Falla Village Evictions: 60 Residents at Risk of Homelessness

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By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT

Context

Gainako’s Flex Dan and Muhammed MS Bah visited the Sheriff Department yesterday after visiting residents in Falla who have been served eviction notices. The residents claim “up to 60 residents are at risk of homelessness in the next four days, 14th January 2019″. One Bai Bojang who Falla residents alleged is from Sanyang is claiming ownership of a large piece of land belonging to 5 different compounds. The plaintiff Bai Bojang alleges that the land was given to him by his deceased Grandfather and has pursued a court ruling in his favour from the Kombo South District Tribunal. This court ruling is now being processed by the Sheriff Department of the High Court with an eviction notice.

Falla Residents Raise Concern

Falla is a small village located in Kombo South between Sanyang and Tujereng. Gainako’s duo visited the village on the last day of 2018 and spoke with three affected residents who raised concerns of being made homeless at the start of 2019. Patrick Gomez explained how they received the letter “upon the arrival of the letter I spoke to one Sanna Manneh from the Sheriff Department who delivered letters to the communities. I requested for a face to face meeting which he [Sanna Manneh] obliged to but never showed up.”

Soon after Patrick and his brother [Falla Alkalou] visited the High Court and meet the Sheriff who confirmed that he signed the letter. When his brother questioned the Sheriff that the letter had no ruling attached to it he responded that if there was no ruling he wouldn’t have signed it. That was when another person was referred to them to get the ruling which was then afforded to them.

Speaking to Patrick and the Alkalou we were made to understand that only Vincent Mendy received a court ruling from the Kombo South District Tribunal and it’s alleged that Vincent, also a Falla resident was not served with a court summons prior to receiving the ruling. However, what is most concerning is the allegations that the other four compounds received similar eviction notices without the necessary justification letters.

Further clarification is needed to understand if the other four compounds where sought from Vincent Mendy or if they are entirely separate from Vincent Mendy’s plot of land. To ascertain this Gainako visited the Sheriff Department yesterday to find out more.

Deputy Sheriff Speaks

Yesterday 9th January 2019, Deputy Sheriff, Seedy Fatty confirmed that “we never go to court, very soon you’ll see someone come with a court order, which then is assigned to a bailiff who hasn’t done anything. But it must be directed by the plaintiff who is going to be a pointer to us together with the sketch plan. We never go alone and we never go without doing the screening first. We always screen to know the real position from there we move. They are always accusing us but we then we are always clear on our work.”

Gainako proceeded to urge the Deputy Sheriff to “review this case because it’s involving 5 compounds, this needs checking because for them [residents]they are losing time by next week they may be homeless.” The Deputy Sheriff obliged and explained that he will go there and get in touch with Patrick Gomez. One Gainako staff present explained that “if you look at the environment [huge Kony and Cashews trees everywhere]you can tell that those people have been settled there for years. Raising concerns on how the court came to this ruling.”

The Deputy Sheriff explained that the Falla file was not with him at the moment for him to explain the situation clearly. However, during the discussions, he alluded that the land could belong to one person who may have shared it to other residents and in that case, only one person will be summoned to court. Further clarification will be sought with the Sheriff’s Department once they review the case.

On the other hand, it’s our understanding that if indeed all four plots of land are separate then the owners need to be afforded the opportunity to stand trial to prove ownership of the land against the plaintiff resulting in separate rulings from the District Tribunal. What also needs clarification is if Vincent was indeed served summons to attend the court case? This can only be answered by the Kombo South District Tribunal.

Residents Stand Firm amidst Government Appeal

In conclusion the Falla residents we spoke to on the last day of 2018 explained that they will not vacate their land and are ready for whatever may happen. They appealed to the authorities to deal with this issue swiftly to avoid a fall out between Falla residents and whoever wishes to enforce their eviction. It is alleged that all compounds served eviction notices are from the Manjago tribe. Our investigations will continue with all those involved including the Judicial Secretary.

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