Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 October 2020:
Just when she thought it was safe and the right decision to return home to Sierra Leone to invest her hard earned cash in her country of birth, Mrs Annie Metzger has witnessed all her hard work and investments gone up in smoke, as armed thugs working for a Guinean Company in Sierra Leone – Guicopres, with the support of corrupt public officials, bulldozed her entire property situated at Lumley Beach, Aberdeen.
Speaking to the Sierra Leone Telegraph, Mrs Annie Metzger said that her nightmare began after the APC government of Ernest Bai Koroma came to power in 2007, at which time the construction of her Youth Training Centre for the rehabilitation of thousands of youths affected by the rebel war was progressing well, on a four acre land donated to her by the former president – Alhaji Tejan Kabba for humanitarian and community development purpose.
And after investing over a hundred thousand dollars on construction work, came news from government officials in the Ministry of Tourism, threatening to remove Mrs Annie Metzger from the land, all because a wealthy and well connected Guinean businessman had expressed an interest in the land.
Then came the bulldozers. Mrs Annie Metzger told the Sierra Leone Telegraph yesterday, that her unfinished Youth Training Centre construction project was demolished by thugs working for the Guinean business Tycoon – Kelfala P Kamara (Photo), who then unlawfully took over the land with the support and backing of Tourism Ministry officials.
Mrs Annie Metzger took the matter to the High Court of Sierra Leone, where a Judge imposed an injunction which ought to have prevented the Guinean tycoon from taking any further action on the land.
But since that court injunction, the Guineans have moved in again and have started construction work on the land, without waiting for their appeal to be heard in the Appeal Court.
Such is the nature of justice in Sierra Leone – which can be easily bought by the highest bidder and in favour of the politically connected.
Mrs Annie Metzger, who it seems is fighting a losing battle against a powerful and politically connected Guinea business tycoon, is not only facing ruin, but early this year lost her son – a final year student at the University of Sierra Leone who sadly passed away after a short illness.
Does the Bio-led government care about the plight of Mrs Annie Metzger, justice, corruption, and protecting the investments of hard working Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora?
For a government that speaks about encouraging foreign investors and especially Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora to return home to invest and create jobs, as well as improve the well-being of people in deprived communities, it beggars belief that despite writing a letter personally to President Julius Maada Bio requesting his intervention, Mrs Annie Metzger has had no response nor justice.
This is an Open Letter written to President Bio by Mrs Annie Metzger, published in the local media on July 27, 2018. Will President Bio now take action to ensure that justice is dispensed fairly?
Plot No: BP57-BP60
Referencing the above, I write to draw your kind attention to a long standing matter between the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and the National Tourist Board on one hand and my humble self, Miss Annie Metzger on the other hand, over a beach land at Aberdeen that was offered to me in 2001 by the government of former President Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah (RIP).
Before going any further Sir, let me seize this singular opportunity to heartily congratulate you on your elevation to the highest office of the land and wish you the very best as you move towards taking our beloved country into a new direction. PAOPA, Salone for Betteh.
Back to the land issue Sir, your predecessor mentioned above, graciously offered me the land in question through the National Tourist Board in recognition of my marked humanitarian service rendered to people who are badly affected by the decade-long bloody civil war when it was at its peak at the time.
In appreciation, I assured him that the land would be used to positively impact the lives of thousands of young people yearning for empowerment in diverse ways so as to become useful citizens in the immediate future.
My determination was to construct a multi-purpose youth center with ultra-modern facilities and equipment necessary for achieving the set objectives.
The building was halfway through in 2014 when a Guinean based road construction company called Guicopres in concert with the National Tourist Board and backed up by hired thugs and armed police personnel, illegally brought it down without a court order, claiming that they are the new owners of the said plot of land, after I have paid all my yearly lease fees from 2002 to 2014.
Giving my determination, I started the building all over again and was almost on completion stage when the then acting Minister of the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Madam Kadie O. Sesay together with the out gone Director of the National Tourist Board Mr. Yassin Kargbo, the current Director of Tourism at the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Mr. Mohamed Jalloh and the now Acting Director of the National Tourist Board, Madam Fatmata Ade-Osagie, during the infamous Aberdeen Creek demolition which had nothing to do with the beach land area, took bulldozers to my site and maliciously demolished my structure in August 2015, again without any court order.
That happened at a time when I was in court with the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and the National Tourist Board over the possession of the land and when the court was yet to deliver a ruling in respect of the matter.
For the first time, I took the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and National Tourist Board to court for contempt, and as God would have it, judgment was delivered in my favor with a stiff order for the restoration of my building to how it was.
What this means is that it is my legally demolished building that is in contest and not the land on which it was been built. Please see attached the High Court ruling in question.
Your Excellency Sir, Please take note that till date, that court order has not been enforced due to political manipulations championed by elements of the former government who as a matter of fact took so much money from the Guinean company and thought they can bully me and get away with it.
Guicopres personnel were using red attires to intimidate me and even boasted of their ability to penetrate any government in an event that the APC loses the election.
