By Bruce Asemota
The Court of Appeal recently ordered M.A Kharafi Company Limited, Farm Food Gambia Limited and MAK Foods Limited to pay the Nyandu family of Pirang damages in the sum of D100.000.00 for the destruction of their Melina and cashew trees and another D100.000.00 as costs.
The court also ordered the Ministry of Local Government to prepare a valuation report of the suit land and for GIEPA to pay Nyandu family the amount indicated in the said valuation report.
The decision came in a lead judgment delivered by Justice Omar MM Njie, who set aside the judgment of the High Court, presided over by Justice J. E. Ikpala in 2014.
The appellant Ismaila Nyandu sued on behalf of his family on the basis that the land was inherited from his father who was earlier allocated the said land by the then Seyfo of Kombo East District, Touray Sanyang.
His lawyer Lamin L. Darboe argued that to say that Nyandu family did not prove that the land in dispute is situated in Pirang was an error because there was copious evidence showing the contrary.
The Court of Appeal established that the evidence adduced at the High Court suggested that the villages of Kuloro and Pirang are neighbours and most probably share boundary with the Nyandu family land.
The Court of Appeal pointed to what transpired at the disputed land, noting that in October 2008 when M.A Kharafi and Sons Company Limited took to the suit land their caterpillars uprooting the Nyandu family cashew trees and destroying their Melina plantation and when the appellant asked the Kharafi people to stop what they were doing and vacate the land, they refused and asked him to go to Government.
The Court of Appeal pointed out that the district authority and the trustees of land in the area under the Lands Provinces Act never denied that the suit land belonged to the appellant’s family or that they made it part of the area leased to the GIEPA who in turn sub-leased it to Farm Food Gambia Limited.