NASSIT picks bone with Lands Ministry, Reszo Energy
September 29, 2017 By Alusine Sesay
The National Social Insurance Trust (NASSIT) says it has received with dismay the illegal demolition of their property situated at Government Wharf by Reszo Energy and Construction Company, purportedly on the instructions of the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment.
Addressing the press on Wednesday at their headquarters on Walpole Street in Freetown, Director General of NASSIT, Joseph Sedu Mans Jnr., said some unknown persons, with the supervision of the Sierra Leone Police, claiming to have received instructions from the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment stormed their property and carried out ‘illegal demolition exercise.’
“This caused serious disturbances, malicious and reputational damage as well as chaos at the height of preparation of payment of pensions, which is our core statutory mandate. This action led to stress and trauma for our members of staff stationed at the West Region Office,” he stressed.
The said property in question, according to the Director General, was a state grant to the Trust that was duly executed on June 15, 2005 between NASSIT and the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration.
“The title deed was duly registered at Volume 589, Page 13 in the Record Book of Conveyance kept in the Office of the Administrator and Registrar General at Walpole Street, Freetown,” he revealed.
He continued that the root of the said title emanates from a conveyance bearing the date 15th of August ,2003 between the then Minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Envirionment, Dr. Alfred Bobson Sesay and Sierra Leone Maritime Administration, to whom the said piece of land was conveyed.
Joseph Mans Jnr. narrated that the erstwhile Executive Director of the Maritime Administration had written to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, informing him about a cabinet conclusion in 2002 which approved the vesting of the said piece of land on the Maritime Administration.
“In the same letter, the Executive Director referred to the approval by the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice for part of that land to be vested to NASSIT for the construction of the Tejan Kabbah Pension Tower, and that the Board of the Maritime Administration had endorsed the allocation of the said land to the Trust,” he narrated.
He said the then Executive Director requested the Ministry of Lands ,Housing and Country Planning to send a team of government surveyors to survey the portion of land allocated to NASSIT to effect legal transfer, and that on the 10th of June, 2005 the survey plan was signed by the Ag. Director of Lands and Surveys.
Having been in possession of the said piece of land for almost twelve years without undue interference, according to him, Reszo Energy and Construction Company, which has lately laid claim over it, acted in cohort with the Ministry of Lands, and on 21st September, 2017 maliciously damaged the perimeter fence constructed to protect the said land.
“The Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment has unfairly treated NASSIT over the said piece and parcel of land, with the aim of robbing the institution of one of its assets, consequently depleting the reserves of the funds of the Trust,” he charged.
He expressed dismay as to why the Ministry of Lands, which had witnessed the legal conveyance of the said land, would act in cohort with a private company to rob NASSIT legal ownership.
“We were really baffled and completely taken aback as to why the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment under the guise of allocating state lands pursuant to the State Lands Act could allocate this parcel of land to Dr. Ishmail Kalokoh by granting him or his company building lease in 2015 to accommodate an office space of rest/cold room, knowing fully well that we have been in possession of the said land since 2005,” he queried.
“It may well appear that the demolition was carried out without the benefit of court order, since to the best of knowledge, no processes were initiated nor were any papers served on us, nor does the trespass bear the hallmark of a compulsory acquisition of the said property. This brings into serious questioning the modus operandi of the trespass and demolition order. The exercise of the demolition was carried out by servant, agents or assigns of Dr.Ishmail Kalokoh allegedly on the instructions of the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment with further instruction from the Inspector General of Police.”
The Trust, through its Lawyer, Michael Mammie, vowed to institute legal action against all those involved in the illegal demolition exercise.