By Tabora Bojang
Residents of Sambang Mandinka in the Niamina Dankunku District have petitioned Governor Sulayman Barry of CRR, warning him not to attempt to change a judgment made in their favour over a disputed land between them and Sambang Fula Kunda.
A CRR North district tribunal had presided over the case and ruled in favour of Sambang Mandinka.
However Governor Barry recently wrote a letter to both parties to stay away from the land because the initial ruling had not reflected the true realities of the issue and all must wait until further notice.
But according to a petition signed by Tombong Jadama, prior to a letter sent by the governor which orders both parties to desist from any activities on the disputed lands, they have secured a valid judgment in their favour accompanied by a writ of possession from the Sheriff Division which was executed on 15 June.
The petition continued: ”Mr. Governor, if you really want to preside over this matter as a neutral person with no vested interest you should have done that well before the court proceedings start or before the judgment. Our position is that you can’t wait until after a valid judgment has been passed, then you now decide to deny us the rightful enjoyment of our property.”
The petitioners also alleged that Governor Barry’s claim that it was some oversights from the court scribe that led to the judgment delivered by the CRR North tribunal in their favor does not hold water.
”Even if the ‘mistake’ comes from the scribe, we want to put it to you that, the scribe is a court officer and he is part of the court, so the so-called ‘mistake’ of the scribe becomes the ‘mistake’ of the Court,” the petition stressed.
The petitioners further alleged that if a judge presided over a matter and claimed to have made a mistake after being pressurized by the dissatisfied aggrieved party, he can be forgiven for making that mistake but that does not mean that he can go back to “convene a private meeting with the Governor in an attempt to change the judgment.”
They said the governor and the court should have asked the losing party to proceed to the high court instead of what they called a ‘judicial summersault’ and the desperate attempt by the Governor to satisfy the other aggrieved party who claimed they are not happy with the verdict.
”The losing party took this position because they were given the impression by the Governor that he can change the judgment of the Court, without following the due process of the law. It has never happened in judicial or court history that, a court can make a ‘mistake’ and that very court can go back and call a side meeting in an attempt to change or rectify that purported ‘mistake’.
”We do hereby inform the Governor and his team that we will strive very hard for us not to get there, because the RIGHT we are talking here, is judicially enforceable and legally protected, by virtue of Section 22 – Protection from deprivation of property.”
The Standard contacted Governor Barry who confirmed that he was the one who asked both parties to stay away from the land but that decision was purely taken to avoid any clash between the two communities.
The governor said the Sambang Fula Kunda people had complained that the District tribunal’s verdict did not reflect what the tribunal s panel of judges decided on the matter and the error came from the court scribe.
“The panel of judges too agreed that the verdict was not what they have agreed and so I urged both parties to stay away from the land while I seek legal advise from the solicitor general. I have not overturn any decision at all. All what I did was to advise them two restrainc themselves until a final resolution is found, in the interest of peace,” Governor Barry said.