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Monday, April 15, 2024
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GT Board abandons D21M case against Lerr Group

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By Bruce Asemota

The high court in Banjul has struck out the civil suit filed by the Gambia Tourism Board against Lerr Group for lack of diligent prosecution.

On 23 June 2022, Gambia Tourism Board filed a suit against Lerr Group claiming the sum of D21,266,906 being an outstanding amount for the building of three eco lodges in Barra, Kunkilling and Sotuma Samba.

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Presiding judge Ebrima Jaiteh said after the suit was filed in June 2022, GTB never made any effort to serve the amended writ of summons on Lerr Group Gambia Ltd and consequently the writ expired after one year.

According to the affidavit statement of Adama Njie, director of marketing of Gambia Tourism Board, the agency entered into a written agreement with Lerr Group in March 2019 to construct five eco lodges at Barra, Kunkilling Forest Park, Sotuma Samba Koi, Nyanga Bantang and Arafat Jahur Mandinka for the sum of D111,690,525 inclusive of VAT.

Lerr Group was to carry out construction in phases and GTB was to pay 40 per cent upon signing the contract, 40 per cent upon completion, 10 per cent after 12 months and the final 10 per cent to be paid thereafter.

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Ms Njie’s affidavit revealed that a letter dated 6 April 2020 instructed payment of D38,848,878 to Lerr Group through Skye Bank account which payment was posted.

The affidavit also revealed that GTB also paid D5 million to Lerr through Mega Bank. However, GT Board claimed it did not realise “any effective and satisfactory work” at the sites even after these payments.

This prompted the agency to hire Horizon Technical Services, an independent valuator with the consent of Lerr Group to confirm whether the amount paid to the defendant was appropriately and properly used.

The affidavit disclosed that after a conducted audit, report showed that Lerr Group Gambia Ltd had not used D21,266,906.00 for eco lodges at Barra, Kunkilling and Sotuma Samba which became subject of litigation at the high court. However, GT Board did not make any effort to serve Lerr Group with the writ of summons and consequently the writ expired and consequently the judge struck out the suit for lack of diligent prosecution by the plaintiff.

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