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NEWS : Local News  

PZ Under Attack in Sierra Leone
By Abdul Karim Kabia
Oct 21, 2008, 17:19
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The Central Business District of Freetown, PZ, was during the afternoon hours of Monday 20th October 2008 a scene of panic, pandemonium and abhorrence when members of the Freetown City Council Metropolitan Police stormed the area in a combatant manner, reminiscing a rebel invasion, to intimidate and manhandle Executive Members of the Drivers’ Union, who were on a peaceful protest in connection with a certain tax collection.

FCC’s Edmond Sesay: Boasting of powers

It all started when one Mr. Edmond Sesay of the Freetown City Council approached taxi drivers plying the Salad Ground route to honor payment of Le1000 of a certain ‘Freetown City Council Daily Park Dues’ to the annoyance of the drivers who accordingly informed the Executive of the Drivers’ Union.

On arrival at the scene, the Drivers Union Executive advised drivers not to honor any payment of such as they found certain flaws in this type of tax issued them.

Public Relations Officer of the union, Mr. Komboh Koroma told the Awareness Times that they are countering the move of the Freetown City Council due to the fact that it is not in consonance with the welfare and interest of the drivers.

"Drivers are subjected to numerous tax payments," he said, adding that they pay market entry taxes, vehicle license, drivers’ licenses, income taxes, road taxes for every gallon of fuel they buy and city council local tax.

He says it is really unfair on their part for an additional tax of this nature, while adding that drivers will not succumb to this type of extortion.

"They are saying this is a lorry park tax, but where are the lorry parks that the FCC has provided for drivers?" Mr. Koroma questioned, while adding that even the tax receipts are a cause for concern as they have no serial numbers neither do they have duplicates thus making it impossible for anyone to properly audit any funds thus collected.

"How do I know the cash will not end up in someone’s pocket?" he asked.

With the insistent of the union executive members that they will not pay the tax, FCC’s Edmond Sesay attempted to unlawfully disrupted the union drivers from paying their daily dues to their own Union Executives by physically blocking any taxi driver who tried to pay his union dues. This situation resulted in a heated argument that saw Edmond Sesay call for back-up from the Metropolitan Police who arrived in a bright red FCC ‘Poda Poda’ van with registration number ADU 233. After storming the entire PZ area, the Metro Policemen proceeded to indiscriminately kick, slap and brutalize members of the the drivers’ union as well as innocent passersby and observers.

A number of drivers’ union members where inhumanly dumped into the FCC van which then rudely drove off.

As at press time, all efforts to contact the Public Relations Officer of the Freetown City Council on his comium phone line proved futile.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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