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Gambia Groundnut Corporation wins civil suit

Jul 1, 2011, 11:37 AM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

A lower court in Banjul recently delivered judgment in favor of the Gambia Groundnut Corporation (GGC) against Momodou B.A.L. Jallow and Prime Insurance Company (defendants) for the settlement of D123,187.60 being the money owed to the plaintiff by the defendants.

The GGC also claimed, among others, damages for breach of contract, interest and any costs.

Delivering his marathon judgment, Magistrate Lamin Mbaye Snr. of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court ordered that the plaintiff immediately reconcile with both the 1st and 2nd defendants within 21 days of the judgment to ascertain the total amount of money owed to the plaintiff, which amount should be paid to the plaintiff.

“If any amount has been paid in respect of the claim by the defendant, such amount should be calculated and deducted from the Judgment sum,” he added.

 Damages for breach of contract, to do justice in this case, “I would rely strongly and adopt the position of the Court of Appeal of Gambia in the case of Singam Investment Co. versus N.H. Farage Co Ltd Anor C2002-2008) Gambia Law Report Vol. 2 at 68-102 per Justice E.A. Agim JCA,” Magistrate Mbaye further stated.

Magistrate Mbaye, however, stated that where in the case certain issues were properly addressed on damages, particularly in paragraph 8 and 9 at page 71, where the law presumes loss or damages without necessary proving same.

“That no evidence is required to be adduced as pre condition for the exercise of the discretion of the court to award damages.  So in resolving this issue, and as a matter of fact, I would take into consideration the aforementioned factors and the fact that the plaintiff has been subjected to unnecessary hardship. I hereby award damages of D10,000 in favour of the Plaintiff,” he told the court witnessed by both defendant and the plaintiff.

He also ordered that the cost of these action is assessed at D10, 000, adding that interest is awarded at 5 percent in favour of the plaintiff from the date of the cause of action and 4 percent interest from the date of judgment until the sum is fully satisfied or liquidated.

Still in his judgment, Magistrate Mbaye stated that in the light of the foregoing and the plaintiff having proved his case, was entitled to such other relief as was consistent with the claim therewith, while finding the defendant in the case liable to the plaintiff as per their claim and judgment was hereby entered in favour of the plaintiff, Lamin Bojang.

He said assuming that a contract has been validly created, it is necessary to consider the extent of the obligations imposed on the parties by the contract, adding: “ In order to do this, the exact terms of the contract must be determined and their comparative importance evaluated.”

“There may be some doubts about the interpretation of the contract and resort would then be made to the rules of contruction which have been laid down,” he explained.

“Where the agreement of parties has been reduced to writing and the document containing the agreement has been signed by one or both of them, it was well established that the parties signing would be bound by the terms of written agreement whether or not he has read them and whether or not he was ignorant of their precise legal effect,” he adduced.

He said exbibit A was clearly a contract signed between Mr. Momodou B.A.L Jallow known as “the agent” and Gambia Groundnut Corporation known as “the Purchaser” adding that the agreement was made on the 28th December, 2007.

He continued: “The term of the said contract as stated in clause 1 for the agent to buy groundnut in -shell at primary level and to deliver the same to the designated depots of the purchaser during the 2007/2008 groundnut marketing session.”

He also gave a detailed summary of the analysis of the evidence adduced by the defendant and the plaintiff in the case.