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|T O P I C R E V I E W
|Posted - 12 Oct 2021 : 19:33:26
By Yankuba Jallow on October 12, 2021
The Global Home of Medical Mission (GHOMM) is still being blocked by security personnel of the State from taking over their leased property that was housing the Anti-Crime Unit despite the former have won the court case against the State over the land.
According to a source, the Government wants to use the property to erect structures for the OIC Summit scheduled to take place in 2022 in The Gambia.
The health facility, which used to house the Police Anti-Crime Unit, was unceremoniously closed down in 2010 by the Gambia Government. Global HOMM while arguing their case before the high court said they were unceremoniously expelled from The Gambia by former President Yahya Jammeh without explanation in 2010.
On 14 February 2007, Global HOMM was registered as a charitable company in The Gambia, Certificate Number: 53/2007. The NGO Affairs Agency certified that Global HOMM was registered, recognized and allowed to operate as an International NGO in The Gambia on 11 September 2008 as A76 NGO.
Global HOMM claimed to have spent a million and half in the construction of the structure that the Anti-Crime Unit of the Gambia Police Force was occupying. After it was closed down, the land was abandoned for some time before Jammeh’s Green Boys occupied the place. When the current regime took over from Jammeh, the Green Boys were moved out and replaced with the Anti-Crime Unit of the Police Force, who occupied the place.
The Attorney General issued a press release on Monday, 11th October describing the reports circulating online about the property as false.
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice debunked the reports circulating on social media suggesting that the Government is blocking the purported owners of the property in Bijilo that was previously occupied by the Anti-Crime Unit.
The press release stated: “The public is hereby informed that this is totally false and could not be further from the truth. The matter is subject of ongoing litigation in two suits before two separate judges of the high court.
Out of respect for the court and judicial system, the office is not at liberty to discuss this matter which are subject to litigation.
We will have the opportunity to shed light on the true facts of the matter once the courts have delivered their ruling on this matter.
We invite the claimants (Global HOMM) in this matter to exercise similar restraint and abide by due process as opposed to seeking to litigate the matter in the media.”
Readers would recall that The Gambia Government was sued in respect of the same piece of land that was occupied by the Anti-Crime Unit of the Gambia Police Force in Bijilo as their headquarters. However, Foroyaa has been reliably informed that the police have vacated the property.
The Respondents in this case were Minister of Lands and Regional Government, Director for Lands and Surveys and the Attorney General.
On the first ground of the application, Global HOMM sought for the court to declare that the Notice of Acquisition and Revocation of their lease with serial registration number K12/07 in respect to their property in Bijilo which was occupied by the Anti-Crime Unit of the Gambia Police Force was null and void.
On the second ground, they wanted the court to declare that the purpose for which their property has been compulsorily acquired by the State was not for public use.
They also sought from the court a declaration that the lease registration of their property that the Anti-Crime Unit was occupying remained valid and subsisting.
They wanted the court to declare that the allocation and the vesting of title of their property to a third party was null and void.
They wanted the court to make an order that no Notice of Acquisition and Revocation of their leased property be served on them prior to the purported revocation.
They wanted the court to make an order setting aside all transactions entered into by the Respondents with any third parties in relation to their property.
They wanted the court to award a cost of five hundred thousand dalasis (D500,000) in their favour.
The State, through State Counsel, Muhammed B. Sowe said the respondents have conceded to the application.
“The respondents concede to the application on the ground that the notice was not gazetted as required by section 7 (5) of the Lands Acquisition and Compensation Act,” Sowe informed the court.
He added: “The Respondent (Attorney General and others) concede to the application and will follow the proper procedure. We have reasons for doing that. We want to follow the right procedure.”
Lawyer Rachael Y. Mendy for the applicants (Global HOMM) indicated to the court that she had no objection to the State Counsel’s submission. However, she sought for the court to go ahead to grant the application.
The High Judge, Justice Achibonga on Monday, 29th June 2020 granted the application and ordered the Government of the Gambia to pay five hundred thousand dalasi (D500,000) to Global Home of Medical Mission (Global HOMM).
In September 2019, a judgment was obtained from the Kanifing Magistrate’s Court in favour of the group in which writ of possession was issued. From September 2019 to date, they are struggling to take over the land.
In that case, the Gambia Police Force, Ministry of Interior and Director of Lands and Survey were the defendants before the Magistrate’s Court. The defendants through their Counsel admitted to the claims of Global HOMM and the court entered judgment in favour of the group (GHOMM). The court made orders that the group shall take possession of the property. Also, the court awarded cost in favour of the group and ordered the defendants to pay them D50,000 for general damages for trespass. The lower court ordered the defendant to pay the group D25,000 for the cost of the action.
On the 28th January 2021, the Attorney General conceded in the previous case and a judgment was entered in favour of Global HOMM.
In another high court case, Global HOMM is seeking the court to enforce the judgment, but the Attorney General is saying Global HOMM cannot sue.
Lawyer Aji A. Ceesay for the Attorney General made an application for the high court to strike out the suit brought by Home of Medical Mission (Global HOMM) seeking to enforce the judgment in their favour.
Lawyer Ceesay said Global HOMM is not a ‘juristic person’ capable of suing since it is not registered in the country. She applied for the suit to be struck out based on this ground.
Foroyaa has been trying to get the date of the case from the court, but all attempts proved unsuccessful. The Judge, who was handling the case, was promoted to the Gambia Court of Appeal. We will follow the case and will keep the readers informed about whatever happens in court.
|15 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
|Posted - 18 Jul 2022 : 13:39:23
HERE it is the Latest.
SNIPPET:"Bijilo, Sunday, 17th July 2022 – The President of the Republic of The Gambia, His Excellency Adama Barrow will lay the foundation stone for the construction of the highly anticipated five-star Radisson Blu Banjul Hotel on 23rd July 2022 at 4: 00 p.m."
From a NEW TOPIC> as THIS ONE is now part of history refer to this topic in a link if you think it useful.
|Posted - 08 Jul 2022 : 16:30:27
Jul 8, 2022, 11:11 AM
Fajara, 7 July, 2022 – The Gambia Press Union (GPU) has received official reports that on the 5th of July 2022, Yusef Taylor, a journalist who is also the Editor-in-Chief of Gainako online, was arbitrarily arrested and reportedly charged with “obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty”.
Mr. Taylor was detained at the Senegambia Police Station for four hours after attempting to report on the latest arrest of Neneh Freda Gomez and Lamin Sey of the medical charity, Global Home of Medical Mission (Global HoMM).
Global HoMM is involved in a dispute with the Government of The Gambia over a plot of land for which the former has obtained court judgements in its favour as being the rightful owner of the land on which the government is said to earmark for the construction of a hotel for the 2022 OIC Summit.
Mr. Taylor has consistently reported on this case including fact-checking government statements and narratives on the matter, and had found some of these claims to be “false or misleading”.
