Court name
High Court
Case number
SLHC 94 of 2012

Julius Duada Sandy v Fatmata Mansaray (SLHC 94 of 2012) [2020] SLHC 222 (21 July 2020);

Media neutral citation
[2020] SLHC 222
Case summary:

Succession-Intestate-Letter of Administration-Perpetual Injunction- The Plaintiffs complaint basically is that his father, Julius Dauda Sandy Snr (Deceased intestate], was seized of land referred to in paragraphs 'a' and 'c in the Statement of claim hereinbefore referred; that after the demise of the said Julius Dauda Sandy Snr (intestate] on 18th June 1999

Coram
Miatta Samba, J

C.C.94/12                        2012                                               S,                                                 NO.11

IN THE HIGH COURT OF SIERA LEONE
(LAND AND PROPERTY DIVISION]

BETWEEN:

JULIUS DAUDA SANDY                                                                      - PLAINTIFF

(Suing as Administrator of the Estate of Julius

Dauda Sandy (Deceased Intestate] Acting Through

His lawful Attorney Alpha Mohamed Jalloh)

AND

MADAM FATMAT A MANSARAY & OTHERS                            - DEFENDANTS

BEFORE THE HONOURABLE JUSTICE MIATTA M. SAMBA, J DATED THE 21st DAY OF JULY 2020

Counsel:

E.T Koroma Esq for the Plaintiff

M.P Fofanna Esq for the lsl 4th, 6lh, 8th, 9th, and 12111 Defendants

JUDGMENT:

  1. This action was commenced by way of Writ of Summons dated the 17th day of April 2012 against the Defendants for the following Orders:
  1. Recovery of immediate possession of that that piece or parcel of land and property situate lying and being at Pipe Line, Off Regent Road, Malama, Hill Station, Freetown described in the Survey Plan L.S. 3324/95 and attached to the Conveyance dated 15th November 1996 and registered as No. 1700/96 in Volume 503 at Page 98 of the Books of Conveyances kept in the Office of the Administrator and Registrar- General in Freetown.
  2. Damages for Trespass.
  3. A perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants herein and each of them from entering upon or putting up any structure on the land and hereditaments described in the Survey Plan. L.S 3328/95 attached to the Conveyance dated 15th November 1996 and registered as No. 1700/96 in Volume 503 at Page 98 of the Books of Conveyances kept in the Office of the Administrator and Registrar-General in Freetown.
  4. Any further or other Orders as the Court may deem fit.
  1. The Plaintiffs complaint basically is that his father, Julius Dauda Sandy Snr (Deceased intestate], was seized of land referred to in paragraphs 'a' and 'c in the Statement of claim hereinbefore referred; that after the demise of the said Julius Dauda Sandy Snr (intestate] on 18th June 1999, Letters of Administration was granted on the Plaintiff in respect of the Estates of the said Julius Dauda Sandy Snr, including the property herein now claimed. The Plaintiff claims that sometime in 2009, the Defendants unlawfully entered upon his property, the subject-matter hereof and laid unlawful claim to same.

 

