From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Lands Minister Flouts Civil Court Orders
By Dauda Koroma
Jul 19, 2010, 12:24

When the Attorney-General caused a nolle prosequi to be entered in for a criminal matter brought by bonafide citizens of Sierra Leone against the countrys errant Lands Minister, a few people had believed that instead of a criminal action, a civil action might have sufficed. However, from reports reaching this press, it appears as if the Minister does not respect either civil or criminal courts let alone respect lawful Court Orders.


Minister Dennis Sandy is alleged to be continuing to ignore a recent Civil Court Order for the Minister to remove himself and his staff from the habit of encroaching on a piece of land belonging to the descendants of one Dr. John Abayomi Cole, now deceased.


A long civil court battle between the Ministry and George Agibade Johnson and Mrs. Joyce Dunie Johnson as the administration and trustee of the estate of Dr. John Abayomi Cole (deceased inestate) has ended with the Law Court Judge, Hon. Mrs. Justice A. Showers J.A., ordering on Wednesday 21st April 2010 for the Abayomi Cole family to be immediately granted leave to issue a writ of possession to recover possession of all that land and hereditaments situate lying and being at Off Smart Farm Road, George Brook in Freetown as delineated on a survey plan No L.S 2064197 dated 5-2-91 covering an area of 96.6acres forming part of the estate of Dr. John Abayomi Cole (deceased) pursuant to the judgment of the high court dated 12th March 2010.


In other words, the Courts have ordered for the Abayomi Cole family to retake possession of their ancestral properties from the Ministry of Lands who had forcibly taken it over and redistributed the lands in an illegal manner.


However, despite this Order which has been served on the errant Minister, according to the Abayomi Cole family, the Minister has refused to cooperate with the family in having the Order executed and is instead continuing to lay claim to their family lands. According to Mrs. Dunie Johnson, the occupants placed on the land by the Ministry were still there and continuing to erect mansions whilst the Minister had openly boasted that despite the Court Order, his Ministry will not recognize the ownership of the land as belonging to its rightful owners. As a result, the Minister has ordered staff of the Ministry not to honour or sign any documents that would purport legal ownership of the lands to be that of the Abayomi Cole descendants.


We do not know what is going on. Our family is confused. The Courts have ordered for us to be granted possession but the Minister says No. Who is correct? Judiciary or Minister? We know not what is going on! Dunie Johnson said in a high pitched tone of agitated voice.


When the Awareness Times contacted the Lands Minister for his own side, he said he would not talk to any journalist. Go and write anything, the Minister said before he slammed the phone down.

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