Concord Times (Freetown)

19 October 2012

Sierra Leone: Lunsar Losing Millions in Taxes

Local authorities in Lunsar town in the Port Loko District say they are losing over Le2 million monthly because petty traders and market women are refusing to pay their taxes.

The traders are supposed to be paying between Le500 and Le1,000 a day as market dues but they had since stopped paying on the alleged orders of a senior official of the All People's Congress party. The official, Mr. Santigie Sesay (alias Santigie Shilling) is a resident of Lunsar and the local organising secretary of the APC.

When contacted by Radio Bankasoka, Mr. Sesay admitted that he had told the traders to stop paying market dues because he was not benefiting from the money.

However, Pa Umar Mansaray who has been contracted by the Port Loko District Office to collect market dues in the township, said the money is not for Mr. Sesay but for use by the local chiefdom administration. He said they use the money to pay cleaners and for renovation work in the market area. It is also used on small development projects in the chiefdom, he added.

Kadiatu Lunsar, a popular trader in the township, agreed that the dues previously collected had been used for the benefit of the chiefdom. She said there is too much filth in the market that could have been disposed of should people continue paying their dues.

She called on the district office to sort out the situation urgently.

The town chief of Lunsar, Alfred Ahmed Kamara, said Mr. Sesay is one of the elders of the township who should contribute to its development and not its retrogression.

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