  1. The case for the Defendants herein is that the property to which they now make a counter-claim and which they occupy is separate and distinct from the Plaintiffs land and that the land which they now claim is State land leased to them by the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Lands. The Defendants now therefore have asked this Court for the following Orders:
  1. A Declaration that the 1st, 4th, 6th, 8th 9th and 12th Defendants are Lessees on the respective pieces of land situate and being at Pipe Line, Off Regent Road, Malama, Phase II Extension, Hill Station, Freetown in the Western Area of the Republic of Sierra Leone which was leased to them by the Government of Sierra Leone.
  2. Perpetual injunction restraining the Plaintiff herein whether by himself, his servants, privies, relations, heirs, administrators, employees and or agents from entering upon, occupying or interfering with the 1st, 4th, 6th, 8lh, 9th and 12th Defendants' leasehold interest aforesaid.
  3. Damages for trespass by the Plaintiff on the 1st, 4lh, 6lh, 8th, 9lh and 12th Defendants' leasehold.
  4. Costs.
  1. Issues in Dispute
  1. Whether or not that piece or parcel of land and property situate lying and being at Pipe Line, Off Regent Road, Malama, Hill Station, Freetown described in the Survey Plan L.S. 3324/95 and attached to the Conveyance dated 15lh November 1996 and registered as No. 1700/96 in Volume 503 at Page 98 of the Books of Conveyances kept in the Office of the Administrator and Registrar-General in Freetown is separate and distinct from pieces of land situate and being at Pipe Line, Off Regent Road, Malama, Phase II Extension, Hill Station, Freetown in the Western Area of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
  2. If the answer to '1' above is yes, whether or not the pieces of land situate and being at Pipe Line, Off Regent Road, Malama, Phase II Extension, Hill Station, Freetown in the Western Area of the Republic of Sierra Leone is State land.
  3. Whether or not the pieces of land situate and being at Pipe Line, Off Regent Road, Malama, Phase II Extension, Hill Station, Freetown in the Western Area of the Republic of Sierra Leone falls within the boundaries of property situate lying and being at Pipe Line, Off Regent Road, Malama, Hill Station, Freetown described in the Survey Plan L.S. 3324/95 and attached to the Conveyance dated 15th November 1996 and registered as No. 1700/96 in Volume 503 at Page 98 of the Books of Conveyances kept in the Office of the Administrator and Registrar-General in Freetown.
  1. Witness Testimonies
    1. PW1 was Alpha Mamoud Jalloh, the Attorney for Julius Dauda Sandy, Jnr as in Exhibit Hl-4. He tendered Exhibits Gl-10 and Fl-6, the Letters of Administration in the name of Julius Dauda Sandy Jnr, for property initially owned by Julius Dauda Sandy, Snr and the title Deeds for property at Pipe Line,

 

Off Regent Road, Malama, Hills Station, Freetown aforementioned in the name of Julius Dauda Sandy, Snr.

      1. PW1 complained that the property referred to in Exhibit Fl-6 is being trespassed upon by the Defendants herein. He said several letters sent the Defendants against their acts of trespass from Solicitors for the Plaintiff were never adhered to. He tendered his statement to Solicitors for the Plaintiff as in Exhibit J1-2. It is the witness' position that the property claimed by the Plaintiff is not State property. He tendered Exhibit Nl-2 dated 12th April 1999, and 4th May 1990 respectively titled "Release land at Hill Station" and "Request for release of forest reserve land-Hill Station/Regent" respectively. He referred to Exhibit 01-17, Letters of Administration for the Estate of James Samuel Macauley (Deceased) Intestate dated the 12th day of November 1985 granted to Marcus Macauley, the son of the said James Samuel Macauley.
      2. In answer to questions put to him in cross-examination, PW1 reiterated that he is Attorney for Julius Dauda Sandy Jnr, who he told the Court is in the United States of America (hereinafter referred to as the USA). He told the Court that based on documentary evidence and the information given him by Julius Dauda Sandy Jnr, the land, the subject matter hereof was bought by the deceased Julius Dauda Sandy Snr from one Marcus Macauley. He said Exhibit Gl-10, Letters of Administration dated the 14th May 2001 was taken out by Julius Dauda Sandy Jnr in 2001. He was referred to Exhibit Hl-4, the Power of Attorney in his name prepared in the USA and signed by Julius Dauda Sandy Jnr.
      3. PW1 told the Court that he knows where the 115 acres of land now claimed by the Plaintiff is located. He said he did not see the Conveyance of the Vendor, Marcus Macauley. He was referred to Exhibit 01-17, the Letters of Administration taken out by Marcus Macauley on 24th September 1985, to which he said there was attached no Survey Plan.
      4. He told the Court that himself and the care taker, Mr. Kapri Conteh were on several occasions invited to the Ministry of Lands where they held several meetings in respect of the subject matter herein but that they were never told at the Ministry that the land in dispute is State property and that officials including Tamba Dauda and Mr. Kornoryima (Deed), tried to negotiate with him as Attorney so that the Defendants could remain on the property. He referred to Exhibit Nl-3 and told the Court that at some point in time, the Ministry of Agriculture declared the disputed property as forest land but that the Ministry subsequently released the said land to its owners, that is the Macauleys. He told the Court that a lot of people have trespassed on the Plaintiff s property.
    1. PW2 was Kapri Conteh, a caretaker appointed by the late Julius Dauda Sandy Snr in 1996. He told the Court that the Defendants have trespassed on the Plaintiffs land, the subject matter of this litigation. He told the Court that Julius Dauda Sandy Snr died in 1999 and his son, Julius Dauda Sandy Jnr took out Letters of Administration in respect of his father's properties. Himself and other then people constructed a zinc structure on the Plaintiffs land.

