S. Wadda Cisse of the Banjul High Court has ordered the immediate opening of a
shop belonging to one Egbuchere Collins Uche at Serekunda market in the
Kanifing Municipality which was recently closed by the Sheriff of The Gambia.
Justice S.W. Cisse order came following her ruling in an application filed by Egbuchere Collins Uche whose shop at Serekunda Market had been locked and sealed by the Sheriff of The Gambia on 3rd April, 2018.
The trial judge stated that Egbuchere Collins Uche instituted proceedings against Kojo Frank Owusu before the Kanifing Magistrates Court claiming the recovery of 6,272.00 Euros equivalent to D332,416.00 being amount owed to him by the defendant for a contract which failed.
She disclosed that the then Magistrate Abeke on the 29th of June 2017 delivered judgment in favour of Egbuchere Collins Uche and granted the reliefs sought, including the sum of D150,000 damages.
Justice S.W. Cisse further disclosed that the defendant (Kojo Frank Owusu) filed an application for certiorari in the High Court to quash the judgment of the Kanifing Magistrates Court.
Justice W. Cisse noted that on 7th December 2017 Justice Oledi Uduma dismissed the application for certiorari and ordered that the Registrar of the High Court release to Egbuchere Uche Collins the sum of 6,272 Euros or its equivalent which is D332,416.00 being the judgment sum deposited with the Registrar of the High Court.
The trial judge pointed out that Kojo Frank Owusu was the subject of contempt of court proceedings pursuant to suit no: KMC/CS/127/17 and that the suit number was different from the civil suit number between Egbuchere Collins Uche and Kojo Frank Owusu before the Kanifing Magistrates Court.
Continuing the ruling, the trial Judge said that Kojo Frank Owusu pursuant to the judgment of the Kanifing Magistrates Court delivered on 29th September 2017 following a contempt of court proceedings, filed an application for certiorari for the purpose of quashing the said judgment/decision.
She stated that the parties in that suit were Kojo Frank Owusu as Applicant and the Registrar of the Kanifing Magistrates Court and the Attorney General.
The trial judge held that it was apparent on the face of the application for certiorari that Egbuchere Collins Uche was not a party and that it was clear that Egbuchere Collins Uche’s application was made pursuant to the decision of the court delivered on 28th March 2018 in suit no: HC/380/17/MF/092/CO, and that according to that ruling, the decision of the Kanifing Magistrates Court dated 29th of September 2017 and the orders made therein were set aside.
She emphasised that the decision did not in any way set aside the judgment of the Kanifing Magistrates Court delivered on the 29th of June 2017, and that the said judgment was still subsisting to the ruling delivered by Justice Uduma on the 7th of December 2017 which effectively upheld the said judgment.
Justice S. Wadda Cisse averred that the judgment delivered on the 28th of March 2018 was clearly directed to the Registrar of the High Court for compliance in respect of the D500,000 fine paid by Kojo Frank Owusu bearing in mind that the judgment of 29th of June 2017 was still subsisting.
Justice S. Wadda Cisse then held that she was of the considered view that lawyer L.K. Mboge who represented the 1st respondent in all the proceedings highlighted knew very well that Egbuchere Collins Uche was not a party to the proceedings in suit no: HC/380/27/CR/092/CO and that the execution of the ruling delivered on 28th of March 2018 against him was a deliberate act of an abuse of the court’s process.
Justice S. Wadda Cisse stated that she will not hesitate to state that both lawyer L.K. Mboge and Kojo Frank Owusu acted mala fide and that it was not an honest mistake on the part of counsel but a deliberate, calculated, intentional and malicious infringement upon the right of an innocent person, who was not a party in the proceedings.
Justice S. Wadda Cisse advised that a lawyer is first and foremost an officer of the court and his duty to the court is very fundamental and overrides his duty to his clients.
She stated that counsel has an overriding duty not to mislead the court and should not act on client’s instructions which he knows are untrue thereby impeding the administration of justice and bringing the judiciary into disrepute.
She stated that the conduct of lawyer L.K. Mboge constitutes gross violation of basic standards of professional conduct, honesty and ethics.
Justice S. Wadda Cisse ordered that the orders made by Justice E. Jaiteh on 3rd April 2018 are set aside and the writ of fife issued in respect thereof hereby discharged.
She further ordered that the order of attachment of property against Egbuchere Collins Uche is discharged and the property be released forthwith.
It will be recalled that on 3rd of April 2018, the shop of Egbuchere Collins Uche in Serekunda market where he sells recondition fridges, freezers, welding machines, sewing machines and other sundry second hand goods was locked and sealed by officers of the Sheriff’s department acting under the order of Justice Ebrima Jaiteh which has now been set aside by Hon. Justice S. Wadda Cisse.
Egbuchere Collins Uche then filed an inter-pleader summons before the High Court seeking the opening of his shop and the release of his seized goods.