He was released late Tuesday evening and said he was informed by the police that he is charged with “obstruction”.
Taylor was arrested after police officers forcibly tried to remove him from the station’s premises (thereby assaulting him) when he tried to enquire about the detention of the Global HoMM representatives Neneh Freda Gomez and Lamin Sey.
After initially trying to force him out of the station in a highhanded manner, leading to the tearing of his shirt, the officers then decided to drag Mr. Taylor into the station and lock him up in one of the cells, according to a colleague who witnessed the incident and a GPU Safety Officer who visited the police station where the journalist was held.
“The GPU condemns the actions of these officers in their entirety, and is dismayed by the unfortunate never-ending trend of journalists being assaulted by security personnel, especially the police,” GPU President, Muhammed S. Bah, said.
This incident is reminiscent of the events of June 2020, when Ebou N. Keita was arrested, detained, and later released without charge for photographing police officers arresting people protesting against the country’s COVID-19 restrictions.
“It is also a stark reminder that while the exercise of free speech and press freedom guaranteed under the 1997 Constitution has significantly improved since 2017, more needs to be done to better protect the rights of journalists who continue to come under attack from security forces for simply carrying out their constitutional duty of holding the government accountable,” Bah said.
The GPU calls on the Gambia Police Force to exercise restraint and cease from the use of force on journalists who have a significant mandate of not only holding the government to account, but promoting the public’s right to know – a fundamental aspect of freedom of expression, access to information and the promotion of democracy and good governance.
On July 7, 2022, Mr. Taylor informed the GPU that he was called by the police and asked to report to the same police station where he was held on Tuesday. He is also asked to report to the police today, July 8 at 1pm.
The alleged offence is considered assault under section 230 (b) of the Gambia Criminal Code which carries a two-year prison term if one is found guilty, according to GPU research.
“We call on the police to drop the charge of ‘obstruction’ against Mr. Taylor without condition and stop the continuous harassment of the journalist by asking him to be reporting to the Senegambia Police Station,” GPU Secretary General, Modou S. Joof, said.
“Journalists are not the enemy, and we believe that the principles of the Constitution can only be upheld when journalists are allowed to do their work without harassment, intimidation, and arbitrary arrests,” Joof said.
The GPU is committed, ready and willing to continue engaging state authorities and security sector leaders with a view to promoting an enabling environment for press freedom, especially with regard to the safety of journalists.
|Posted - 08 Jul 2022 : 10:23:24
An interesting quote from the summary from Kexx Sanneh (on Facebook) on the case of Global HOMM: “In their application, the state contended that their search at the company’s registry indicates that GHOMM does not exist as a legal entity and therefore lacked the capacity to institute the case and as a result the court also lacked the jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter and that the judgment cannot be enforced since GHOMM does not exist as a legal entity.”
The question is – was the search in the company registry for GHOMM limited to the local register of companies at the Registrar General of the Attorney General’s Chambers or was it a worldwide search of the existence of GHOMM as a company globally? The point is – if the search has been limited to the local or national register only, does that disqualify any company (any legal entity) from owning or being allocated State land that is not registered locally? If so, by extension – does that disqualify a non- Gambian or a non- citizen from owning or being allocated State land? If this premise is wrong (most probably so) then – has GHOMM been registered in some other country (say Canada)? If so, can Ms Gomez provide such evidence to refute the claim of non-existence of GHOMM as a legal entity?
This case seems murky and bungled by tendencies of a forceful bureaucracy trying to enforce the will of the State. Clearly, the State has the right to any landed property but a process needs to be followed. That’s the essence of institutions in a democracy and respecting their decisions is part of strengthening them and not weakening them by finding excuses and loopholes around their processes and decisions.
The confrontation is totally unwarranted – rightly or wrongly, it smacks of bullying. There is a better way by the State than seeking administrative “loopholes” to enforce its will. It is as if a bureaucracy is trying to justify a misplaced advice that has earlier been given. The most forthright approach from the very beginning was to simply apply the concept of eminent domain especially after the loss of the first court case by the State.
Ms Gomez is a citizen and it is the responsibility to protect citizens which should include understanding their plight and finding an amicable solution. Investors are generally interested in the manner in which the State handles judicial matters and the approach could send the wrong signals.
From an administrative point of view, one would have evoked a compulsory purchase order and also provided an alternative allocation (perhaps outside the Tourism Development Area) that is suitable for the land use being proposed (considering the proposed social service to be provided – a hospital).
The matter now seems to require a political decision or intervention rather leaving it, in what seems, with the bureaucracy, in order to take account of the image of governance of the country. By that, a compromise should be sought – GHOMM to be reallocated, and have their status regularised if need be, and government to pursue the use of the land in accordance with a public purpose objective – a settlement out of Court.
Just Thinking Aloud.
Lamino Lang Comma
|Posted - 05 Jul 2022 : 12:02:44
QUESTION OF THE DAY
On 29th June, 2020 judgment was entered in favour of Global HOMM in their case against the Attorney General, the Minister of Lands and Regional Affairs and the Director of Lands and Surveys. This simply confirmed ownership of the land by GHOMM and that the state should leave said property. The state did concede to the claims of GHOMM.
However, on 25th October, 2021 the state turned around and filed an application for this judgment to be set aside. This is what led to the ruling of 20th June 2022 of Justice Achibonga of the High Court.
In their application, the state contended that their search at the companies registry indicates that GHOMM does not exist as a legal entity and therefore lacked the capacity to institute the case and as a result the court also lacked the jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter and that the judgment cannot be enforced since GHOMM does not exist as a legal entity.
The court, in its ruling, drew a distinction between capacity and jurisdiction, arguing that while capacity of a party to the suit may change during trial that does not apply to jurisdiction; once a court lacks jurisdiction so shall it be at any time.
The court further stated that the issue of capacity can be raised during the suit, up to judgment but not thereafter; and that to entertain such would tantamount to rehearing the suit. Justice Achibonga pointed out that the state entertained the participation of GHOMM in the case and even conceded to their claim, only to say it does not have the capacity after judgment. The court held that it is too late in the day for the state to raise the issue of capacity.
Justice Achibonga also argued that the court cannot vary its own judgment or order unless it is void as one that is unwarranted by any rule of law or one that the court is induced to make through fraud/mistake. In conclusion he noted that since there is no evidence that the judgment is void, he does not see how he can set it aside. He thus concluded that the court does not have the jurisdiction to set aside the judgment of 29th June 2020. He then dismissed the application of the state.
All litigants should abide by judgments and rulings of courts or resort to appeal on time to higher courts to overturn the rulings or judgments of lower courts. This is due process and the foundation of the rule of law.
|Posted - 30 Jun 2022 : 12:06:08
Press release on June 29, 2022
The public is hereby informed of the Ministry of Justice’s position on the ongoing Home of Medical Mission land issue. The Ministry wishes to draw the attention of the public to its previous statements on this matter.