 

      1. He said sometime in 2007, he saw a group of people, including the Defendants on the subject matter; he said the 1st Defendant told him that they, the Defendants had been removed from the piece of land which they occupied and transferred to the property, the subject matter hereof He told the 1st Defendant that he has a copy of the title Deed for the said property but on quite another day, the 1st Defendant went on the land together with some other persons who measured portions of the property; in the process, they broke the zinc structure around the Plaintiffs property. PW2 told the Court that on quite another day, all the Defendants went upon the land with other people all armed with knives and forced them out of the land.
      2. PW2 told the Court that he was invited to a meeting by Mr. Kornoryima [Deed] with Dr. Dennis Sandy who was then the Minister of Lands and his deputy, Cyril Goba present, during which he was asked to give up 40% of the Plaintiffs land to the Ministry in return for protection of the remaining 60%. This request was refused by the children of Julius Dauda Sandy Snr, the beneficiaries to the property herein, he said. He referred to his statement and upon an application made by Counsel for the 2nd Defendant and there being no objection, he tendered his statement as Exhibit Kl-2.
      3. In answer to questions put to him in cross-examination, the witness reiterated that he was on the land in 1996 and that he does not know who owned the land before 1996 and that the land was not a Forest Land. PW2 reiterated that in 2007 he was summoned to a meeting at the Ministry of Lands during which said meeting the Deputy Minister of Lands, then, Mr. Cyril Goba and PW1 were present. He told the Court that even though he was forcefully evicted from the property concerned, he left caretakers on plot 5 of the disputed property. He denied any Lands Ministry official over telling him the property is a State land.
    1. PW3 was Abu Bakarr Fofanna who has been caretaker of the property the subject matter hereof since 2009, assisting PW2. He referred to and relied on his statement as in Exhibit Ml & 2.
      1. In answer to questions put to him in cross-examination, PW3 told the Court that he knows nothing about the property before 2009 when he was appointed caretaker. He said when he went on the property in 2009, he met the Defendants thereon.
    2. PW4 was Kemoh Kamara who told the Court that he got to know the Defendants in 2007 in respect of the land at Pipe Line, Off Regent Road, Malama, Freetown. He said he assumed responsibility for the land in 2001 and that he started living on the land sometime in 2003; that sometime in 2007, he informed the Defendants that the property is owned by Julius Dauda Sandy and that there is a title Deed in respect of the said property but that the Defendants told him that they were evicted from where they had occupied for which they were compensated by the Government by being offered the land, the subject matter hereof. In his presence, Chief Pa Kapri also told the Defendants that there is a title Deed to the land. He told the Court that he made a statement as in Exhibit

 

Pl-2 which was admitted as part of his testimony in chief. He alleged the 1st Defendant sold part of the Plaintiffs land but did not say who the purchaser was.

      1. In answer to questions put to him in cross-examination, he said he saw a Surveyor, 'Man Arun/ from the Ministry of Lands, once on the land in 2005 to view the location of the land. He said he lived at Hill Station before his being a caretaker on the property and that the area was not a forest land even when he was not a caretaker and that he knows the property to be a private owned property.
    1. PW5 was James Morlai Bangura, a Licensed Surveyor whose services were solicited by PW1 in respect of property situate at Malama, Hill Station, Off Regent Road, Plots 1-5 of LS 3324/95. He told the Court that the perimeter is bounded on both North and South by a Guma pipe and that he found several encroachments on the land. He was availed the Defendants offer letters from the Ministry of Lands with some site plans attached which he used together with the Plaintiffs title Deed to prepare a composite plan by calculating the coordinates of some of the land issued by the Ministry of Lands some of which he told the Court fell within the disputed land. He said he did the said composite plan using the Freetown and District map of the disputed area after which he did a Report. He submitted his Report as Exhibit Ql-5. The witness maintained the land in question is a private owned land.
      1. In cross-examination, the witness was referred to Exhibit Ql-5 which he told the Court was his Report. He said the Freetown and District mark sheet identifies the area and district where lands are located and that any surveyor can look at the mark sheet and identify the coordinates of the property in question. He said he visited the land, did his measurements and calculations for the entire acreage and that the Plaintiff s land is situated between two pipes.
      2. He said it is impossible to use a GPS to measure the land claimed by the Plaintiff because the land is too large; he measured manually and realized the Plaintiff owns about 116 acres of land. He was referred to the Survey Plan of Macauley which he said he had not seen before the investigation and that he was informed the Plaintiff bought the land from Macauley and another.
      3. The witness was referred to the scale on Exhibit N3, that is 1.10000 and to the scale on his own map sheet reading 1:2500; he referred to the Plaintiffs document as in Exhibit F5 with a scale of 1:5000 thereon and he told the Court that the scales of the Plaintiff and his predecessor are different and that the scale 1:10000 which is bigger than the scale on his map sheet which he said is because his, is a smaller drawing as he wanted the Court to see clearly what is on the document.
      4. He said he used the Plaintiffs plan to draw his composite plan and that he used mathematical calculations, which he plotted into each of the 5 plots now claimed by the Plaintiff. He was referred to Exhibit N2 ".... Request for release of Forest Reserved land .../' Which he said he did not see during the course of his investigation. He said Exhibit Q5 is a map sheet of Malama, Hill Station, being a

