Gambia: Court Awards D771,940 in Favour of Umpa Mendy

The Kanifing Magistrate's Court has awarded over seven hundred and seventy-one thousand in favour of one Umpa Mendy who sued Tycoon S.P.J Constructing Enterprise and one Sang Paul Jatta for breach of contract.

Mendy claimed he contracted the defendants (Tycoon and Jatta) to build him a house, but the agreement was breached and he sued them for breach of contract.

Umpa through his Counsel, Lawyer Malick H.B. Jallow brought a claim against the two before the court on the 12th July 2017. The Plaintiff's claim was for the recovery of the amount of D450,000 being monies paid to the first defendant, Sang Paul Jatta by the Plaintiff (Umpa Mendy) for the construction of a dwelling house which the first defendant has failed and refused to build as agreed between them.

Umpa claimed for special damages of D200,000 being monies spent by him in preparing the building blocks at the request of Sang Paul Jatta which have since perished due to default by the first defendant.

The Plaintiff asked for special damages of D26,940 being monies spent by him on purchasing a return air-ticket from the United Kingdom to the Gambia to visit and inspect the state of the building-related issues. He also claimed for D65,000 as legal fees. He asked for damages and cost from the defendants.

To prove his case, Umpa Mendy called five (5) witnesses and tendered several exhibits. The defence was foreclosed due to their non-appearance in court after several adjournments.

The court held that from its records, there is no dispute, as evident in exhibit H, that the parties entered into a written agreement to build a four bedroom house complete, do the construction, electrical plumbing, roofing job, fixing of panel doors, design card board and fixing of the white ceiling and painting the compound of the plaintiff (Umpa Mendy) at Brufut.

The trial magistrate also held that it was not disputed that the agreed amount for the whole contract was one million dalasis (D1,000,000). She said it is also established from the evidence presented that there was a building plan for the said construction work. In addition, it is not disputed that construction works have started and is at lintel level.

She said the evidence of the witnesses that the defendants were building the house using another plan different from what they agreed upon was not invalidated. In addition, the magistrate said the evidence by some of the plaintiff witnesses that the value of the house the defendants were erecting was D185,000 which is greatly less than the agreed amount was not contradicted. The witnesses for the plaintiff testified that the structure that the defendants built was not good.

"In the end, I am satisfied that the plaintiff has sufficiently proven his case on a balance of probability having been convinced by the evidence adduced in support of his case and the exhibits tendered before the court," the magistrate said, adding "consequently, judgment is hereby entered in favour of the plaintiff and in default of the appearance of the 1st and 2nd defendants jointly and severally, pursuant to section 7 of the Subordinate Courts (Civil Proceedings) Act.

She ordered the defendants to pay the plaintiff the amount of over D771,940 including D25,000 for general damages and D5,000 as cost of the case.

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