The family of the late Alhaji Chondi Touray of Banjul has appealed to the government through the ministry of lands to intervene in a land dispute between them and Muhammed Jah of Qgroup.
The family said the land, Plot Number 32, situated at Old Jeshwang Layout, Extension 2, was allocated to Omar K Ceesay by the former president Yahya Jammeh in recognition of the gallant efforts of the Gambian national team. “Omar was part of the coaching staff. He leased it and went into agreement with our father to pay him in installments. But he recently resold it to Muhammed Jah of QGroup despite knowing very well that he sold the same land to our father 18 years ago,” the family said.
In the protest letter dated 3rd November 2022 and shared with The Voice, the family wrote: “We write to complain about Muhammed Jah’s relentless efforts to forcefully take our land sold to our father in 2005. We want to inform the government through the ministry of lands that we are not going to take this matter lightly. We know our rights and we will defend it to the latter,” he said.
According to the family, Mr Jah is attempting to start construction at the plot which is a recipe for serious confrontations. “This is the second time his people are breaking our padlock and digging a foundation in the plot. We have informed the government that the land belongs to us and it has no issues before the Jah Family came into the picture so we want to appeal to them to stay out of the land because no amount of pressure will make us bound,” the family added.
The Touray Kunda family argued that the Jah’s family’s decision to break into their private property without any court order or authority to do so “is in violation of basic human decency and rule of law”.
“The Gambia is not a banana republic, so there is no room for this ‘gangstar’ behaviour. We will advise the Jah family to follow due process and respect the rule of law. They have no right to break into our property without permission. We also call on the government and all the relevant authorities to intervene in this matter with due consideration before it gets out of hand. Our position is crystal clear.
“Muhammed Jah will not be allowed to intimidate us nor will he be allowed to abuse his artificial influence to forcefully take something that doesn’t belong to him. Enough is enough,” the family concluded.
Protest letter to GBA
Meanwhile, Muhammed Touray, a US based Gambian who inherited the land from his late father has written to the Gambia Bar Association (GBA) to protest against Lawyer Ebrima Jah. Mr Touray said he is a victim of “betrayal of trust” as the lawyer (Ebrima Jah) he contracted to regularise the status and lease of the plot turned out to be the lawyer of Muhammed Jah for the same plot.
In the protest letter dated 2nd November 2022 and shared with The Voice, Mr Touray wrote: “I am writing to make a formal complaint against lawyer Ebrima Jah of Gambia Bar Association.
My complaint is that he failed to provide me with satisfactory service when I engaged him in good faith to represent me in perfecting my land documents.
“Sometime in October 2021, Mr. Jah agreed to represent me to complete paperwork for a land legally purchased and owned by my family for seventeen years. In January 2022, lawyer Jah even sent me a message that he visited the said area of land.
“It came to my attention in August 2022 that Mr. Jah represented his brother to purchase the same land he confirmed to have visited on my behalf eight months prior. As of now, he is only representing his brother on the said matter. This situation has caused me so much disappointment, pain, and financial burden that could have been avoided had Mr. Jah not engaged in a serious breach of the fiduciary relationship between us,” the letter reads.
He added: “I consider this not only an act of corruption but also a violation of professional code of conduct befitting a seasoned member of the Gambia Bar Association. Mr. Jah’s conduct is reminiscent of the story captured on the June 13 2014 edition of the Daily Observer captioned, “Lawyer Jah charged with corruption”.
In 2014, lawyer Jah was charged with a single count of “Official Corruption” and arranged before Justice Emmanuel Amadi of the Special Criminal Court of the High Court.
He was accused of offering Justice Awa Bah the sum of one-hundred thousand dollars ($100, 000) in a bid to influence her to decide the case in his favor. Jah was later fined and suspended for two years.
In an earlier interview with a local newspaper, lawyer Ebrima Jah insisted that his client, Muhammed Jah, followed the due process and all necessary searches were done and it was found that there was no interest registered at the ministry regarding the land. He said there was no knowledge of the land having been sold to the Touray Kunda family and to insinuate that they knew about it was “unfair”.
The matter has since been reported to Jeshwang police station. However, all efforts to reach Muhammed Jah, lawyer Ebrima Jah, minister of lands, and police PRO for comment proved futile.