17 July 2012

Sierra Leone: Justice Joiner Blasts Tourist Board Officials

Presiding judge of court No.1 at the Fast Track Commercial Court, Justice St. George Ade Joiner, has stated that a report by Mr. Cecil Williams has shown that the officials of the National Tourist Board NTB do not know how to administer land grants.

Speaking before giving judgment in a matter between Kenneth Weller the plaintiff and Akmed Turay the defendant, Justice Joiner said NTB officials made offers without specifying the exact dimension or proper beacon numbers of lands granted and also engaged in private negotiations with applicants which resulted in actions that are contrary to the law.

It could be recalled that on 22nd November 2011, the plaintiff commenced action against the defendant seeking a declaration that all the pieces of land designated BP55-BP56 situated at the entertainment complex called the Beach Apple Restaurant along Lumley/ Aberdeen beach in Freetown belongs to him.

He also sought an injunction restraining the defendant herein whether by himself his servants, agents, workmen, employees, privies or whosoever otherwise from entering remaining upon passing through or in any way interfering with the above mentioned land or any part thereof.

It was also stated that the defendant filed a defence on 22nd December in which he denied that he had trespassed on to the plaintiff's land adding that the land he was occupying was allocated to him by a letter dated 9th November 2010 from the NTB with beacon number BP58-BP59 which is different from the plaintiff's Land which had beacon number BP55-BP56.

Before his judgment, Justice Joiner mentioned that public officials do not believe that they had a duty to the court or to the two citizens involved in the matter who needed their help in settling a costly dispute between them.

He made this reference to the Ministry of Lands and Country Planning who treated the court with utmost contempt by failing to respond to subpoenas.

Justice Joiner ruled that all the pieces of land identified by the NTB as BP58-BP59 measuring approximately 150ft-100ft, bounded on one side by the property of Kenneth Weller and on the other by the property of Ann Metzeger, is the property of Akmed Turay with a cost in favour of the defendant in the amount of Le4.5m.

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