Rongo and father ordered to pay D200,000 as damages

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Justice Simeon Ateh Abi of the Mansakonko High Court has ordered Momodou Lamin Jarju alias Rongo, and his father, Lamin Jarju, to pay the sum of D200,000 as damages for trespass to Momodou Lungs Jarju, the acting Alkalo of Banjulinding village and the community of Banjulinding.

The presiding judge made this declaration in a judgment he delivered recently (21 July 2016)  in a civil suit filed by the acting Alkalo against Rongo and his father.

The judge declared the suit is in connection with the actual ownership of reserve land situated in Banjulinding, in which Rongo claimed that the said suit land belongs to his father, Lamin Jarju, whereas the acting Alkalo claimed that the suit land is reserved land for the community of Banjulinding village.

The judge said the parties filed their claims and counterclaims, and the pre-trial conference commenced in which various applications were made and additional documents and witness statements were filed.

He held that from the analysis of the evidence before the court, the suit land was the reserve land set aside by Landing Kotoring Janneh, first Alkalo of Banjulinding, and thus belongs to the community of Banjulinding and not to Rongo and his father.

Justice Abi added that Rongo and his father presented false documents for the purpose of obtaining a lease over the suit land.

The judge further stated that the counterclaim of Rongo and his father in respect of the same parcel of land, was not satisfactorily proved based on the preponderance of evidence.

Justice Simeon Ateh Abi also declared that the community of Banjulinding village are collective owners of the pieces of land reserved for the community of Banjulinding.

He declared that all the documents of title prerpared by the minister of Local Government and Lands, or any lease in Rongo and his father’s name in respect of the aforesaid land, is null and void and of no legal effect, being based on false documents.

He issued an injunction restraining Rongo and his father, their agents, servants and all those claiming title through them from interfering with the suit land by building on the land, from entering or remaining therein or alienating the pieces of land.

Justice Abi further ordered that the minister of Local Government and Lands cancel any lease in the name of Rongo and his father relating to the suit land.

He dismissed the counterclaim filed by Rongo and his father, and ordered that they pay the sum of D200,000 as damages for trespass to the acting Alkalo of Banjulinding and cost of D50,000.

It would be recalled that Rongo was sentenced to serve one year imprisonment after he was convicted by the Brikama Magistrates’ Court on 20 July 2015, for making of false land ownership documents and uttering false land document.

Author: Bruce Asemota