It is important to reiterate that the purported lease was wrongfully issued under executive directive by former President Jammeh to an entity that we now know does not exist. It is also important to note that to date the only determinations made by the Courts are with regards the issue of possession and the legality of the process of cancellation of the lease.
Notwithstanding these judgments, which in both cases were arrived at with the consent of the state in order to follow due process, the state is still at liberty to pursue other administrative action in respect of the purported lease as provided for by the laws of The Gambia.
The assertion that the recent ruling of the Court confirms the title of “Home of Medical Mission” is erroneous and misleading. The Court did not make any such affirmation but simply stated that it did not have jurisdiction to review its previous judgment.
It is crucial to reiterate that Home of Medical Mission does not exist and as such any lease issued to it is null and void. As a result, the public is hereby informed that the purported lease in the name of Home of Medical Mission has been cancelled.
We take this opportunity to inform the public that the Government is committed to due process and to national development. The land in question, located within the Tourism Development Area, has been set aside for the construction of a five-star hotel co-owned by Government.
This facility will be instrumental in the hosting of the upcoming OIC summit, and will significantly boost the tourism industry and provide crucial jobs both during the construction and operational phases.
|Posted - 24 Jun 2022 : 16:07:29
Disobedience and Abuse by The Gambia Government
By Madi Jobarteh
The blatant abuse of power and utter disregard of court orders by The Gambia Government against Global HOMM should outrage the conscience and concern of each and every citizen to stand up in defense of this charitable organization and its country director Nenneh Freda Gomez MP.
On Thursday June 23 Neneh was denied once again entry to the legally owned property of her organization after several decisions by various courts that the property belongs to them. Not only did the courts certify her organization is the rightful owner of the place but also Global HOMM is up to date on the payment of rates for the property hence indicating that the Government itself has confirmed their ownership otherwise they would not have accepted the payment of taxes.
Yet The Gambia Government, without fear or shame and in total disregard of the Constitution continues to disobey the decisions of constitutionally established courts in this country. None more than the Government has the obligation to uphold court rulings. Yet it is that same Government that is seen acting in total contravention of the Constitution which had given judicial power to the courts and enjoins all to respect its decisions.
In Section 120 of the Constitution, after the courts were established and vested with judicial power and to be independent and not subject to the authority of any person or authority, subsection 4 went further to place a special obligation on the Government to respect and assist the courts as stipulated here,
“The Government and all departments and agencies of the Government shall accord such assistance to the courts as the courts may reasonably require to protect their independence, dignity and effectiveness.”
Therefore, on what authority or imagination should The Gambia Government disregard a court ruling as in this case involving Global HOMM?
This case is serious and all Gambians must be worried, concerned and agitated. This is because the very foundation of our republic is that there are three separate centers of power which are independent of each other. They should not interfere with but to respect each other. This is precisely to ensure that all power is not vested in one person or authority. This is to prevent abuse and corruption.
This is meant to ensure that power is restrained as the three organs serve as checks and balances against one another hence allow the rule of law to prevail. It is only in this context that accountability prevails in which case human rights are protected and justice is dispensed and sustainable development is delivered to the people.
Hence when a court judgement is flouted by anyone in society then the very foundations of democratic governance and the republic are threatened. Flouting court orders simply means one wishes to bring about the survival of the fittest, that is, might over right. This is clearly what The Gambia Government has done by disregarding a court order and then using armed police to deny lawful owners enjoy their rightful properties.
Thus let it be known that The Gambia Government has just committed armed robbery. It’s actions are no different from pirates in the high seas and armed robbers in our communities who disregard the Constitution by forcefully seizing people’s lawful properties.
Even more serious is the fact that this action by the Government tantamount to contempt of court which is a criminal offense. By this action, it means the Government has become not only a disobedient rogue entity but also has disrespected and disgraced the courts.
The dignity of the courts has been guaranteed and protected by the Constitution. This is further reinforced by citizens and entities by submitting themselves to the decisions of the court even if they disagree. This is what happens in a civilized democratic republic.
Hence when a citizen or any entity and especially the Government flouts a court decision, it does not only mean disobedience but it also means disgracing and ridiculing the dignity of the court. That’s assault. That is a heinous crime from a democratic and republican standpoints.
The court has no police or army to enforce its decision. It relies on citizens, entities and Government to enforce court decisions by accepting those decisions. Therefore if a citizen or any entity and more seriously the Government flouts a court decision then this is the highest disrespect and assault on the court.
For the Executive arm of the state to flout a court decision means usurpation of the power and status of the Judiciary as a pillar of the State. Technically that tantamount to a coup d’etat since it means an organ of the State is knocked down. This is what The Gambia Government has just committed - a coup d’etat.
All citizens must therefore stand with Global HOMM by realizing that if this abuse of power and disobedience should stand then it means no other citizen or entity is save in this country. It means my property and your property and indeed any of our rights can also be stolen today or tomorrow by the Government and nothing comes out of it. That’s impunity.
The Government must be told to pull back its armed police from that private property and submit itself to the court rulings on this case. The Government must be told to follow due process and not to trample upon it. The Government must be told to compensate Neneh and Lamin Sey as ruled by the courts.
Pres. Adama Barrow promised system change and ‘Never Again’ in his 2016 presidential elections manifesto. That manifesto was set against such actions that his Government is now perpetuating six years down the line. Let us not allow him. Let us stop the Government from becoming a vagabond on our heads.
I hereby call on all Gambians to join Neneh Freda Gomez the next time she visits their lawful property in Bijilo. Let us all go with her and occupy that property in solidarity with Global HOMM and in defense of our own rights and lives.
Adama Barrow and Dawda Jallow and Abdoulie Sanyang do not own this country alone. They are public servants meant to uphold the law, protect human rights and respect court rulings. Failure to do so means they are in contempt of not only the courts but also in contempt of the Constitution and disrespecting the supremacy and sovereignty of citizens as stipulated in Section 1(2) of the Constitution.
Stand up. Speak up.
For The Gambia Our Homeland
|Posted - 24 Jun 2022 : 15:48:44
And so the row rumbles on ond on....dispite Court judgements.
It is obvious that in order to solve this problem MEANINGFULL negociations have to take place amongst ALL the parties involved and a solution worked out.
The rule of law must take presidence in a demcratic country such as GAMBIA
By Omar Bah on June 24, 2022
The Global Home of Medical Mission country representative has vowed to sue President Adama Barrow if he steps foot on the company’s Bijilo disputed land to lay the foundation for a hotel.
The government and Global HOMM have been battling over ownership of the land which was taken from the organisation by former president Yahya Jammeh.
