Case Between Rongo, Alkalo Of Banjulunding Proceeds

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By Yankuba Jallow

Justice Achibonga has granted Momodou Lamin Jarju alias Rongo another chance to file his amended statement of defence in the case between him and Momodou Lungs Jarju, the Alkalo of Banjulinding, and to serve the latter.

If readers can recall, Justice Simeon Ateh Abi (as he then was), declared on the 21st of July 2016, that Rongo and his late father trespassed on a reserved land belonging to the community of Banjulinding.

The case was instituted by Momodou Lungs Jarju, with Rongo claiming that the land belongs to his late father but the Alkalo claimed the contrary, saying that the land is a reserved land for the community of Banjulinding. The decision of the Court went against Rongo and they are now before the Supreme Court.

While at the Supreme Court, Rongo filed a motion asking to be granted a chance to file additional documents which he could not lay hands on during the trial at the high court. The motion succeeded and the case was remitted from the Supreme Court to Justice Achibonga of the high court, to receive the new documents that Rongo listed in the motion.

Rongo on Monday appeared in person while Lungs Jarju was represented by Senior Lawyer Kebba Sanyang.

Justice Achibonga told Rongo that what he understood from the Supreme Court order was limited to receiving the documents he listed in his motion, which he could not have received during the trial. He mentioned that he did not understand the order to mean calling new witnesses to give evidence before him. He reiterated that he is limited to receive the listed documents which Rongo intends to file and remit the case back to the Supreme Court.

Rongo listed some witnesses, but the Judge told him that he is limited to receiving documents which does not extend to hearing new witnesses. He told the artist that the case is not a re-trial.

The Judge told Rongo that he can still go back to the Supreme Court to seek explanation of the order made. In reaction, Rongo said he is satisfied with the explanation of the judge who again reiterated that Rongo can still can back to the Supreme Court and seek elaborate explanation of the order. But Rongo maintained that he was satisfied with the explanation provided.

The Judge then told Lawyer Kebba Sanyang that he did not file an amended statement of defence. In reply, Lawyer Sanyang said there is no amendment to the statement Rongo filed.

“I have amended it,” Rongo said.

“It was not amended,” Lawyer Sanyang said.

“I have amended it and served it on Counsel. Let him check from his file because he was served,” Rongo said.

The Judge told Rongo that the Supreme Court did not ask him to amend his affidavit of statement.

“You are asked to amend your statement of defence. The only process you can amend is your statement of defence,” Justice Achibonga said. He told Rongo that even the additional or further affidavit of statement he will be filing, should only be limited to the listed documents in the motion filed at the Supreme Court.

“You are required to file an additional or a further affidavit. You cannot go back and bring things that are not contained in the Supreme Court order,” Achibonga said. That the reason why Rongo cannot amend his affidavit of statement was because the courts have already relied on it and delivered judgment. He added that the only thing Rongo can do is to leave it as it is and file an additional one.

The case was then adjourned to the 1st of February 2023 at 10:30 am. The Judge said Rongo has no right to call new witnesses because that was not what the Supreme Court order stated. He struck out the affidavit of witnesses’ statements which Rongo wanted to use to call on new witnesses, and asked him to serve Momodou Lungs the amended statement of defence or counterclaim. That Lungs Jarju will have 21 days to file his reply or response from the date of service.