 

portion of Freetown and District attached to his Report. He said he is familiar with map sheets in the Western Area and that map sheets show scales lines at the bottom of the document, normally; they show grid references and the history of map sheet which has coordinates on them.

      1. The witness told the Court that though there is human habitation in the area concerned, Exhibit Q5 does not show any such human habitation. He said the grid references are shown on Exhibit Q but that the plots 1-5 on Exhibit Q5 have no access road.
      2. He was referred to Exhibit F5, Sandy's survey plan, which he told the Court has beacon numbers, distances and bearings on each plot as stated in his Report; the witness told the Court that he needs not show these features of the land and that Exhibit Q5 does not show these features nor does it show acreage on each plot as his instruction was for him to do a total acreage. He said however that the Survey Plan he used to do the composite plan had acreage on each of the 5 plots and that the Plaintiffs survey plan LS 3324/95 was based on LS 2141/91 even though he could not tell who the owner of property on LS 2141/91 was. He told the Court that the composite plan does not show adjacent properties; he used imperial measurements as in feet.
      3. In re examination, the witness was referred to Exhibit Ql-5 and he told the Court that the fact that the Plaintiffs survey plan was not attached was addressed in his Report. He said normally, details as to beacon numbers are not stated on composite plans; that instead of using 'colony north' he put 'grid lines' representing the eastings and northings which he said is the same as colony north.

5.6. DW1 was Brima Davoma Sama, the 8th Defendant. He told the Court that he applied to the Ministry of Lands for a piece of land sometime in February 2006. On 1st July 2006, he received an offer letter from the Ministry entrusting him with a piece of land at Babadorie, Pipe Line, Off Regent Road, Phase 2 Extension in Freetown, effective 1st August 2006. On 1st August 2006, he paid Le. 750,000 as lease rent for three years. He referred to Exhibit FF1-4, the offer letter herein referred to, his letter of acceptance, a Survey Plan in respect of the portion of land offered to him and a receipt of payment he made for the lease rent.

  1. DW1 told the Court that his zinc structure of three bedrooms he had constructed on the piece of land offered to him was destroyed while he was away in China. He later built a concrete structure, a room and a living room on the same portion of land offered him. He told the Court that he was informed that Kapri Conteh had been on his land so he went to the Ministry of Lands and made a complaint against the said Kapri Conteh for interfering with his land. He said Conteh laid claim to his own portion of land as well as that of other people who had been offered property by the Ministry of Lands. The witness referred to his statement he made to his Solicitor in respect of the litigation herein which was tendered as Exhibit Vl-2,

 