The organisation left the country but returned after Jammeh lost his 2016 re-election bid and sued the government in an attempt to regain ownership of the land. In 2020, the high court ruled that the land be given back to Global HOMM. The government wants to use the land to construct a hotel as part of infrastructural development for OIC Conference.
Last year, the OIC secretariat together with its purported investor, contractors, and engineers visited the said property for inspection and the president is expected to lay the foundation stone next month.
But Nenneh Freda Gomez said she still believes that is just a plan.
“Even though they have made statements that in July the president is going to come to lay the foundation stone. I don’t know what authority the president has to come and perform such an action. But let’s watch and see the president who is supposed to protect all of us, who is supposed to be promoting the rule of law, who is supposed to be making sure the right thing is done, who is supposed to be making sure our judiciary is functional, who is supposed to be making sure nobody compromises the sanctity of our judiciary.
Let’s see if he himself will be in contempt. Because if the president comes here, I am not inviting him. It’s not going to be on our invitation and he also will be trespassing on this land and he will be sued, he will be charged with contempt. We will make sure we go to court to file contempt proceedings against him because nobody is above the law,” she said.
Madam Gomez described as false Justice Minister Dawda Jallow’s claims that there were two ongoing litigations concerning the land.
“I want to remind the AG that the state made an attempt by way of an application to strike out the suit on the representation that the property was one of those acquired by Yahya Jammeh and therefore a subject of the Janneh Commission, which was in fact false. The said application was dismissed by the court,” she added.
She added that the state had accepted payment of land rent from the Mission in the sum of D589,500 covering the period of 2007 to 2020.
“It is unimaginable that as a lawyer, the Attorney General would state that the judgements/orders of the courts in favour of the Home of Medical Mission are unenforceable. It is a basic principle of law that all judgements and orders of courts are valid and subsist until set aside. Even the layperson knows this basic principle,” she added.
The state through the AG, Nenneh added, continues to take the law into their own hands and blatantly disobeying and disrespecting the orders of the courts by using state-owned security apparatus to trample on the rights of citizens.
“If left unchecked, their distasteful actions will surely compromise the sanctity of our courts and render the rule of law in this country futile,” she added.
|Posted - 06 Apr 2022 : 15:28:35
W£ait for the NEXT exciting episode of this long running saga,Justice B.A Bakre is NOT happy !
|Posted - 06 Apr 2022 : 13:12:58
Judge ‘annoyed’ with MoJ for disobeying orders
The Standard: APRIL 6, 2022
By Binta A Bah
A high court judge has questioned the Ministry of Justice for disobeying an order he made last November declaring the arrest and detention of Nenneh Freda Gomez and two others unlawful and constitutional.
In that order, Justice B.A Bakre had also ordered the state to pay compensation of D100,000 to Gomez, her colleague Lamin Sey and a Fatu Network cameraman.
Yesterday, the judge in an angry tone addressed the state counsel, K. Tah stating he was not happy with the justice ministry, reminding him that the ‘world is watching.’
“My anger is that I gave an order and it has not been obeyed and you want to seek benefit from me,” Justice Bakre told the state counsel.
“You people should do the right things at the Ministry of Justice because the world is watching. This country is just experiencing a nursing democracy, so you should not be the ones that would put it in jeopardy. It’s fragile. Even if you are right, make your position abundantly clear for everybody to understand you. When you have an order against, you take your internal procedure to obey the order,” the judge told the state counsel.
When the state counsel argued that he was not seeking benefits from the court, the judge said: “But you want me to listen to you now and give you points. You (the state) always come to court seeking for orders for arrests and detentions. Now the same judge makes an order, and you will not obey, who are you?”.
Justice Bakre continued: “Has the state shown their own right to that land over theirs particularly in view of all these judgments? The state did not also appeal against the decision. So, what is this force the state is using?”. The judge pointed out that there is this ‘unnecessary arrogance’ by the state all over Africa that they are one step ahead of others.
“Assuming that it was you Tah (counsel for the state) contesting, you are the owner of that land, is it right for you to continue to say get out of my land when you don’t have anything in your favour?” he asked, adding that unless things are done in the right way, there will be total breakdown of law and order.
However, state counsel Tah argued that there is an issue of basic personality where the registrar general or custodian of leasing at the ministry of lands can request for the striking out of lease where it found that the lease has been illegally issued.
|Posted - 24 Nov 2021 : 08:09:04
STATEMENT BY GLOBAL HEARTS OF MEDICAL MISSION IN RESPONSE TO
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, MINISTER OF JUSTICE ON THE ARREST OF NENEH FREDA GOMEZ
23 November 2021
Our attention has been drawn to a press release by the Attorney General which carries nothing but misleading and contradictory information.
An undisputed fact is that Dr. Byung Barnabas Lee, founder of Global Hearts of Medical Mission (Global HOMM), met with a high-level delegation which included 2 Cabinet Ministers and the Director of Health. It is convenient for the State to characterize it as an invitation to return to The Gambia to continue the work of providing charitable medical services as per the initial proposal, informed that the land was not properly allocated, and that another parcel of land will be allocated.
The undisputed fact is that Dr Lee received the sincere gratitude of his generosity, the expression of sincere apology to the Church, himself and his colleagues, with further appreciation of his understanding that such occasions will never occur in the new Gambia. Global HOMM did return to The Gambia under the leadership of Dr Gabou Mendy, a Gambian physician based in the US (Medical Missions, March 2018, February 2020; and Vision Care Missions, April 2019, Feb 2020). Dr Byung In Barnabas Lee, MD passed away in August 2018 (Blessed memory), never to return to The Gambia he loved.
The masterplan that was presented in 2006 to serve the people of The Gambia is still maintained by Global HOMM and is being expanded to serve the rural population with a facility in each Region of The Gambia. Besides the service delivery of health, the education of the next generation of healthcare professionals, there is expectant workforce development. “If health is wealth, then the lack of health must be poverty” (Professor Khama Rogo)
To state that the Claim for possession before the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court was not determined on its merits is a farce. The witnesses for Home of Medical Mission testified in the suit and upon closing its case the State reopened its case. A crucial part of the evidence that was adduced by the State in particular by the Deputy Director of Lands and Surveys was that the State could not defend the action because the records at the Lands Department indicate that the property belongs to Home of Medical Mission. It was in consequence of that piece of evidence that the State eventually conceded to the Claim. The case was therefore heard and determined on its merits leading to the admission of liability by the State.
The State never sought at the time to compulsorily acquire the said property. If for anything the State made an attempt by way of an application to strike out the suit on the representation that the property was one of those acquired by Yaya Jammeh and therefore a subject of the Janneh Commission, which was in fact false. The said application was dismissed by the Court. The State thereafter accepted payment of Land Rent from the Mission in the sum of D589,500 (Five Hundred and Eighty-Nine Thousand, Five Hundred Dalasi Only) covering the period of 2007 to 2020. Why then did they accept and receive the said payment if as the Attorney General claims they intended to compulsorily acquire the property considering also to the fact that such a payment should have been waived since during the period 2010 to 2019 when the property was wrongfully in the possession of the State until it was handed by the said court judgement in September, 2019.
