Sunday, October 17, 2021

Global HOMM Still Struggling to Take Over Their Property from the State

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By Yankuba Jallow

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.

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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.

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