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Human Rights Defenders Network Sues Government Over Toll Road

Since the signing of the agreement to the commencement and collection of tolls, the Wellington-Masiaka toll road project has been smeared with controversy.
The most recent is a lawsuit, which executive member of the Human Rights Defenders Network (HRDN) Falla Ensa-N’dayma is about to launch against the government.
Falla explained, “What we have done is to contract lawyers to take the government to court in regard to the toll road. In fact, it is not actually a toll road it is a toll tax. It restricts the fundamental rights granted in our Constitution – the freedom of movement of the people of this country.”
“Secondly,” he said, “I have seen the contract. It’s very clear. It states that after the China Railway Seventh Group shall have completed 10 kilometers of the road then they can begin to collect the toll.”
“They have not completed the 10 kilometers [because] the 10 kilometers ends at Yams Farm and there is the bridge, which they’ve not yet touched and therefore they have no right to collect any tolls.”
He added, “They are collecting tolls on a road which they have not made, so they are collecting tolls on our own road, which our government made. I’m not even sure if we’ve paid the debt for that so we cannot pay tolls to them,” he said.
“These are some of the things that actually culminated in the war. What we are going to do is to demystify these things. We are going to court because this is a country of rule of law. We would go to court and at least tell government this is not correct at all,” he said
“What we suspect is …. these people took the amount of money they are saying $162 million to come and do just 47 miles of a road. People are being enslaved by the toll road to say the least.”
However, Falla said by the end of the year, we will have dragged the government to court. A legal practitioner who prefers anonymity, assured the group of pro bono legal services in their legal pursuit.
Lawyer Abdul Karim Koroma also explained that the toll road had certainly restricted movement. He noted that people used to go and get locally brewed palm wine every weekend. They are now restricted as a result of the extra cost levied by the toll.

By Ophaniel Gooding
Wednesday October 18, 2017.

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