In order to circumvent the judgement of the Magistrates’ Court, the State clandestinely acquired the property without the due process and after they had received D589, 500 (Five Hundred and Eighty-Nine Thousand, Five Hundred Dalasi Only) as land rent payment from the Mission. No notice was served on the Mission neither was the said notice to acquire gazetted as required by law. At a meeting held between Dr. Gabou Mendy, a member of Global Hearts of Medical Mission (Global HOMM) (a registered legal entity in The Gambia and for whom the Home of Medical Mission acted as Trustees for the acquisition of the said property in The Gambia) and the President, H.E. Adama Barrow, at the State House the President revealed to him that he had received $87,000,000.00 from a Foreign Investor to build a 5 Star Hotel for the purposes of the OIC three day Conference after which the property would revert to the said Investor. This discussion was later confirmed in a recorded conversation between Neneh Freda Gomez and the Government spokesperson Ebrima Sankareh. The Attorney General in his attempt to mislead the public in his Press Statement has been very economical in the non-disclosure of these facts.
The illegal acquisition of the property by the State led to the filing of an application in court seeking to set aside the said acquisition as being illegal and unconstitutional and for a declaration that the purpose for which the said property was acquired was not for public use bearing in mind that the State can acquire one’s property only where the purpose is for public use or where the lessee has failed to adhere to the terms of his lease and in both cases due processes must be followed before such an acquisition. In presenting the said application before the High Court, the Mission produced the judgement of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court and the lease granted to Home of Medical Mission by the State. What eventually broke the camel’s back was the subsequent production of the transcript recorded conversation between Sankareh and Gomez. The State immediately conceded that the acquisition was not only illegal but was also not for public use and Orders of the Court to that effect were granted accordingly with Cost of D500,000.00 awarded in favour of the Mission. At no time did the High Court in its Ruling state that a declaration of title was no bar to the State initiating and completing the acquisition process in line with the Land Acquisition Act as again misrepresented by the Attorney General.
As falsely stated in the Attorney General’s Press Statement nowhere in any of the Affidavits of Neneh Gomez did she depose to the fact that Home of Medical Mission was a registered entity in The Gambia. All the Affidavits of Neneh Gomez clearly established that the Global HOMM under whose umbrella Home of Medical Mission exist is a registered legal entity in The Gambia and the United States of America which the said registration the Attorney General himself has confirmed in his Press Statement.
It is unimaginable that as a lawyer, the Attorney General, would state that the Judgements/Orders of the courts in favour of Home of Medical Mission are unenforceable. It is a basic principle of law that all judgements and Orders of Courts are valid and subsist until set aside. Even the layperson knows this basic principle. The Attorney General has produced no order of court setting aside any of these Judgements/Orders. I dare to say that contrary to the misunderstanding of the law by the Attorney General all the orders obtained by the Mission are enforceable and subsist to date.
Contrary to the representation by the Attorney General, the Mission produced in court a Resolution by Global HOMM appointing a Committee known as Home of Medical Mission as its Trustee in the acquisition of the said lease property in The Gambia as well as a Certified True copy of the Certificate of Incorporation of Global HOMM in The Gambia authenticated by the Registrar General. In fact the production of these documents led to the withdrawal by the State of its application to strike out the suit on the ground that Home of Medical Mission did not exist and the application was struck out by the High Court. It is again a misrepresentation by the Attorney General that the Mission failed to produce any documents establishing the legal existence of Home of Medical Mission.
It is ironical that the Attorney General would state that a non-legal entity cannot own land when it is the State itself that granted the lease to the Mission, permitted the Mission to develop the said land and even after the judgement of the Magistrates’ Court accepted payment of land rent from the same Mission in the sum of D589,550 (Five Hundred and Eighty-Nine Thousand, Five Hundred and Fifty Dalasi Only) which up to date has not been refunded by the State if indeed the State believed that Home of Medical Mission is a non-legal entity. This then begs the question, if indeed the Mission cannot own land why then does the State want to compensate the Mission with another land by reason of its illegal acquisition of the Mission’s property? The Attorney General has said that they have transferred the property to a Private Investor to build a hotel for the OIC Conference. The question is how can the State transfer the said property to a Private Investor when they have not yet acquired the property from the Mission. With my little knowledge of the law I know that one cannot give what he/she does not have. Ownership of the property remains in the Mission and therefore the State could not have legitimately transferred it to anyone else.
The application by the Mission for a writ of mandamus to issue was against the Inspector General of Police to compel him to remove the Anti-Crime Unit from the said property. On the day the matter came up for continuation of hearing the Anti-Crime Unit had already vacated the property and the Sheriff of The Gambia had given the Mission possession of the property in execution of the judgement of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court. As such, the application had been overtaken by events. Effectively, there was no need to proceed with the application because what the application sought for had already been done. This was what led to the withdrawal of the application by the Mission, again conceded to by the State in Court.
The community of Bijilo and beyond who have utilized the services of the Clinic/Hospital on the property when it was in operation will confirm that at no time was any patient charged even a butut for treatment at the Clinic/Hospital. There was a standard fee for registration. In fact the natives of Bijilo will tell you that an announcement was done at the Mosque in Bijilo every week inviting people to come to the clinic for treatment free of charge and for those who were unable to come to the Clinic the doctors would treat them at the Alkalo’s house every Tuesday or Thursday of every week. Up to date Global HOMM continues to deliver free medical treatment in the rural areas. It is therefore shameful of the Attorney General to utter such false statements in an unsuccessful attempt to disparage the Representatives of the Mission and what it stands for. The derogatory statements made by the Attorney General without regard to the $87,000,000.00 (Eight Seven Thousand Dollars only) received by the President coupled with the illegal actions by the State is more suited for the President and his Executive and not the Mission who have never asked the State or its people for a butut in its objective to provide mankind with adequate health care.
This property has never been in the hands of the Gambia Tourism Authority but property previously owned by one Masseray Faal, who graciously gave up her land for a purpose greatly beneficial to the Gambian people. In fact, there is no justification for not having a hospital within the Tourism Development area. After all there are other medical facilities such as Lamtoro Medical Clinic operational within the TDA and another upcoming. The said Clinic/Hospital apart from serving the Gambian Community can be utilized by the surrounding tourism developments to treat their staff and guests. We all know given the appalling situation with the State’s Hospitals/Clinics that such a facility is desperately needed. It is absurd that the State wishes to replace such a public use for private use. This Clinic/Hospital we believe is more of a public use than the building of a hotel meant for THREE DAY OIC Conference to be utilized by a few and which is not likely to hold in March, 2022.
