Freetown City Council Officer, Inspector Bangalie Marrah, on Tuesday 14 January 2020, contravened the institution’s by-laws after he attacked a street trader named Zainab Sesay, and instantly confiscated her food by giving it to members of the public to eat. Marrah argued that he acted within the confines of their by-laws. He said their by-laws give them the power to confiscate food items when seized. On the other hand, Head of Crime, Freetown City Council, Inspector Mansaray, said FCC has the power to confiscate, but it shouldn’t be done instantly nor in the public domain. Mansaray said, “FCC has the power to arrest and prosecute, but not to instantly and publicly confiscate food stuffs and give it to the public for consumption.” Head of Metro, Freetown City Council, said Marrah has acted outside of the institution’s by-laws, but promised that they will find ways of resolving the issue with Sesay as soon as possible. He condemned the act and called for a speedy negotiation. Sesay said she took a micro credit loan to start her small business in order to upkeep her family and feed her children. Sesay looks forward to compensation from FCC. An eyewitness, Abu Bakarr Koroma, said Marrah chased Sesay, wrestled her to the ground and collected the food (cassava, fish and chicken) she was selling. Koroma said Marrah handed the food to some blokes who wasted no time to consume it. Alimamy, a newsvendor who also witnessed the scene, lamented, “The act done by the FCC officer is cruel. I know Marrah. He used to come to collect money from petty traders along Siaka Stevens Street at the end of each day. Those who could not pay, risked being arrested,” he said.
By Sulaiman Karim Sesay