Friday, January 25, 2008
Following our editorial piece, captioned: 'Urgent - KMC please explain!', the office of Information and Public Relations at the KMC has done exactly that.
Speaking to the Daily Observer, Pa Kalipha Sanyang, the public relations officer at the KMC, confirmed that they had indeed asked the vendors out, but, he said, the council was acting on a request forwarded by the 'legal owner' of the said property, one Muhammed Sillah.
Sanyang disclosed that Sillah, through his solicitor, had sent them a letter, requesting free access to his property, a copy of which letter was made available to the Daily Observer. According to this correspondence, and contrary to the claim put forward by the affected vendors, the estate in question had belonged to the family of the late Abdoulie A. N'jie (A.A. N'jie). The late N'jie was said to have been issued the said leasehold property by a minister of Local Government and Lands.
"Consent for the sale to my client", the letter went on, "was given by the SoS for Local Government and Lands. The Deed of Assignment for the sale was dated 4th September, 2001, and bears serial registration No. 437/2001 Vol. 64KD."
Accordingly, Sillah is said to have bought this piece of land from the family of the late A. A. N'jie.
Asked why it was KMC and not the said owner who had to remove the vendors from the land, Mr Sanyang said that it was the council that had allowed the market women to use the land since KMC-owned space could not accommodate them all. He stressed that the "council had never owned that disputed part of the Serekunda car-park", and that they have made this quite clear to the women from the beginning.
He said that he, himself, and the municipal police commander, as well as the director of planning and development at the council, had gone to the market to meet with the women. He asserted that Arra Jatta, the lady president of theCC, had tacitly assented to their proposal, and that she had even offered to forfeit some of her stalls to accommodate her affected colleagues. This, he believed, suggested that Madam Jatta understood the genuineness of the request.
"It was only out of sympathy that we had allowed them to use the place in the first place," he posited.