By Bruce Asemota
Justice Sainabou Wadda Cisse of the High Court in Banjul has dismissed a suit filed by one Masaneh Kuyateh, acting Alkalo of Kiang Jouli village in the Lower River Region against one Yankuba Fatty, clerk of Lower River Region Group Tribunal, Jarra West District and the Attorney General and minister of Justice.
The presiding Judge also awarded the sum of D10.000.00 as cost in favour of Yankuba Fatty to be paid by acting Alkalo Masaneh Kuyateh.
Justice S.W.Cisse’s decision came in a ruling on an application filed by Masaneh Kuyateh asking the High Court to set aside (quash) the judgment of the Lower River Region Group Tribunal sitting at Jarra Soma.
The Lower River Region Group Tribunal in its judgment delivered on the 3rd January, 2020 granted a declaration of rightful ownership or title of ownership of Manaar village situated in Kiang West District.
Masaneh Kuyateh’s application is that the village of Manaar is part of Kiang Jouli whilst Yankuba Fatty, claimed that Manarr village is a village settlement independent of Kiang Jouli.
Masaneh Kuyateh alleged that he was not formerly informed about the transfer of the case from the Kiang West District Tribunal to the Lower River Region Group Tribunal but became aware of it when he was called to the police to answer to allegations made against him by Yankuba Fatty, clerk of the Lower River Region Group Tribunal and that he attended the hearing without adequate time to prepare for the case and organize his witnesses.
Masaneh Kuyateh also alleged that the records of proceedings did not reflect the entire evidence that was adduced before the Group Tribunal.
Justice Sainabou W.Cisse in her ruling stated that the court is concerned with the legality of the proceedings leading to the decision and not with the merit or correctness of the decision of the Group Tribunal.
Justice Cisse cited section 23 of the District Tribunal Act which empowers the Governor to transfer matters from one District Tribunal to another Tribunal at any stage.
Justice S.W.Cisse pointed out that from the affidavit evidence of Yankuab Fatty, it shows that the hearing was conducted over a period of three days before the Group Tribunal which Masaneh Kuyateh did not deny.
The Trial Judge also pointed out that there is nothing from Masaneh’s affidavit evidence suggesting that he requested for time to present more witnesses and was denied such request.
Justice Cisse stated that Masaneh Kuyateh participated in the proceedings without making any complaint of infringement of his rights.
Regarding the records of proceedings, the trial judge noted that errors or irregularities are not matters to be entertained in judicial review but best suited for an appeal court.
The Judge stated that the errors highlighted by Masaneh Kuyateh calls for the review of the entire proceedings of the Group Tribunal.
The Judge noted that an appeal would have been the most appropriate remedy that should have been explored by Masaneh Kuyateh and as a result the application filed by Masaneh Kuyateh to quash the judgment of the Lower River Group Tribunal is wrong and was refused and dismissed.