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…Lands Minister Steals Conteh Family Land in Tokeh

Since assuming the role of Minister of Lands, Turad Senesie has taken pleasure in infringing upon the rights of Sierra Leoneans living abroad.

The Minister’s recent strategy involves using the guise of land reclamation to unfairly seize the property of Sierra Leoneans residing in the diaspora.

This has been a seamless process for the Minister, and one individual who has fallen victim to his unfair practices is Alpha Conteh, a Sierra Leonean residing in the United States.

In 2019, Alpha and his family acquired several acres of land in Tokeh Village. Prior to the purchase, the Conteh Family conducted thorough research to verify the legitimacy of the land and its ownership through the Ministry of Lands, who confirmed that the land was privately owned by the then Tokeh Headman, Alhaji Slowe.

All necessary documentation was scrutinized before the land transaction was finalized between Alhaji Slowe and the Conteh Family.

A year later, the Conteh Family was approached by a Ministry of Lands official, Mr. Noah, who informed Alpha Conteh that the land in question was actually state-owned, and even went as far as suggesting that he share half of the property to reach a compromise.

Alpha Conteh refused to comply with Mr. Noah’s demands, who then enlisted the help of his team from the Ministry, including the Minister, to dismantle the Conteh property’s perimeter fence, incurring significant costs. The Ministry unlawfully confiscated the land from the Conteh family and distributed it to various individuals, some of whom have begun constructing structures on the land.

In a conversation with Alpha Conteh, a claimant and Sierra Leonean residing in the United States, he recounted the events surrounding his land purchase in 2019, including the encounter with a Ministry of Lands representative a year later, up to the most recent developments.

Upon learning that his land was considered state-owned, Alpha promptly traveled to Sierra Leone to address the issue and presented his documents to dispel any doubts.

Despite submitting his land documents for review to the Minister upon his arrival in Sierra Leone, Alpha was met with refusal and was bluntly informed that “all lands in Sierra Leone are state-owned unless specifically granted by the government.”

Following this unsuccessful effort, the Minister seized the Conteh family’s land and allocated it to certain individuals, suspected of paying substantial sums for the property.

Recently, this publication conducted an investigation to inquire about the current status of the disputed land, after multiple unsuccessful attempts to contact the Minister regarding the matter under scrutiny. It has become evident that the Minister distributed the land to various individuals, believed to have close ties to those in power. The beneficiaries include high-ranking police officers and influential figures within the government, thereby depriving the Conteh family of their rightful property.

These beneficiaries are now constructing permanent structures on the land, as evidenced by images of various building projects and materials being transported to the sites.

The Conteh family has taken legal action by bringing the matter to court to challenge the Minister of Lands’ decision, and prospective buyers of the Conteh family land are advised to exercise caution.

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