  1. In answer to questions put to him in cross-examination, the witness produced the original of his receipt as in Exhibit FF4 and Exhibit NN. He said he is not conversant with the area of the Plaintiffs property. He referred to his site plan as in Exhibit FF3 the top of which he told the Court is an access road, 40 feet pointing towards Regent Road.
  1. DW2 was Fatmata Mansaray. She identified Yeama Mansaray as her daughter. She told the Court that in 2007, she applied for a piece of State land from the Ministry of Lands for her daughter, Yeama Mansaray; that the said land was offered to her daughter for which she paid rent. She referred to Exhibit GG, the said offer letter; Exhibit GG2, the Survey Plan in the name of her daughter, Yeama Mansaray dated 18th November 2008; Exhibit GG4, her receipt of payment for the land offered dated 16th January 2012.
  1. She said she got to know Kapri Conteh when he went on the land and laid claim to the portion of land offered to her by the State. She made a complaint against Kapri Conteh at the Ministry of Lands as a result of which herself and Kapri Conteh were invited to a meeting where Kapri Conteh was informed that the land offered DW2 was State land and that Kapri Conteh should stop dealing with the said property. She told the Court that on 24th March 2014, Kapri Conteh and other persons destroyed her zinc structure on her property valued at Le. 4.7 million. She said according to Kapri, they were acting on Court orders. She continued living on the property together with her daughter, Yeama. DW2 tendered her statement as Exhibit MM1-2 as part of her evidence in chief.
  2. She denied being served with a Writ of Summons before 2014. She denied selling portions of the land to other people. She tendered Exhibit 001-3, the original of her receipt for payment of rent.
  1. DW3 was Mabinty Fofanna Aka, aunty Binta Koroma. She told the Court that she got to know the Plaintiffs Attorney, Mr. Jalloh in respect of the matter herein in Court. She tendered her statement dated 26th January 2016 at pages 9-10 of the Defendants' bundle of documents and told the Court that on the 20th day of December 2011, she made an application for a plot of land to the Ministry of Lands to which she received a reply in the form of an offer as at page 27 of the Defendant's bundle of documents which she said she accepted as at page 28 of the Defendants' bundle of documents dated 16th January 2012. She referred to her receipt of payment Le. 1,000,000/00 for the said lease land as at page 31 of the Defendants' documents, same dated 13th January 2012.
  1. DW3 referred to her Survey Plan and a receipt of payment of Le. 100,000/00 for preparation of the said Survey Plan at at pages 29 and 32 of the Defendants' documents. DW3 told the Court that the size of the land offered to her by the Ministry of Lands is 0.1698 acres and that she is in occupation of the said land.
  2. In answer to questions put to her in cross examination, DW3 referred to an offer letter addressed to her at page 27 of the Defendants' documents which she told the Court was signed by the then Minister of Lands, Momodu Patsowe for

 

which she reiterated she paid rent as at page 31 of the Defendants' documents. She believes the property she now claims is State land which was offered to her. She told the Court that all her documents are authentic documents.

