter was in court because we never go to court with these people,” she lamented and stated that at this stage they took the accused persons to Court No. 3 presided over by Magistrate Sheriff, who allegedly thrown the matter out of court without proceedings with the utterance that the matter was thrown out because there was no tenancy agreement between Mrs. Cole, Mr. Kargbo and the Jalloh Brothers.
Mr. Cole pointed out that, their family lawyer, Samuel Conteh Esq. contested that it was a gross advantage against Mrs. Cole and family. He therefore summoned the matter to Magistrate Kekura of Court No. 4. She disclosed that they were invited by the learned Magistrate but they did not showed up until bench warrant was instituted against Mr. Kargbo who was arrested to the court and charged with malicious damage and fraudulent conversion contrary to the common laws of Sierra Leone.
Mrs. Cole clarified that Mr. Kargbo in the tune of Fifty Million Leones (Le 50M) and was asked to come along with his house documents in the next adjourned date. But Mr. Kargbo replied that the documents were with his lawyer, Elvis Kargbo Esq. At the next adjournment date, the Magistrate Kekura ruled that the matter should be committed to High Court. The matter was thrown out of court and the complainant was fined Two Million Leones (Le 2M).
She said lawyer Samuel Conteh objected that the complainant should not suppose to pay the fine because she brought the matter before the noble court. At this stage, Mrs. Cole said, she decided to break the law by removing the doors for the fact that she said, there is no justice in this country.
In that regard, her counterparts called police officers from Adelaide Street but she did not go since she had been maltreated at the same station. Since I refused to go, they also called OSD’s from Kingharman Road (Benghazi) but she told them that they have no right to arrest her but they should apprehend whom she described as intruders that illegally occupied the land.
She said during the bitter argument and exchange between her and the officers, the OC at Kingharman Road called both parties to produce their documents. According to Mrs. Cole, after going through both documents, the police boss observed that Mrs. Cole possessed authentic documents and referred them to the then Local Unit Commander (LUC) for the Central Police Station, Francis Hazely. After going through both documents, Mrs. Cole said Hazely asked Mr. Kargbo and the Jalloh Brothers about how they acquired documents for the land.
Jalloh Brothers replied that they were ordered by Elvis Kargbo to continue with their building project. Mrs. Cole further discussed that Elvis Kargbo, who is their lawyer in the matter put Osman Kargbo as first caretaker while Mr. Jalloh serves as the second caretaker on the land.
At this juncture, Mr. Hazely asked, how could someone be a land lord and at the same time serves as a lawyer in a matter?
She maintained that Mr. Hazely sent them to the Lumley Police Division with the statement that he lacked the mandate to take decision on the matter. She said OC Aminata was in charge of the Anti Land Grabbing Unit at the station, noting that Aminata was ordered by the then LUC of the Division, AIG Michael Ambrose Sovula who is now Inspector General of Police (IGP).
She said whilst taking statement from him as ordered by the then LUC, Aminata was allegedly inundated with phone calls by Elvis Kargbo, stopping her not to take statement from Mrs. Cole, noting that the then LUC ordered Mr. Osman Kargbo, Aladeni Mohamed Jalloh and Alhaji Abdulai Kargbo to be locked up, but only Mr. Kargbo that was detained for five days.
At this point, Mrs. Cole said IG Sovula was encouraging Mr. Kargbo and friends to compromise with Mrs. Kargbo or else the police will continue doing their job, add that OC Aminata told them that she had sent the file for advice for two weeks.
When the advice available, Mrs. Cole said it outlined that the purchaser has right on the land but the name of the purchaser was not mentioned, the land location was not spelt out and her name was not mentioned on the advice note.
She said when she stopped the workers who are constructing the building; she was arrested and handcuffed to the CID through a report tendered by the Jalloh’s Brothers. She said Aladele Mohamed Jalloh reported that she beat and wounded him on January, 2020.
The matter was taken to Magistrate Hanna Bonnie of Court No. One. “I was granted bail and never granted bail as I reported at any adjourned date,” Mrs. Cole lamented and ended that “As I am speaking, the Jalloh Brothers still continue with the building project.”
By Abdulai Mento Kamara
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