For surreptitiously trying to convert lease to freehold..

Govt to reclaim Solar Hotel Land from Hisham Mackie

The Government of Sierra Leone, through the Ministry of Lands and Country Planning, is poised to reclaim the 13 acre land housing the Solar Hotel at Aberdeen and all state lands within the municipality of Freetown, as well as those outside the western area. This action is being necessitated by intelligence that some of the leaseholders are trying to convert government lands given to them on lease to freehold.

Times SL was reliably informed that decision has already been taken by government to ensure that all state lands leased for certain purposes, and for which the lease agreements have been flouted, are to be reclaimed and handed back to government.

The 13 acre land housing Solar Hotel at Aberdeen was leased to Hisham Mackie for $10,000 (Ten thousand United States dollars). The land in question, according to our investigation, was leased to the Lebanese business tycoon as part of an agreement to develop, rehabilitate and renovate the structures. It is understood that since the lease agreement was for twenty one years, Hisham Mackie has failed to develop the land and is allegedly trying to convert it to freehold.

Our investigation further revealed that the Lebanese business tycoon is planning to sell the entire 13 acre for $20 million (Twenty million dollars), and this has been brought to the attention of the Bio Government, who is left with no option than to reclaim the entire land, on the grounds that it was only leased to Hisham Mackie for twenty one years and that the said term has expired, also that Mackie has no right whatsoever to put the land on an outright sale.

Times SL alongside other two journalists contacted Hisham Mackie to get his own side, but he told us that he is presently out of the country and promised to get back to us and give his own side of the story.

It could be recalled that the Ministry of Lands, early July this year, put out a public notice in respect of the said land, expressing that the land in question is a state land, and that government is on the verge of reclaiming all state lands, whose agreements have been flouted.

The government’s plan to reclaim all state land is not only limited to that of the land housing Solar Hotel, but will be extended to other areas.

A source from the Lands Ministry confided in The Times SL that some areas at the Kissy dockyard, which are known to be state lands, and are now being claimed by people, will be reclaimed. The land housing the Kissy Industry that is producing oil and other products, leased to another Lebanese businessman, Jamal Shallop, is also under the radar of the government. It was also revealed that Shankerdas and other top Lebanese and Indian business people, who have been occupying state land leased to them for some specific purposes by the government, and are believed to have converted same to freehold, are among those to be investigated soon.

In an interview with Mohamed Ayyoub, he stated that information given to journalists about the Solar Hotel land is not true. He added that the land in question was not government property, but that of a public limited liability company, adding that, it has nothing to do with Hisham Mackie. ‘‘I want you to know that Solar Hotel was owned by different people, and it is the owners who have decided to sell same. Hisham Mackie is not the one that bought the Solar Hotel. Solar Hotel is a company and was bought by shareholders, so for those trying to say that the land was leased, is not true’’Ayyoub  said.

On the side of the Ministry of lands, their focus is to go after all government properties. A senior official at the ministry told journalists that they intend to reclaim all state lands that were given to people in the form of lease, and those who have tried or are trying to convert them, should know that they are doing so at their own detriment.

See more details in out next edition.

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