  1. Mr. Augustine Kai Banya was Court witness called to testify in respect of the matter herein. He told the Court that he is the Director of country Planning at the Ministry of Lands. His responsibilities in respect of State Land include advising the Ministry of declaring areas of settlement and supervising technical officers who carry out field activities; he also reviews Master Plans prepared by technical officers which said Plans he certifies by his signature.
  1. He told the Court that he is familiar with property at Plumsheath, Hill Station, Phase 2 Extension 13 layout. He told the Court that he knows the property now claimed by the Plaintiff situate at Pipe Line, Off Regent Road, Malama, Hill Station. He told the Court that leases were offered to various people after which the wife of the late Edward Kargbo and Julius Sandy Jnr laid claim to the said pieces of land for which, he told the Court was State land, a Government Forest Land, as he called it.
  2. The witness was referred to Exhibit Ql-5, a Surveyor Report of Mr. James M. Bangura, PW5 in respect of land situate at Malama, Lumley, which the witness told the Court does not give enough information which could have helped locate the exact area of the property claimed by the Plaintiff; Exhibit Ql-5 he said lack creeds so the location of the property is impossible, he said.
  3. The witness was referred to Exhibit Fl-6, the Conveyance of Julius Sandy (Deceased] and he told the Court that the Survey Plan in Exhibit Fl-6 falls within the Government's Forest Reserves; he said in 1995, the area now claimed by the Plaintiff was a forest area that could not have been penetrated. He told the Court that when he went on the property in 2004/2005 to investigate the area, he found no beacons on the ground and that he fixed about 500 beacons thereon to lease holders.
  4. He was referred to Exhibit AA which he authored dated 19th January 2016 which he told the Court was the Master Plan prepared and released to several people who had been offered State land at Plums Heath which he said is now the subject matter of this litigation. He referred to paragraph 2 of Exhibit AA where he said "A layout plan was prepared in 2006 by this Ministry and State leases were given to various individuals for residential development. Community, facilities such as Church, Mosque, community centre, health centre, primary and secondary schools, recreational ground/football field etc were given due consideration by providing spaces for each activity for future community that would eventually develop" He told the Court that he has at his office the original of the said layout Plan.
  5. He referred to Exhibits BB, CC, FF, GG and JJ which he told the Court were offer letters for lease of State Land. He said that Leasees of the subject matter hereof were summoned to the Ministry of Lands. He referred to the above Exhibits and Survey Plans and told the Court that offer letters were given out to about 500 people by the Ministry after the layout hereinbefore mentioned. (Du diligence would have shown that the forest reserves had been handed over to the private owners as advised by Exhibit BB1 and 2) He tendered his statement as in Exhibit DWS4 as part of his evidence in chief.
  1. In answer to questions put to him in cross examination, he told the Court that he was in Court representing the Ministry of Lands and in his capacity as Director of Country Planning in the Ministry of Lands, a position he has held since 2009.
  2. He told the Court that Forest Reserves are protected areas owned by the Government which boundaries are adjusted for government use, with time. He said that it was part of this Forest Reserve that was plotted for the Defendants after it was cleared.
  3. The witness was referred to Exhibit F5, the Survey Plan in the name of Julius Sandy, Pipe Line Off Regent Road, Malama, Hill Station; he maintains the Defendants' properties are not the Plaintiffs but one offered them by the State because it is State land. The witness was referred to Exhibit NN 1-3 but refused to make any comment on same other than him saying the subject matter is a State Land.
  1. DW5 was Abraham Cooper, a Surveyor at the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment. He said he is familiar with the land at Plums Heath, Hills Station, Phase 2 the subject matter of this litigation. He said the Defendants were offered land at the said location by the Ministry of Lands. He said although he did not take part in the delimitation of the said land, he did visit the land in question. He said he is also familiar with the layout done in 2006 by the Ministry of Surveys and Lands at the said Plums Heath for which Exhibit KK1 was tendered in its original form and withdrawn,
  1. The witness told the Court that Exhibit KK1 is divided into several plots of land. He referred to Exhibit EE, the Survey Plan of Mabinty Fofana at page 29 of the Defendants' documents signed and issued by the Ministry of Surveys and Lands and which he told the Court has a bearing with Exhibit KK1, it being Plot 74 of the Phase 2 layout in Exhibit KK1.
  2. He referred to Exhibit GG2 at page 38 of the Defendants’ documents in the name of Yimen Mansaray documents signed and issued by the Ministry of Surveys and Lands and which he told the Court has a bearing with Exhibit KK1, it being Plot 16 of the Phase 2 layout in Exhibit KK1.
  3. He referred to Exhibit FF3 at page 36 of the Defendants' documents in the name of Brima Davowa Sama documents signed and issued by the Ministry of Surveys and Lands and which he told the Court has a bearing with Exhibit KK1, it being Plot 120 of the Phase 2 layout in Exhibit KK1.
  4. He referred to Exhibit LL1-3 at page 42 of the Defendants' documents in the name of Sieh Sara Kargbo documents signed and issued by the Ministry of

 

Surveys and Lands and which he told the Court has a bearing with Exhibit KK1, it being Plot 44 of the Phase 2 layout in Exhibit KK1. He said Exhibit KK1 in its original form was done by Mr. Fayia Alpha and supervised by Augustine S. Kai- Banya, the Court witness, in October 2006.

  1. He tendered Exhibit MM, a Forest Reserve Boundary in respect of the topography of the subject matter made in 1966/76. He told the Court that Exhibit MM is a clear indication that the property now in contention was a Forest Reserve. SEE EXH NN. 11W5 told the Court that being familiar with the topography of the landscape and as a Lands Officer, the property on Plums Heath now the subject matter of this litigation is the same as the property described at Pipeline, Malama Hill Station.
  2. In answer to questions put to him in cross-examination, DW5 reiterated that the layout of the subject-matter of this litigation was prepared by experts of the Ministry of Lands in 2006.
  3. He was referred to Exhibit Fl-6, the Conveyance including the Survey Plan of Julius Sandy, signed by a Licensed Surveyor and the Director of Surveys and Lands and he agreed with Counsel that Survey Plans must be cross checked before they are signed to avoid giving private property to government or identifying State Land as private land.
  4. He was referred to Exhibits FF3 measuring 0.2847 acres, Exhibit GG2 measuring 0.3117 acres and Exhibit LL1-3 measuring 0.1560 acres and agreed with Counsel that a Plot should not be below 0.1722 acres or above 0.2579 acres but said that these measurements are subject to readjustment and amendments by the Ministry.

