By Ibrahim Alusine Kamara
The Minister of Lands, Dr. Turad Senesie, has been implicated by one Alpha Conteh, a Sierra Leonean, residing in the diaspora who alleges that with the knowledge and tacit involvement of the Minister, he was deprived of a 4-acre parcel of land along Peninsular Road in Tokeh within the Western Rural District .
Alpha Conteh explained of how legally he gained ownership of the said piece of land over a decade ago further revealing that he bought it from one Alhaji Slowe, who was at that time the Tokeh Headman stressing that he is in possession of all the requisite documents pertaining to the land in question.
He continued by intimating how he decided and agreed to sell one acre of the piece of land with the LS number 3559/12 since it was for the sole purpose of constructing an educational institution.
Alpha Conteh stated that of late he was shocked to learn that his land was now deemed to be Government property, a claim which he said emphatically said he will contest with documentary evidence. He claimed that upon his return to Freetown he went to make certain clarifications at the Ministry of Lands but to his chagrin he was directed to contact an unknown fellow by the name of Noah Fornah at a hotel.
He said when he contacted Fornah he was told to forgo half of his land so that an amicable settlement will be strike to which he stoutly opposed lamenting how what followed next was the demolition of a fence he has erected. Alpha said it was later realized that the land has been allocated to various individuals he does not know thereby losing the entire piece of land that he formerly possessed.
According to him, he took the matter to court to seek redress adding that
the Minister not only dismissed his ownership claims but instructed him to write a letter after which he will consider assigning him an alternate piece of land.
In a dejected mood, Alpha accused the Minister of complicity in depriving him of his land as he displayed supporting documents, including conveyances, a Police report, a Ministry chart indicating private ownership, an independent surveyor’s encroachment report, and registration receipts.
Responding to the allegation, , the Communications Specialist at the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning, Abdul Fonti Kabia, said it is an open secret that Government was making efforts to reclaim State lands that were illegally acquired in the Western Area Rural communities, including Tokeh. He said there is no sufficient evidence to substantiate Alhaji Slowe’s ownership claim.
He continued that since the matter is before the court he will decline to comment further on the issue. However, Alpha insisted that the former Tokeh Headman, Alhaji Slowe, from whom he secured the land will attest that he bought the disputed piece of land from him.