Apart from the court order not being enforced, I have been denied due access to the plot of land, whilst Guicopres under the cover of the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, the National Tourist Board and the Sierra Leone Police has been forcing its way into the site and have criminally graded the land and erected a zinc fence and a security post whilst the matter is still in court. To vividly show their alliance with the then government, they used pure red zinc in the construction of the illegal fence at my site. The red fence is there for all to see.
Since the illegal demolition of my project, I’ve been in so much distress and this has cost me direly in financial and emotional terms. I have even separated with my American partner who helped fund the building project as a result because I was spending more time in this country trying to fulfil my dream for the youths of Sierra Leone at a time when my husband needed me most in the US to help with his already established businesses out there.
My greatest stress right now is having to deal with the membership of the group I established called ‘Empower the Youth – Sierra Leone’ numbering over 500 from various universities, senior secondary schools and tertiary institutions across the country. These are young people in utmost need of mentoring and positive social exposure as they prepare for national service after completing their studies.
Coincidentally, I have four of your nieces and one nephew in my group. They are: Phebean Kamara (Fourah Bay College), Lettie Bio (Just sat WASSCE at the Saint Helena Secondary School), Gloria Bio (Just sat WASSCE at the Saint Helena Secondary School), Janet Kamakuma (Government Municipal Secondary School) and Benedict George (Fourah Bay College).
As a matter of fact Sir, Guicopres knowing full well that the land in question duly belongs to me, made an unsolicited offer of Three Hundred Million Leones to me as compensation to allow them take over the land.
I wasted no time in rejecting their offer because I have no intention of abandoning my vision for the youths and besides the amount offered fall far short of what I have already spent in flying in and out of the country and constructing the structures that were arbitrarily demolished, not to talk about my solicitor fees and all the emotional pains and life threats I have endured including been violently thrown to the ground, handcuffed and locked up in cell several times by the police working in the best interest of the foreign company.
The latest is that Guicopres with whom I have no business insofar as the land is concerned, recently sued me to court claiming that I have been a hindrance to the construction of a sky scrapper hotel facility and as a result has ran into a huge financial loss. Their appeal to the court is that I should refund all their losses that run into several thousands of dollars and also for the judge to rule in their favour for them to completely kick me out so that they can gain full access to the site to start their sky scrapper.
Rather surprisingly and without even hearing my own side of the story, the Ministry of Tourism under the current Minister Madam Memunatu Pratt in whom I had so much faith to amicably resolve the matter, has filed in an affidavit in support of Guicopres against me in court.
What has come out clearly is that the presiding judge, Justice Kekura Bangura a known partisan, has already demonstrated one-sidedness in the trial and on two occasions openly intimidated me in court and even asked me out during the last court hearing saying he doesn’t even want to see me. Sir, how can I have justice before such a biased and heavily induced judge?
It is in view of this and taking into consideration your pledge to move the country into a new direction wherein the youth population would be prioritized as a critical human resource base, that I have deemed it fit to request your kind intervention.
It is worthy to note that in all of these, the recently verified list of all legal land owners at the Lumley Beach bear my name. The verification was done as recent as two months ago and I duly appended my signature on the document that was administered by two officials of the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, whose names I have for further reference. How come the same ministry has now filed in an affidavit in favor of Guicopres whose name was not on that final verified list as at the time I signed it as the legally entitled owner? It’s nothing but outright corruption that needs to be investigated.
Another issue of keen concern is the fact that the original BP Number contained in all relevant documents and correspondences relating to the land has been fraudulently altered (from the original land plot No. BP57-BP60 to BP59-BP60 and also from BP57-BP60 to BP68-BP69 respectively). For instance, the court papers filed by both the Ministry of Tourism and the National Tourist Board and Guicopres carry different incorrect BP Numbers, and obviously, tampering with an official document is an act of corruption.
This same corruption has paved the way for the APC timber magnate Patrick Koroma to encroach on my land and at the same time joined in the fight with Guicopres, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and the National Tourist Board, to kick me out of my legally assigned land.
Sir, Mr. Koroma happens to have bought the land next to mine for the whooping sum of $250,000 (Freehold) from one Akmed Mansaray, who used the influence of Patrick Koroma to kick out the original owners of the land (Beach Apple and Mr. Kakay) in connivance with the National Tourist Board and the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. In the first place Sir, a beach land is not supposed to be sold. This again is an outright corruption.
Your Excellency Sir, let me close by reiterating that this matter has dragged for far too long and continues to drag with no end in sight, and giving that the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs has chosen to rather unduly act against me in favour of the Guinean company, I can only now count on your intervention.
Let me further state that it is my right as a Sierra Leonean and the future of our youths that I have been fighting for all these years and have even abandoned my lucrative job in the UK to access legal redress through your fine office Sir..
Thanks in advance for your kind intervention and best wishes in your tenure as our beloved president.
Miss Annie Metzger AKA Annie Mezo, Chief Executive Officer: Empower the Youths-SL /Inter-Mezo Promotions-SL/UK – Assigned owner of Plot No: BP57-BP60, Aberdeen-Lumley Beach, Freetown, Sierra Leone.