5.11.1 have listened with keen interest to all the testimonies and looked at all the documents tendered. 1 thank both Counsel for the Plaintiff and Defendants in respect of these proceedings and for submitting their Final Address on behalf of each of their clients.

  1. Are the properties claimed the same?
    1. 1 refer to the testimony of Mr. Augustine Kai-Banya who told the Court that he is familiar with property at Plums Heath, Hill Station, Phase 2 Extension 13 layout. He told the Court that he knows the property now claimed by the Plaintiff situate at Pipe Line, Off Regent Road, Malama, Hill Station. He told the Court that leases were offered to various people after which the wife of the late Edward Kargbo and Julius Sandy Jnr laid claim to the said pieces of land for which, in his capacity as Senior Town Planning Officer then, he had prepared a lay-out of the land which he told the Court was State land, a Government Forest Land, as he called it which he says is now also claimed by the Plaintiff.
    2. Mr. Kai-Banya told the Court that the Survey Plan in Exhibit Fl-6 falls within the Government's Forest Reserves; he said in 1995, the area now claimed by the Plaintiff was a forest area that could not have been penetrated.

 

    1. He referred to Exhibit AA which he authored dated 19th January 2016 which he told the Court was the Master Plan prepared and released to several people who had been offered State land at Plums Heath which he said is now the subject matter of this litigation. He referred to paragraph 2 of Exhibit AA where he said "A layout plan was prepared in 2006 by this Ministry and State leases were given to various individuals for residential development. Community, facilities such as Church, Mosque, Community Centres, Health Centres, Primary and Secondary Schools, Recreational ground/football field etc were given due consideration by providing spaces for each activity for future community that would eventually develop".
  1. He referred to Exhibits BB, CC, FF, GG and JJ and their Survey Plans which he told the Court were offer letters for lease of State Land after the lay out Plan hereinbefore referred to. He said that Leasees of the subject matter hereof were summoned to the Ministry of Lands in respect of the subject-matter.
  2. Mr. Kai-Banya told the Court that Forest Reserves are protected areas owned by the Government which boundaries are adjusted for government use, with time. He said that it was part of this Forest Reserve that was plotted for the Defendants after it was cleared. I believe this reasoning is shown in Exhibits. NN1&2.
  1. DW5 was Abraham Cooper, a Surveyor at the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment. He said he is familiar with the land at Plums Heath, Hills Station, Phase 2 the subject matter of this litigation. He said the Defendants were offered land at the said location by the Ministry of Lands. He said although he did not take part in the delimitation of the said land, he did visit the land in question. He said he is also familiar with the layout done in 2006 by the Ministry of Surveys and Lands at the said Plums Heath for which Exhibit KK1 was tendered in its original form and withdrawn.
    1. DW5 tendered Exhibit MM, a Forest Reserve Boundary in respect of the topography of the subject matter. He told the Court that Exhibit MM is a clear indication that the property now in contention was a Forest Reserve. 1 have made my comments in respect of Exhibit NN 1-3. DW5 told the Court that being familiar with the topography of the landscape and as a Lands Officer, the property at Plums Heath now the subject matter of this litigation is the same as the property described at Pipeline, Malama Hill Station.
  2. From the testimonies of all the witnesses, especially, the Court witness, Mr. Augustine Kai-Banya and the Surveyor for the Defendants, DW5, I have no doubt on my mind that the property claimed by the Defendants is the same as that claimed by the Plaintiff.
  3. Title to the subject-matter
    1. I refer to the Letters of Administration taken our by Marcus Macauley in respect of the estate of his late father, James Samuel Macauley (Deceased] Intestate as in Exhibit 01-15., same dated the 12th day of November 1985.