Just recently on the 17th day of November, 2021 the High Court in an application by Neneh Freda Gomez and others seeking for declaration that their earlier arrest and detention by the State was unlawful again held that she and the other applicants were in lawful occupation of the said property belonging to Home of Medical Mission and therefore declared such arrest and detention unlawful. The Court further ordered the unconditional release of Neneh Freda Gomez and others forthwith with compensation of D100,000.00 (One Hundred Thousand Dalasi Only) to each of them payable by the State. Barely a day after the said Orders the State has again gone on a rampage to unlawfully arrest Neneh Gomez and Lamin Sey for being in lawful occupation of the same property.
Miss Neneh Freda Gomez the Country Coordinator representing the Mission in country has always acted in accordance with the Law and will continue to act within the scope of the judgement and rulings of the Court. Miss Gomez in our view is resilient, has fortitude, endurance, faith and an awe-inspiring character. She is a true citizen of the soil with genuine intentions for the people of The Gambia. No harassment or failed attempt to intimate and slander Neneh Freda Gomez can stop the Mission except by Order of Court. The attempt by the Attorney General and the State to take the law into their own hands is an abuse of their powers. As it is often said “POWER CORRUPTS AND ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY.” Despite all odds we will never relent on our objective at all material time to obey the Law and protect our rights.
|Posted - 23 Nov 2021 : 14:22:44
The Position of Conscientious Citizens on the Global HOMM Issue
By Madi Jobarteh
To get to the point, the concern of conscientious citizens like myself and civil society in general is to make sure that the rule of law is followed in the Gambia at all times. In this regard, the Government bears primary duty to follow the due process which is necessary to restraint the power of the State not to harm citizens and their property and entities. Therefore, the involvement and interest of conscientious citizens and civil society at large in this matter is to protect the rule of law.
Conscientious citizens are not in this matter to defend Global HOMM or Nenneh Freda Gomez personally. I would assume Global HOMM and Nenneh are capable of defending themselves through due process. Hence the press release from the Ministry of Justice must be understood in its proper context so that citizens are not misled while injustice is allowed to perpetuate.
The matter that concerns conscientious citizens is that the courts of the Gambia, at the magistrate and high court levels, had ruled that Global HOMM should be given possession of the property they claim. The high court went further to give authority to the Sheriff’s division to execute the decision.
Therefore, the Government of the Gambia is bound by law to respect and uphold these court judgements even if it wishes to challenge them. Until their application against these judgments are decided in their favour, the existing judgments stand and must be respected by all and sundry including the Government.
Therefore, the entire narrative provided by the Ministry of Justice about the legality or criminality or otherwise of Global HOMM and Nenneh Fred Gomez is immaterial since social media is not a court nor is a press release a court judgment. The Ministry has the right to present what it considers to be evidence or truth to the court in fighting its battle.
Thus, for us the conscientious citizens, what we have seen is the due process unfolding from Point A to Point Z that has led to the conclusion that the said land should be possessed by this NGO. The rulings never said the land should be denied or taken away from Global HOMM. I am sure if this was the ruling, we would not be in this predicament right now.
Thus, let the Ministry of Justice take its fight to the courts and seek what it wishes to seek. But until the court rules otherwise, all conscientious citizens must stand up to demand that the Gambia Government respect the prevailing court judgements which is to allow Global HOMM acquire their property hence allow their officials such as Nenneh access and use their property as they wish. This is the language of the law and justice. Anything contrary to this would tantamount to contempt of court, abuse of power and violation of human rights.
We do not need the Attorney General to pontificate about his Ministry’s convictions and intentions. Rather we need the Minister of Justice to demonstrate that commitment by submitting his Ministry and the entire Government to the rule of law. No more. No less.
I could highlight lot of issues raised in this press release that are very concerning. But I will not, because I am not the defender of neither Global HOMM nor Nenneh. I am a defender of the rule of law and human rights hence hold the Government accountable for that matter. Therefore, as citizens let us distinguish the grain from the chaff so that we remain focused in protecting what is right.
For The Gambia Our Homeland
|Posted - 22 Nov 2021 : 21:57:09
Gainako FACTCHECK: MoJ Statement on Dispute over former Anti-Crime Premises at Bijilo
|Posted - 22 Nov 2021 : 21:32:49
Gov’t Says Jammeh Illegally Issued Land To Global Hearts Of Medical Mission
Kerrfatou: Nov 22, 2021
By Buba Gagigo
In a statement, the Attorney General’s Chambers and The Ministry Of Justice has said that former president Yahya Jammeh issued to Global Hearts of Medical Mission (GHoMM) the property in Bijilo without following due process.
The full statement reads: “The uproar that followed the arrest of Ms Neneh Freda Gomez on suspicion of obstruction and idle and disorderly conduct has necessitated the release of this statement. As stated in our previous statement, the lack of an elaborate response by this office has been as a result of the pendency of this matter before the Courts. This silence on our part has led to the propagation of blatant falsehoods in an attempt to influence public opinion. The facts of this matter are as follows:
“1. In 2007 a Korean-American Christian medical missionary organisation known as Global Hearts of Medical Mission made an elaborate presentation to former President Jammeh on the establishment of a state of the art medical facility to deliver free medical services to underprivileged members of the public. Following this presentation, without following due process and contrary to law, former President Jammeh gave an executive directive for a lease to be issued to the said organisation within the Tourism Development Area (TDA), an area reserved for tourism-related facilities. Furthermore, former President Jammeh gave an executive directive for the organisation to be promptly issued with an NGO certificate even though the law requires operation for two years before the issuance of an NGO certificate.
“2. In 2007 Global Hearts of Medical Mission set up its operations at the property in question and provided medical services to the public until they were expelled by former President Jammeh in 2010, on allegations of their failure to provide free medical services as promised. Following this, the former President illegally converted the property into a base for the “Green Boys”.
“3.Upon assumption of office in 2017, the Government dispatched a high-level delegation which included 2 Cabinet Ministers and the Director of Health to meet with the head of the Global Hearts of Medical Mission in the United States and invite them to return to The Gambia to continue their work of providing charitable medical services as per their initial proposal. The Government however informed the organisation that the land previously allocated to them was not properly allocated as it was within the area reserved for tourism development facilities. The Government, therefore, informed them that they will be allocated another parcel of land in an area suitable for the establishment of a charitable hospital for the provision of free medical services for the less privileged.
“4. Global Hearts of Medical Mission denied all attempts by the Government to allocate them with an alternative piece of land and insisted on keeping the mostly vacant parcel of land measuring 9 hectares within the TDA. At the time, the Government was in the early stages of planning for the hosting of the upcoming OIC summit and required land to build executive lodging facilities for the Heads of State and Government who will be participating in the said summit. The area in question was deemed to be the most suitable land for the development and importantly it was consistent with its lawful status as TDA land.
