Gambia: High Court to Hear Pacholing Land Dispute Case Following Demolition Exercise

A litigant has asked the High Court to make a declaration that a piece of Land of Land measuring 318m- 97.70m- 36.50m-80m-35m 50m 150.30m 167.50m-50m- 41m situated in Pacholing Village kombo South , belongs to him and 17 members of his family.

Police Intervention Unit personnel and staff of the Physical Planning recently demolished fences and a structure in Pacholing.

Asberr Mendy, Who has recently instituted civil action against one Ousman Bojang, is asking the High Court to issue an injunction restraining the defendant, his servants, agents, or any other person or persons acting under his authority or instruction from entering and interfering with the said land.

Mendy is claiming the sum of D500,000.00 damages for the defendants trespass on their land by entering, measuring and carrying out unlawful acts of purported sale of same to third parties.

He is also claiming interest at the rate of 25percent from the date of filing his suit until judgment and thereafter at the rate of 4percent until final liquidation of any judgment sum awarded to them(plaintiff).

According to the statement of claim, the plaintiff is claiming the sum of D350,000.00 to cover legal and administration costs.

Mendy adduced that in the year 2018, he was served with a notice to vacate from the office of the Hon. Sheriff. This notice to vacate indicates as follows;

"I write to inform you that the property you are currently occupying Sanyang Village Kombo South District is rightfully owned Ousman Bojang. To this end you are here by this letter warned to vacate from the said property before Thursday 26th Day July 2018. Failure to adhere to this notice will lead to your forceful eviction from the said property. A copy of the said notice to vacate is pleaded, attached and marker AM3."

Mendy and his family members said they were utterly surprised by the notice to vacate as the land they are lawful occupying is land inherited from their father and which land is situated in Pacholing and not Sanyang.

They added that secondly, the suit mentioned in the said notice to vacate is one titled OUSMAN BOJANG V EMMANUEL MENDY .According to the Plaintiff, Emmanuel Mendy never owned the suit land. As a matter of fact, Emmanuel Mendy left the Gambia and travelled to Guinea Bissau as far back as 2000 and has not come back, the Plaintiff said.

Plaintiff added the suit land in question is located in Pacholing and not Sanyang as claimed by the defendant OUSMAN BOJANG .

"The said suit land is properly described in sketch plan and carries the following dimension 318m-97.70m-36.50m-80m-35m-50m-150.30m-167.50m-50m-41m and edged PINK . This sketch plan is pleaded, attached and marked AM4 It is plaintiffs contention that the defendant never had any title or right of ownership to the suit land", the Plaintiff adduced.

He said defendant OUSMAN BOJANG has at no time whatsoever owned the suit land and none of his ancestors at any point in time ever owned the same. He contended the land in question is part of Pacholing and which village was established several generations ago by the plaintiff forefathers after clearing a dark and thick forest.

He said: "That the defendant sole motive for claiming ownership of the suit land is to enable him sell same to estate agents or individuals. As a matter of fact, the defendant attempted to sell the suit land to GAM HOUSING ESTATE. The manager of GAM HOUSING ESTATE pursuant to the defendants' attempt to sell the suit land instructed one of its officers to meet the plaintiff in order to confirm the fact that the suit land really belonged to the defendant."

According to the plaintiff, he disclosed to the said officer of GAM HOUSING ESTATE that the property did not belong to the defendant and this quests showed the said officer documents indicating that the land indeed belongs to the plaintiff and his family.

"In conclusion of the meeting between the said officer of GAM HOUSING ESTATE and the plaintiff, the said officer was satisfied that the defendant OUSMAN BOJANG was not the owner of the suit land. The manager of GAM HOUSING ESTATE then proposed to the plaintiff for the purchase of the suit land through him the plaintiff. The plaintiff made it very clear that the land was not for sale and that it belongs to him as head of the family and 17 others", Plaintiff said in a document before the Court.

The Plaintiff said they inherited the suit land from their late father JOMBIC MENDY, who died around 2012.

According to the elders of pacholing village, the said village was founded and established during British Colonial rule. It was founded by the elders of the community such as SAMBA MENDY , PATRONG CORREA, BISENTY MENDY and FARA MENDY, inter alia

The Plaintiff said: "It is the common knowledge of the manjango inhabitants of the village that when their grandparents and founders of the present village sought to live side by side with their Mandingo hosts in Sanyang village, the elders of Sanyang village did not welcome the idea on the ground that Manjagos are none believers who ate pork and drink plam wine."

"As a consequence the Manjagos were shown a thick forest and advised by the villagers in Sanyang to go there and establish their own village where they could practice their belief and carry on their customs and traditions."

Mendy said the Manjagos then took courage and entered the thick forest which they cleared and established their own village which they called Pacholing, adding Pacholing in Manjago language means a thick forest.

He said: "For generations, the Manjagos lived in their village, about 4 to 5 kilometers from Sanyang village and with their Alkalo , they cultivated the land and lived in peaceful harmony with all their neighbouring villages . Years after they also established cashew nut plantation from which they educated their children from primary school to university. "

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