Gambia Court of Appeal presided over by Justice Edrisa E.F. M’bai, Justice Omar
M.M. Njie and Justice Naa Ceesay Salla-Wadda has dismissed a civil suit filed
by Momodou Lamin Jarju alias Rongo and Lamin Jarju (his father) against the
acting Alkalo of Banjulinding village, Lungs Jarju.
In the lead judgment delivered recently by Justice Edrisa E.F. M’bai, The Gambia Court of Appeal ordered Rongo and his father; Lamin Jarju to pay the sum of D50.000 as cost to the acting Alkalo of Banjulinding village in West Coast Region.
The Gambia Court of Appeal declared that the sum of D200.00.00 awarded by the High Court against Rongo and his father as damages for trespass was justifiably awarded by the High Court taking into consideration the size of the suitland.
The Court of Appeal upheld the High Court decision that the community of Banjuliding are the collective owners of all the piece or parcel of land usurped by Rongo and his father; Lamin Jarju and accordingly dismissed their suit, noting that the appeal lacks merit.
The Court of Appeal declared that Lungs Jarju as the
acting Alkalo of Banjulinding has the legal capacity to institute action against Rongo and his father; Lamin Jarju.
The Court of Appeal also declared that Lungs Jarju was entitled to the judgment, noting that he has proven his claim beyond reasonable doubt that the community of Banjulinding village is the collective owners of the suitland usurped by Rongo and his father, Lamin Jarju.
The Court of Appeal upheld the High Court declaration that the community of Banjulinding village is the collective owner of suitland situated in Banjulinding measuring 376m by 80m by 312m by 46m by 122m by 100m by 182m by 108m by 197m by 50m by 213m by 161m.
According to the judgment, the facts of the case are that the suitland belongs to the community of Banjulinding and that it was the community that cleared the suitland at the time a proposal was made to build the Banjulinding Primary School there.
The judgment disclosed that the acting Alkalo, Lungs Jarju claimed that in the early 1980s when it was decided that Yundum Primary School should be relocated to New Yundum in order for the National Army to have its barracks at the site of the said school, the villagers of Banjulinding then organised a meeting and approached the late Landing Kotoring Janneh, the founder of Banjuling village and the first Alkalo of the village to have discussion with him about the possibility of establishing a primary school for the community of Banjulinding so that the children from the said community will not have to go all the way to New Yundum for schooling.
The judgment further disclosed that the acting Alkalo claimed that the late Alkalo and founder; Landing Kotoring Janneh approved the idea and ordered the people of Banjulinding to clear the vast land at the back of the village and declared it to be ‘reserved lands’ for the community of Banjulinding.
It also claimed that when Landing Kotoring Janneh passed away, his son Eric Tunde Janneh eventually succeeded him as the Alkalo of Banjulinding but when Eric was removed, he was succeeded by one Sheriffo Colley who became the Alkalo of Banjulinding and it was during the tenure of Sheriffo Colley that Rongo and his father colluded with the then Alkalo to partition parts of the “reserved lands” of Banjulinding and started selling or alternating parts of the suitland to the detriment of the community of Banjulinding.