“5. According to law, all state land is vested with the Government for management in the public interest. Accordingly, all leaseholders are tenants of the state who may not be dispossessed of the land unless due process is followed. The Land Acquisition Act permits the state to compulsorily acquire any state land from a leaseholder as far as such land is acquired for a public purpose and the leaseholder is compensated.
“6. A complaint was filed on the 20th of March 2019 by “Home of Medical Mission” at the Kanifing Magistrate’s Court for possession of the land in question. In light of the Government’s intention to follow the process of compulsory acquisition, the Government conceded to the claim with the clear intention of pursuing the compulsory acquisition route.
“7. Following the Magistrate Court judgement which for purposes of clarity was not on the merits but rather as a result of a technical concession by the State, the Department of Lands initiated the process of compulsory acquisition on the 20 of March 2020. In line with the law, the Government still maintained its desire to adequately compensate the claimants but the claimants rebuffed all approaches from the Government.
“8. Following this, Home of Medical Mission made another application before the High Court on the 26th of May 2020 challenging the compulsory acquisition of the property, based on a gazetting step that was inadvertently skipped by the state in the course of the acquisition process. In this matter, the court made it very clear that a declaration of title was no bar to the state initiating and completing the acquisition process in line with the Land Acquisition Act. The State again made a technical concession with the intention of properly complying with the process laid out in the Lands Acquisition Act, contained in the judgement of 29thJune 2020.
“9. It will be recalled that all the suits were initiated in the name of Home of Medical Mission, the same name that was on the lease issued under executive directive by former President Jammeh. In an attempt to settle the cost order in that matter, it became apparent that there was no organisation existing by the name of Home of Medical Mission. A thorough search at the Companies Registry revealed that Home of Medical Mission has never been incorporated in The Gambia or anywhere for that matter contrary to the representations made by Ms Gomez in her affidavit. Because the judgement was in favour of “Home of Medical Mission” which does not exist, it was and remains unenforceable.
“10.This discovery revealed that the Claimants intentionally misled the Courts and the Government by bringing a suit on behalf of an organisation that does not exist, and cannot sue or hold title to land. The Government requested the Claimants to provide evidence of their existence as a legal entity but until now they have been unable to do so. It is important to state again that it was the current Government that invited the claimants back to The Gambia after their faith believing the Home of Medical Mission was a legal entity. The law is very clear on this, a non-legal entity cannot own land. Similarly, a non-existing entity cannot sue or be sued as no judgement can be enforced against or in its favour.
“11. At the time, the claimants had an application before the High Court for an order of mandamus to compel the lGP to vacate the land in question. In light of the discovery, the state made an application to dismiss the application on the grounds that the Plaintiff does not exist. There is no existing law or scenario that will permit a non-existing entity to initiate and maintain a lawsuit. On the day the matter was set for hearing. fearing a ruling on their non-existence, the Claimants Surprisingly Withdrew their claim.
“12. Following the Claimants’ surprise withdrawal of their application, the state applied to set aside the High Court’s judgement dated 29 June 2020 on the grounds that the judgement was fraudulently obtained and the Claimants do not exist. This application is scheduled to be heard on the 2 of December 2021 and we are confident that this will lay bare the deception that has been perpetrated by the claimants. This follows a trend of individuals applying for allocations under the guise of implementing public interest projects and then turning around to utilise these lands for-profit-making ventures.
“13.As things stand there is no entity in existence by the name of Home of Medical Mission. Ms Gomez cannot, therefore, be said to represent an organisation that does not exist. Similarly, the land in question has never been held by Global Hearts of Medical Mission, which Ms Gomez purports to represent. As such all previous judgements are unenforceable as there is no beneficiary in existence.
“14. It is interesting to note that the original proposal made by Global Heats of Medical Mission to former President Jammeh was tor a charity hospital. The constant persistence by Ms Gomez to try to bend the law and mislead the public is non-surprising given credible reports that Ms Gomez is in discussions with several investors to develop a private for-profit hospital and hotel on the land which is valued at millions of dollars. This is immoral, deceptive, and constitutes an attempt at unjust enrichment by Ms Gomez and her associates at the expense of the Gambian public.
“15. The Government through the OIC issued a public call for proposals and following a transparent process has entered into a joint venture to build and operate a 5-star resort that will host the Heads of State during the OIC summit. This development which will be rightfully situated in the TDA will create thousands of jobs in the tourism sector and will form a key part of the Government’s plans to make the Gambia a high-value year-round tourist destination.
“16. Despite everything, the Government is and has always been willing to work with Global Hearts of Medical Mission to lawfully allocate them with a sufficient expanse of land in an area suitable for the seeing up of a charitable hospital as far as they comply with their original proposal to build a charitable health facility could utilise in furthering this deception. We have full trust in our law enforcement and judicial institutions and a ruling by the court on a previous arrest is in no way a bar to the police doing their job on a subsequent suspected offence. The Police have been deployed to provide security at the property.
“17. Ms Gomez has for months now embarked on a campaign of public deception and has intentionally provoked law enforcement to elicit a reaction which she could utilise in furthering this deception. We have full trust in our law enforcement and judicial institutions and a ruling by the court on a previous arrest is in no way a bar to the police doing their job on a subsequent suspected offence. The Police have been deployed to provide security at the property which has since been allocated by the state to a Public Private Partnership company, for the purpose of constructing the OIC 5-star resort.
“18. It is undisputed that Global Hearts of Medical Mission, which Ms Gomez purports to represent, does not and has never held title to the land in question. We challenge Ms Gomez to produce any evidence to the contrary. We are resolute in our position and are confident that after the hearing on the 2d of December this matter will be resolved once and for all.
“19. We wish to assure the general public of our commitment to Human Rights and the Rule of Law. We have confidence in our judicial system and to date have not disregarded any of the Court’s orders. We believe the Judiciary is adequately placed to deal with all issues at stake in this matter and the Complainants ought to know that disputes are not resolved through Social Media.
“20.All statements characterising her arrest on Friday 19th November 2021 as arbitrary are premature, biased and made without due recourse to the state’s position on this matter. We urge members of the public, institutions and civil society to refrain from making conducive statements on these events without proper consultations or verification,” it ends.
This medium would make efforts to get the version of the representative of the Global Home of Medical Mission for their response.
|Posted - 21 Nov 2021 : 13:53:17
A Crime against the Republic
By Madi Jobarteh
The illegal arrest and unlawful detention of Nenneh Freda Gomez and Lamin Sey is not about them alone. It is about the very sovereignty of each and every citizen. It is about the very purpose of the Republic in which the State derives its authority and legitimacy and power from the people for only one purpose: to protect the rights and fulfill the needs of citizens. No more. No less.
Hence in this Republic the State is given the authority to make and enforce those laws in line with the will and rights of citizens. The State is further empowered with resources from the citizens to enable it to execute its functions of rights protection and service delivery. The State therefore is a rights protector and a service provider! No more. No less.
