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Tokeh Land Corruption, others…

President Bio appears to be ignoring the misconduct of, or perhaps even indulging, the Minister of Lands, Turad Senesie, who has been engaging in unjust practices such as taking from one to give to another. Whenever the Minister of Lands exercises his considerable authority to seize the rightful property of law-abiding citizens, one cannot help but question the motives behind his actions. Who is influencing the Minister in such instances? Has the President or individuals associated with him and/or members of the SLPP party played a role in the Minister’s decisions? These are the pressing inquiries on the minds of many.

Frequently, the Minister’s actions are influenced by powerful figures, or he acts of his own accord in pursuit of personal gain. Like Denis Sandy, Turad Senesie has been involved in unlawfully seizing the legitimate properties of numerous individuals, either for his own enrichment or to curry favor with his superiors and influencers. Turad’s relentless pursuit of land reclamation is evident in his consistent targeting of individuals, particularly those with whom he shares no familial, social, or political ties. He finds comfort in such actions.

Most recently, Turad employed his land reclamation strategies to exploit the properties of Sierra Leonean citizens living abroad, including Alpha Conteh, a resident of the United States of America. In 2019, Alpha and his family acquired acres of land in Tokeh Village through Alhaji Slowe, the former Tokeh Headman. Prior to finalizing the land transaction, Alpha conducted due diligence on the property’s status and ownership at the Ministry of Lands. The Ministry confirmed that the land belonged to Alhaji Slowe and was privately owned.

All documentation was verified before the land deal was completed between Alhaji Slowe and the Conteh Family. A year later, a Ministry of Lands official, Mr. Noah, approached the Conteh Family and asserted that the land was state-owned, proposing that Alpha Conteh share half of the property with him to reach a compromise. Alpha Conteh refused to comply with Mr. Noah’s demands, prompting Mr. Noah to involve the Ministry’s team, including the Minister, in demolishing the Conteh property’s perimeter fence, incurring substantial costs. The Ministry seized the land from the Conteh family and distributed it among various individuals, some of whom have already begun constructing structures on the land. Unverified reports suggest that the beneficiaries of the Tokeh land are closely connected to the First Family.

In an interview with the press, Alpha Conteh, the claimant of the land and a Sierra Leonean residing in the United States, detailed the events surrounding his land purchase in 2019, the encounter with a Ministry of Lands official a year later, and the subsequent developments. Alpha explained that everything proceeded smoothly initially, until rumors surfaced claiming that the land was state-owned.

Upon hearing these rumors, Alpha promptly traveled to Sierra Leone to address the situation and presented his documentation to dispel any doubts. Initially approached by Mr. Noah from the Ministry of Lands, who suggested a compromise to Alpha, Alpha declined the offer. He then met with the Minister of Lands to provide evidence of his land ownership, but the Minister dismissed his claims, stating that “all lands in Sierra Leone are state-owned unless specifically granted by the government.” Following this failed attempt, the Minister reclaimed the Conteh family’s land and distributed it to individuals suspected of offering substantial sums for ownership.

Recently, an investigation by the press sought to verify the status of the land in question. Despite multiple attempts to reach the Minister for comment on the ongoing investigation, it became evident that the Minister had distributed the land to several individuals with alleged connections to those in power. The land was allocated to senior police officers and influential figures within the government, thereby depriving the Conteh family of their rightful property.

The new beneficiaries are erecting permanent structures on the land, with photographic evidence showing various construction projects and materials being transported to the sites. The Conteh family has taken their case to court to challenge the Lands Minister’s decision, and prospective buyers of the Conteh family land are advised to exercise caution.

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