Accusations that government auctioneer Alhaji Unisa Alim Sesay (Awoko) has illegally auctioned and sold to himself a Buick Rendevouz jeep at the cost of Le 2 million, far below the actual cost of $ 65,000 has been categorically denied by him – Alhaji Unisa Alim Sesay.
Speaking in an exclusive interview Alhaji Unisa Alim Sesay said that he only works on the directives from the Sierra Leone Port Authority which reserves the power to identify and recommend to his office any property or goods including vehicles that had over stayed the stipulated time frame at the Quay.
The stipulated time to stay at the Quay he explained ranges between 30 to 60 days with an additional 3 weeks grace period.
Alhaji Unisa Alim Sesay acknowledged receipt of a letter the alleged owner of the car, Mr. Alhagie Sheriff wrote to him dated 11th November,2008 , from 5407 85th Avenue , Lanham MD USA, pleading with him to exercise patience with him for not adhering to the stipulated time for the clearance of the Buick Rendevouz jeep at the Quay in Freetown.
He was quoted to have attributed the delay in clearance to health reasons and the unreasonable judgement by his consignee. The letter also stated that he was out of town a week after the jeep arrived and besides, his consignee in question was in the process of clearing to complete his job when he learnt that the car has been put up for auction.
Awoko said the vehicle arrived on the 13th July 2008 together with two other vehicles in the same bill of lading, but the 2 cars were cleared on or about the last day of July, 2008 by one Mr. Ibrahim Kamara the consignee of Easton street whose name appeared in the gazette No.30 of the 9th, 16th and 23rd October 2008 leaving the Rendevouz jeep behind.
He further explained that Alhagie Sheriff Alghali wants to claim a vehicle after it has been sold on 24th October, 2008 some 101 days after the arrival of the vehicle(s), adding that the statutory time for goods to stay at the Quay is 30 days but on the discretion of the auctioneer committee and other stakeholders, the time was extended to 60 days plus three weeks for notice in the gazette.
Even though he admitted to a discussion between himself and Vice President Sam Sumana on the issue, the Government Auctioneer categorically denied any order from the VP urging him to handover the vehicle in question to Mr. Sheriff Alghali, adding that it is not a policy or practice of auctioneers to return goods after they have been sold to the public.
He therefore requested Mr. Alghali to direct any action regarding the sale of that vehicle to either the Sierra Leone Port Authority or Mersk Line Shipping Company.
As he put it, “the goods were not put out for auction by the auctioneer as alleged but by the Ministry of Finance.”
However, Mr.Alghali who believe that Alhaji Unisa Alim Sesay illegally auctioned and sold the vehicle to his step-son who is now driving it around town, has written an official letter of complaint to President Ernest Koroma for his intervention.
He also tendered a letter to this press from the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) indicating their interest in the matter but that they were investigating.
By Solomon Rogers