11 June 2019

Liberia: Court Rules Over Controversial Ownership of A.M. Fofana Islamic High School

The lease for the A.M. Fofana Islamic and English High School is in dispute with the lessee, Komara arguing that he has an extra 10 years right to the property.

Following years of intense legal wrangling over the legitimate ownership of the A.M. Fofana Islamic and English High School, the Civil Law Court 'B', in Monrovia on Tuesday, June 4, ruled by placing the property in possession of the Foleboli K. Komara (petitioner), one of the parties.

The property is situated around the Fish Market Community, in Sinkor.

Ms. Mawata Fofana (respondent) and one of the administrators of the Intestate Estate of the Late Alhaji Mohammed Fofana, had argued that her late father and the petitioner, Komara, entered into a lease agreement on July 15, 1997 and said agreement should have expired in July 2017.

However, Komara also argued that though the lease agreement expired in July 2017, he and late Fofana executed an amendment on July 15, 1998 for an additional period of ten years, which Komara filed a declaratory judgment to the court, arguing "to declare my right to the property in respect to the 1998 amendment to the lease agreement."

Madam Fofana however argued that the amendment claimed by Komara was fraudulent because Alhaji Mohammed Fofana died on July 10, 1998 and therefore could not have executed an amendment to the 1997 lease agreement on July 15, 1998.

In the court ruling, Judge Scheaplor R. Dunbar said, that the 1998 amendment was validly executed by the petitioner, Komara and the Late Alhaji Mohammed Fofana on July 15, 1998.

"That the 1998 amendment is valid and enforceable and is binding on the heirs, administrators of the Intestate Estate of the Late Alhaji Mohammed Fofana," Judge Dunbar's ruling said.

In continuation, Dunbar ruled, "having declared the 1998 amendment valid and enforceable, the administrators of the Late Alhaji Mohammed Fofana, who dispossessed the petitioner, Komara, of the subject property in 2017, are ordered to put the Komara in full possession therefore in keeping with the terms of the 1998 amendment."

Concluding, Dunbar declared," the cost of these proceedings is ruled against the Late Alhaji Mohammed Fofana."

Before Judge Dunbar's ruling, Madam Fofana had taken possession of the property because, according to them, there was no amendment to the 1997 lease agreement, because Mr. Fofana died on July 10, 1998 and therefore, could not have executed an amendment to the lease agreement five days later on July 15, 1998.

To prove that allegation, the Fofana produced a death certificate from the Catholic Hospital dated July 10, 1998, which instrument the court marked and subsequently admitted as one of the respondents' evidence.

On the contrary, a rebuttal witness, David G. Harris said, Fofana died on July 31, 1998 and not on July 10, 1998 as claimed by the respondents. This revelation, Judge Dunbar said, means that Alhaji Mohammed Fofana executed the amendment on July 10, 1998 and died subsequently thereafter on July 31, 1998.

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