From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Lumley Police Accused of Aiding Alleged Fraudster
By Aruna Turay
Mar 20, 2009, 14:23

Residents of Lumley, especially those affected by the activities of criminals, have pointed accusing fingers at the Lumley Police Division in the area, accusing the personnel there of aiding and abetting the nefarious activities of an alleged Lebanese fraudster active in the general area.

The pointing of fingers came after the release of Lebanese national, Hilal Arouni of No. 13 Juba Hill in Freetown, who was earlier nabbed by residents on Tuesday 3rd March 2009, on multiple allegations relating to fraud.

The alleged fraudster was apprehended and matched to the Lumley Police Station for interrogation.

Allegedly, the Lebanese national deals with fake United States Dollars, which he often use to purchase commodities from shops.

According to one of the victims, Raliatu Charley, she left her shop steward, Haja Ruth Conteh, in charge of her business at Regent Road in Lumley, when the alleged fraudster appeared with a $100 note to buy two bags of rice. Accordingly, the transaction went on successfully, and the required balance given to him after the dollar note had been changed into leones.

"As if that was not enough, Hilal returned to the shop after a while to change $.200, knowing fully well that I usually buy dollars from people", she noted. All these transactions, Madam Raliatu Charlie said, happened in her absence.

She however maintained that upon her return she discovered that the $300 notes bought by her shop steward from Hilal were fake, and immediately reported the matter at the Malama Sheriff Drive Police Post.

After a few weeks, Hilal reportedly made another visit at the shop, asking for $200 change. This time round, she said her younger brother, Mohamed Thoronka, was the one manning the shop. Again, the transaction went on successfully, although it was later discovered that the $200 notes changed were fake.

The alleged fraudster however ran out of luck on 3rd March 2009, when he materialized at the shop again to change some dollar notes, but this time round met Madam Raliatu Charlie, the owner of the shop.

He is reported to have left the scene onboard his vehicle as soon as alarm was raised, and had to be chased by some okada bike riders who later captured him along the Lumley Roundabout, where he was held up in a traffic holdup.

According to Madam Raliatu Charlie, Hilal was eventually taken to the Lumley Police Division, where statements and exhibits were collected from her. She expressed regrets that the suspect was later released without the matter being charged to court.

Speaking to the Deputy Crime Office at the Lumley Police Division, Mohamed Amara, the matter calls for an in-depth investigation to ascertain whether the dollar notes tendered in evidence are actually fake.

He went on to explain that the dollar notes have been tendered to the Governor General of the Bank of Sierra Leone, to ascertain the validity or falsity of the notes.

According to him, the outcome of the investigations will hinge to a large extent on the findings of the bank, adding that the suspect, Hilal Arouni, was released on police bail, pending further investigations.

Other alleged victims of Hilalís dubious dollar deals are Ben Abdul Sillah and Mohamed Jalloh, both of whom are said to have been duped $100


Hilal Arouni was unavailable for comments as at time of going to press, but the Awareness Times stands willing to publish his own side of the story whenever it is available.

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