From that perspective, it is therefore an aberration to have the State damage citizen rights and fail to deliver services. This is because citizens have already and are paying for these functions of the State, after having given them the mandate which comes in the form of power, authority and legitimacy. It is that mandate that also imposes obligations on the State to protect and to provide.
What is happening to Nenneh and Lamin therefore is the State failing to uphold their obligations as per the mandate given them to protect and to provide. One of those obligations is for the organs of the State to respect, uphold and execute court judgements. Court judgements are tools and vehicles to protect rights and provide services, and to maintain law and order hence restrain both the State and citizens from taking the law into their own hands.
Instead, what the IGP Abdoulie Sanyang has done in this case is to take the law into his own hands by flouting court judgements which is a crime as contempt of court. IGP Sanyang is emboldened in this crime by the Attorney General Dawda Jallow, who as legal adviser and the Chief Law Enforcer of the Republic should have told IGP Abdoulie Sanyang to release Nenneh and Lamin, and rather enforce the court judgements in this case.
AG Jallow should go further to advise President Adama Barrow that the Government has no power to seize a private property. He should have advised Barrow that there are land laws which give power to the Government to take any leased land provided it makes sure it also provides the right compensation to the owner.
Hence if the Government truly needs the Global HOMM property, all that the Government could do is to notify the organization of Government’s intention to take the land so that a proper compensation is provided to them. Similarly, the Government could decide to buy or ask for donation of part or whole of the land to the Government.
Therefore, what is happening to Nenneh and Lamin is beyond these two people. The fact is that it is our Government that is acting contrary to the very foundation and purpose of this Republic as a democracy guided by good governance principles based on the sovereignty and rights of citizens. A Government that undermines republican values and standards is a rogue government. Republican values and standards are rooted in the human rights and dignity of citizens protected by law and the rule of law.
Therefore it must be clear to all citizens that a heinous crime against the Republic is therefore being committed by the President Adama Barrow, AG Dawda A. Jallow, and IGP Abdoulie Sanyang. Today or tomorrow they must face accountability for this crime and be punished accordingly. I wish to therefore put the State House of The Gambia on notice and the Ministry Justice to this travesty.
I wish to put on notice the National Human Rights Commission, The Gambia as well as the National Assembly of The Gambia to this high crime against the Republic and gross violation of the human rights of citizens.
All citizens must protest this travesty of justice and the bastardization of the Republic by a bunch of unconscionable elected and appointed public officials for their own selfish interests. All citizens must rise up to challenge the Government and defend the Republic by standing against abuse of power and disregard of the law! This is the high crime that Pres. Adama Barrow and AG Dawda Jallow and IGP Abdoulie Sanyang are currently committing. They are threatening the existence, survival, peace and stability of the Republic! That is a crime against the Republic and tantamount to treason!
For The Gambia Our Homeland
|Posted - 20 Nov 2021 : 17:40:26
Democracy under Threat. Our Rights at Risk.
My Madi Jobarteh
For your information, Nenneh and Lamin Sey have spent the night at Senegambia police station after the Station Officer there had said he will charge them and then bail them to go home. But as soon as they were charged by his officers for obstructing police officers, the Station Officer disappeared. His phone was unreachable and his officers said they won’t release Nenneh and Lamin until they get order from their Station Officer who was nowhere to be seen.
Consequently these innocent citizens were forced to spend the night in the police station! It was clear that the police were getting orders from elsewhere to detain these people. It is unfortunate that until today our police will allow themselves to be used for political purposes. Very tragic.
Gambians, let us understand what is happening and stand up to defend our rights and hold the Government accountable. If we allow a citizen and an organization to be subjected to such intimidation and violence by forcefully seizing their property by none other than the Government itself, rest assured that the rights and properties of each one of us are also at risk. The action of the Government tantamount to armed robbery!
This issue is about a land in Bijilo which belongs the Global HOMM, an NGO that provides free healthcare services to communities.
But the property was first seized by Tyrant Jammeh, even though it was during that time the Government allocated the land to them. This was mentioned in the Janneh Commission report that the land was leased to Global HOMM. So the land is indeed their property. In fact they had started building structures of a healthy facility there since the days of the Dictatorship.
But Dictator Jammeh forcefully took it and lodged his despicable Green Youths there. After the end of that regime, the Government of Adama Barrow also decided to lodge the Anti Crime Unit there instead of peacefully returning the property to its rightful owners!
Global HOMM then took the matter to court and obtained judgements in their favour in both the magistrates and high courts. The court then gave an order to the Sheriff to execute the judgements which were that the Government to allow Global HOMM to take possession of the property because it is theirs.
But since then the Barrow Government has refused to accept the court rulings but rather decide to flout them with impunity. Just last month when Nenneh and staff went to do work in their property they found paramilitary police stationed there who prevented them from entering the property. When Nenneh insisted, the police arrested her and Lamin. They decided to challenge their arrest in court and a month later the court ruled that their arrest was unlawful and they should be compensated D100,000, just 3 days ago.
But yesterday, November 19, Nenneh and Lamin got arrested again when they went to visit their property.
The Gambia Government has a duty to respect the rule of law and this includes to uphold court rulings. The Gambia Government should not be the one to flout court rulings but to enforce them. But what is happening to Nenneh and Lamin is a clear case of Government acting like a gangster who has no regard for civilized and lawful behavior. This misconduct by the Government is a direct threat to each and every citizen.
It is unfortunate that 5 years after voting out the Dictatorship that until today dictatorial practices continue to prevail. It shows that when this Government of Adama Barrow continues in power indeed dictatorship shall return to The Gambia once again in full. There’s no other way to explain it.
This is because The Gambia Government knows that if indeed it needs any leased land the law provides that it can acquire that land from its rightful owner and compensate accordingly. Hence the Government has powers to take this property from Global HOMM without having to use any force and treachery. All that the Government could do is to notify Global HOMM about its intentions and ensure they provide the right compensation to the organization.
Alternatively, the Government can engage the organization amicably to ask them to donate full or part of the land so that they compensate the organization with another piece of land somewhere else. Many things are possible to do without the use of force and violence. Unfortunately, our Government led by the President and the Attorney General have decided to become armed robbers against innocent citizens and a legitimate organization!
This is how matters stand. Therefore if you are a citizen with conscience then get up to show solidarity with Nenneh and Lamin. This is in your own personal interest because if you defend a right by stopping the Government from destroying it, you are effectively protecting your own right.
If we allow the Government to use violence to seize these people’s rights successfully then rest assured that one day your own right is also going to be taken away by force. Therefore go and show solidarity with Nenneh and Lamin and demand the Government to protect and not to damage rights.
Now look at an innocent Gambian woman curled up in the verandah of a police station forcefully seized by the powers that should protect her! Is this right and legal?
For The Gambia Our Homeland
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