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Court orders police to pay over D150,000 damages to Jawara’s son

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By Tabora Bojang

The Kanifing Magistrates’ Court has ordered the Gambia Police Force to pay over D150,000 as damages and other costs to Modou Musa Jawara, son of former president, Sir Dawda Jawara, for illegally impounding his vehicle since March last year.

The judgement delivered by Magistrate Elizabeth Dunn further directed the police to hand over possession of Mr Jawara’s Peugeot 3008 vehicle, which was parked at the Kotu Police Station.

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The judgement follows a suit filed by Jawara who was legally represented in the case by FC Forster in which police officer Sgt Katim Sarr is cited as the first defendant and the IGP as the second respondent.

A summary of the plaintiff’s oral evidence cited by Magistrate Dunn stated that Jawara was driving his vehicle through Serekunda when it had a breakdown. As a result he parked by the roadside, uninterrupted by the traffic and put on his hazard lights. 

Mr Jawara then sought the help of his mechanic who came to the scene with his assistant. Jawara and the mechanic left the vehicle in the care of the assistant for it to be towed by a taxi.

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Subsequently, Jawara received a call from Sgt Sarr, informing him that his vehicle would be towed. In response Jawara explained that the vehicle was not abandoned but that his mechanic’s assistant was making arrangements for a tow truck to pick it up. Jawara eventually went to the police station to retrieve the vehicle and was told to pay D4,000 for its release which he declined.

Jawara told the court that the vehicle had been in the possession of the police since 20th March, 2023 and in that period, the police did not prefer any charges against him and that the windscreen was broken under police custody.

He told the court that the vehicle was bought for D750,000 and that its documents including insurance were valid at the time.

Delivering her judgement on 30th January, Magistrate Dunn stated that the police neither entered a defence nor contested the evidence of Mr Jawara under oath.

She said in view of this, the court had no choice but to regard the evidence of Mr Jawara as “cogent, consistent and proven”.

She ordered Sgt Sarr to hand over the vehicle to Mr Jawara; pay damages of 674.84 Pounds Sterling for the broken windscreen; and D100,000 for legal and other costs.

Yesterday, Mr Jawara told The Standard that he visited the offices of the commissioner of mobile police, Lamin Colley, in an unsuccessful bid to retrieve his vehicle.

The Standard sought comments from the police spokesperson but she was not available while her deputy promised to inquire and get back to us.

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