By Foday Moriba Conteh
Hassan Marrah, the Headman of John Obey Community in York Village, along with committee members Sieh Sesay, Ibrahim Kamara, and others, are accused of orchestrating a violent attack on bailiffs and police officers. The officers were executing a court order intended to assist the Monneh Williams family in reclaiming 176 acres of land rightfully belonging to the late Monneh Williams of Adonkia Road, Goderich in Freetown.
The incident unfolded when the bailiffs and police officers arrived at the John Obey Community to execute a High Court mandate. As they stepped onto the disputed land, they were violently attacked by individuals, including aggressive youths from within and neighboring communities. The attackers used locally-made petrol bombs, stones, bottles, and wielded machetes and knives, posing a grave threat to the law enforcement officials’ safety.
In response to the escalating danger, the police used teargas canisters to disperse the attackers and restore order.
The court rulings and Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Country Planning confirmed the Monneh Williams family as the rightful owners of the land. Marie Kargbo, the Estate Administrator, legally engaged representatives to regain possession of the property and uphold their rights.
With the trespass case in the High Court of Sierra Leone (Land & Property Division) between Marie Kargbo as Plaintiff and Charles Davie and Lamin Gbla in 2019, presided over by Justice Binneh Kamara, a ruling was issued on October 18, 2019. Justice Binneh Kamara stated, “The Plaintiff is entitled to possession of all property situated at John Obey Freetown as shown on survey plans LS2121/96 dated October 1997 and LS 1525/88 dated September 2, 1988.” The ruling included the recovery of possession of the land, damages for trespass, and an injunction restraining the Defendants from trespassing or remaining on the Plaintiff’s land.
On February 19, 2021, Justice T Barnett (JA) ruled against Aiah Moore and Amadu Mansaray, granting final judgment to the Plaintiff in the matter. The Plaintiff was declared as entitled to the property, and damages for trespass were ordered, along with an injunction against further trespassing. The court assessed the action’s cost at Le3,000,000.
Subsequently, on July 29, 2022, in the same case involving Marie Kargbo, Abdul Jalloh, and Richard Conteh, Justice SO Taylor granted the orders prayed for and struck out the counter claim. The court directed costs of Twenty Thousand New Leones to be borne by the 2nd Defendant.
Finally, on May 17, 2023, Justice A Binneh Kamara allowed the Plaintiff/Applicant to extend the validity of the Writ of Possession, with the Defendants/Respondents bearing the cost of Le2,500,000 for the application.
In a significant development, the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Country Planning penned a crucial missive addressed to Ms. Marie Kargbo of 42 Adonkia Road, Goderich, Freetown.
The letter, dated August 28th, 2023, pertained to the contested land situated at Peninsular Road in John Obey. It specifically referenced the verdict issued by the High Court of Sierra Leone (Land and Property Division) regarding the contentious matter involving Marie Kargbo, as the Administrator of the estate of late Monneh Williams, and various other parties from the John Obey Community.
In the communication, the Ministry highlighted the High Court’s decree, affirming Marie Kargbo as the rightful claimant to the property at John Obey. The Ministry explicitly cited survey plans LS No. 2121/96 from October 1997 and LS No. 1525/88 from September 2nd, 1988, supporting Kargbo’s entitlement to the land.
Asserting its endorsement based on the court orders and evidence presented during the legal proceedings, the Ministry formally recognized Mrs. Marie Kargbo’s ownership of the described property.
The Senior Permanent Secretary, Abdul RM Foranah, assured Kargbo of the Ministry’s unwavering support, underscoring the assurance of assistance in the matter.
The missive was copied to several dignitaries, including the Honorable Minister, the Deputy Minister, and the Director of Surveys and Lands, signifying the importance and gravity of the decision conveyed in the communication.
Authorities have initiated arrests related to the violent attack, and ongoing investigations aim to bring those responsible to justice.
This medium remains committed to closely monitoring the situation.