By Ibrahim Kamara
The Lumley Welfare Union (LWU) has accused Councilor Mrs. Mary Harding of ward 393 in Lumley of behaving corruptly and dishonestly.
According to a letter sent to the acting Mayor of Freetown Municipality, Gibril Kanu with copies sent to President Ernest Bai Koroma, the Minister of Local Government, the LUC Lumley Police Station and other parties, the LWU stated that before the existence of the market at Goderich Road in Lumley, the Lumley Community had a union called the Lumley Welfare Union (LWU).
The letter went on to state that this Union was in many ways promoting the general welfare of Lumley residents, through subscriptions by its members.
According to the letter, the two-storey building which stands in front of the present market was constructed by the Union from subscriptions made by its members, on a piece of land bought from three families; the Jacksons, the Palmers and the Lewis.
On completion of the building, Chief Goldstone Jackson, a member of the Union, was put in charge to oversee all activities on the premises which included the letting of stores and other facilities. He was also assigned to collect all dues on behalf of the LWU. Chief Goldstone however, fell ill a few years after which resulted in the reduction of dues but that this situation did not relinquish ownership of the structure built by the LWU.
The newly-constructed community centre was built for the community by the NCRRR on 1.6 acres of land owned by the LWU since 1948 (there are supporting documents to this claim, according to the LWU acting Chairman Bankole John).
However, the structure which was built about five years ago and equipped with modern facilities including chairs, tables and benches has been vandalized.
The LWU according to the letter in our possession has observed that Councilor Mary Harding of ward 393 has been collecting money from the centre on behalf of the Freetown City Council without accounting to members of the LWU.
â€œIt may surprise your Worship to know that the above mentioned 1.6 acres land; on which the community centre stands, has been partly leased by Councilor Mary Harding, collecting dues all in the name of Freetown City Council,â€ the letter stated.
In addition to the above, the two storey building in front of the market on Goderich Road Lumley (property of LWU) has been converted by the said Councilor into stores, from which she is collecting rent/dues from traders on behalf of Freetown City Council, an act which the LWU considers inimical to the Councilorâ€™s interest.
The LWU letter stated further that the Union has proposals for improving the building for the benefit of the community, especially for the marketing community. The letter stated also that the Union has been demanding the keys to this building from Councilor Mary Harding; who according to LWU members has persistently refused to hand the keys over to them. â€œOur last effort was to ask for the kind intervention of the Local Unit Commander (LUC) of Lumley Police, but that councilor Mary Harding refused to honour the Police invitation,â€ the letter stated.
Writing to the acting Mayor, the LWU stated that: â€œIn light of these blatant refusals by Councilor Mary Harding to hand over the keys, the LWU is soliciting your intervention so that these properties she has illegally entered upon would be returned to the legitimate owners immediately.â€
The letter added that they rely on the acting mayor of Freetown Municipality to take prompt action in this matter.