Ex-principal Lands and Valuation officer opens defence in Waa Juwara & Co trial

Friday, June 19, 2015
The former principal lands and Valuation officer at the Ministry of Local Government and Lands, Hamidou Jallow, yesterday commenced his defence testimony in the trial involving him and others before Principal Magistrate Modou MS Jallow of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.

The other accused persons are Lamin Waa Juwara, former Minister of Regional Administrations, Lands and Traditional Rulers, and Tamsir Onasis Conteh, a local businessperson.

Designated as defence witness two (DW2), Jallow told the court he is not working, but previously worked at the Ministry of Local Government and Lands for almost 20 years.

“I started working at the department of Surveys in 1985 as trainee surveyor and, sometime in 1988, I was deployed to the department of Lands.”

He rose through the ranks to become the principal lands and valuation officer.

As principal lands and valuation officer, his work included assignments and all other official work given to him by the director, he said.

“I was a valuation officer, apart from principal lands and valuation officer, and I also acted as director of lands when the overall director was on leave or out of the jurisdiction,” he told the court.

He said as principal lands and valuation officer, he also acted as permanent secretary technical at the Ministry of Lands and Local Government in 2011 when the PS was on holiday.

He said the role of the alkalolu was very crucial in land issues, because the alkalolu are the ones who are able to help or decide who own lands and all other agencies rely on the alkalolu for the title deeds and customary lands matters.

According to him, if the alkalo signed any document, the local government authority used to endorse the document based on the endorsement made by the alkalo.

He said the department of lands and survey and the department of physical planning’s mandate is the administration of lands.

These two line departments served as input and technical advisory bodies to the Ministry of Local Governments and lands, he told the court.

The case was adjourned to 23 and 24 June 2015.

Author: Bakary Samateh
Source: Picture: Lamin Waa Juwara