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Malicious Damage: Tourist Board destroys structures in Sierra Leone

Opinions and sentiments expressed by many Sierra Leoneans including victims whose hard earned labour have been destroyed through the collective effort of the Acting Minister of Tourism and Culture, Kadie Sesay and the General Manager of the Tourist Board, Yassin Kargbo under the guise of promoting Tourism in the Country. Their collective effort have been perceived as a way of raising funds for personal benefits and not in the interest of promoting tourism in the Country as they want some members of the public to believe.

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The action may not be anything new again to many of the victims who have lost millions in materials that have been destroyed as it is the usual practice of both the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the Tourist Board to raise illegal money from traders and business individuals doing business at the Beach. Concern expressed by many of the victims, is that some of the structures put down by tractors and caterpillars hired by the Minister of Tourism, Kadie Sesay in collaboration with the General Manager of the Tourist Board, Yassin Kargbo are permanent structures built with blocks and not make-shift or temporal structures built with old and dilapidated zinc or plywood. Building permits and other required documentations were obtained from the Ministries of Works, Lands and permission from the Tourist Board to erect the permanent structures also obtained. Sadly some of those structures have now been bulldozed by caterpillars.

Mr. Yassin Kargbo in a discussion with a representative from this medium boasted that nothing will come out of their actions as they are using the “American Way” to obtain their property, which is the land, adding that if any of the victims is aggrieved they would be ready to compensate them with an amount not exceeding One to Two Million Leones. Arrogantly, he indicated that in Sierra Leone one should not fear to do anything and as a Tourist Board General Manager he fears nothing “We can put your structure down if we don’t want you on our beach and nothing will come out of it” He bragged.

With the feeling of political and State House backing, Yassin Kargbo may be of the opinion that he can execute an illegal plan without suffering the consequences of his action. Last Friday around 4:PM a Caterpillar hired by the Acting Minister of Tourism Kadie Sesay and with the knowledge of the General Manager of the Tourist Board destroyed the permanent structure owned by Annie Metzegar that she has almost concluded on the other side of the Beach for the purpose of Entertainment and Skills Training for the less privilege.

She acquired the piece of land during the reign of the late ex-President Kabbah when she launched a Humanitarian Campaign in the United Kingdom on behalf of the displaced and less fortunate Sierra Leoneans who had suffered during the War. The items she collected from sympathizers and friends of Sierra Leone, she shipped back home. Her patriotic effort greatly impressed the late ex-president to grant her, her request; which was a piece land on the beach side to establish a Training Centre for Skills and Entertainment Complex.

Through the Ministry of Lands Country Planning and the Environment and Tourist Board she was able to acquire the piece of land on the beach on the directive of the late president, where she had built the structure of her choice, with the first floor already completed, leaving the top floor for future development.

For the past 13 years, Annie Metzegar has been paying her least rents, despite the slow pace in completing her development dream, but her effort as a young Sierra Leonean woman striving hard with plans to positively transformed the lives of her Compatriots has never been appreciated by both the political leaders of the Tourism Ministry and Board as they jointly pursue her to give up the piece of land irrespective of the Permanent structure on it for a Senegalese Businessman in Guinea who reportedly infiltrated officials of the two institutions and allegedly paid huge amount of money for the piece of land with a permanent structure already on it, owned by the Sierra Leonean woman.

In a bid to satisfy the demand of the Senegalese Businessman who has reportedly spent huge amount of money on officials of the two institutions, the Tourist Board instituted a legal action against Annie Metzegar to relinquish the land. The matter was presided over by Justice Showers at the High Court with the Tourist Board represented by the Law Officers Department while Annie Metzegar was represented by Lawyer Fornah Sesay. An official of the Tourist Ministry who advised against taking an illegal action has described it as wicked and malicious, coupled with abuse of political power. He explained that Kadie Sesay has an underline motive for the destruction and not in any way to promote tourism. How can you destroy a permanent structure under the guise of promoting tourism, when the directive to get rid of make-shift on the beach area and not on the other side. Several calls were reportedly made to Kadie Sesay by some of her Colleagues and very senior officials of Government, advising her to spare the building but because her ambition was to satisfy the demand of the Senegalese Businessman, she waved all advice with the back of the hand and claimed that she was in possession of a Court Order to bulldoze the building with a Caterpillar, which was not true (See next edition)

 

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