 

    1. 1 refer to the Conveyance of Julius Dauda Sandy as in Exhibit Fl-6 dated the 19th day of November 1996 and registered as No. 1700/96 in Volume 503 at page 98 of the Record Books of Conveyances kept in the Office of the Registrar- General. Exhibit Fl-6 is expressed to be made between Marcus Macauley described as the Vendor therein and Julius D. Sandy, therein described as the Purchaser. The Court notes that the vendor, Marcus Macauley in Exhibit Fl-6 traced his title to Exhibit 01-15, Letters of Administration granted him by the High Court in respect of his late father's Estate.
    2. DW5' testimony before the Court is that Survey Plans are cross-checked before they are signed to avoid giving private property to government or identifying State Land as private land. 1 refer to Exhibit Nl-3 especially Exhibits N1 and 2. Exhibit N2 is titled, "Request for Release of Forest Reserve Land" and it is dated the 4th day of May 1990 from the Senior Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture Natural Resources and Forestry to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands. Exhibit N2 relating to the release of forest land reads in part: "... the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Forestry has no objection for the release of the said land ..."
    3. Exhibit N1 of 12lh April 1999 is a Legal Opinion from the Solicitor-General's Office addressed to the Director of Surveys and Lands, Ministry of Lands, Housing and country Planning, signed by Senior State Counsel, L.M Farmah for the Solicitor-General. The Court notes that Exhibit N2 is a response to a memorandum from the Ministry of ands seeking legal advice from the office of the Solicitor-General in respect of 'release of land at Hill Station'. The content of Exhibit N1 especially the send paragraph shows that the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry released the land referred to therein to private individuals from the whom the said land had been declared a forest reserved land. Farmah Esq confirmed in Exhibit N1 that the property referred to in Exhibit N1 is a private land which could be privately surveyed and that the Department of Surveys and Lands could check and countersign the Survey Plan in accordance with Cap 128 of the Laws of Sierra Leone as amended. Mr. Famah concluded by advising that "... a private land declared Forest Reserve Land and subsequently released to the private individual is surely a Private Land'1.
    4. There is no contention by the Defendants that the property referred to in Exhibit Nl-3 is not the same as the subject matter in contention. It is the Plaintiffs case that the property referred to in Exhibit Nl-3 is the same as that referred to in Exhibit 01-17, the Letters of Administration taken out on 12th November 1985 granted unto Marcus Macauley for the Estate of his father, James Samuel Macauley (Deceased Intestate). It is the Court's understanding that this was the piece of property that had been declared Forest Reserved Land, which was released by Exhibit N1 and 2. Hereinbefore referred to. It is also the Court's understanding that the property referred to in Exhibit 01-17 is that which is referred to in Exhibit Fl-6, a Conveyance in the name of Julius D. Sandy dated November 1996 with a Survey Plan therein signed by the Director of Surveys and Lands on 4th December 1995, well after Exhibit N2; the Ministry of Agricultures position in releasing the land is confirmed by a Legal opinion as in Exhibit Nl. It is also the Court's understanding that the property referred to in Exhibit 01-17

 

and cleared as private property by Exhibit N1 and 2 is the same property referred to by Exhibit G, the Letters of Administration granted on Julius D. Sandy Jnr, on 14th May 2001.

    1. I refer to the testimonies of PW4, Augustine Kai-Banya, Director of Country Planning and DW5 Abraham Cooper, a Surveyor at the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment.
    2. I have also looked at Exhibits KK1, the layout together with Exhibit MM. It is DW5' testimony that the layout of the subject-matter of this litigation was prepared by experts of the Ministry of Lands in 2006. It could be remembered that the subject matter, being a Forest Reserved Land was released on advise by the Solicitor-General's office in 1999. It was after the release of the said State Land to private owners that the lay out referred to by Mr. Kai-Banya and DW5 was drafted, that is 2006, going by DW5's testimony. Further the testimony before the Court is that Survey Plans are checked by the Ministry of Surveys and Lands before they are signed by Directors of Surveys and Lands to avoid giving State Land as Private Property and to avoid giving Private Property as State Land. Exhibit F5 attached to the Conveyance of Julius Dauda Sandy was signed by the Director of Surveys and Lands in 1995, about 11 years after Exhibit KK1 of 2006. So the Ministry always knew that the subject-matter is private property.
    3. I have also looked at Exhibits KK1 and MM tendered by DW5. I have studied the layout in both documents and I am convinced that part of the property in Exhibit KK1 is the same as that in Exhibit F5 attached to the Conveyance of Julius D. Sandy of blessed memory. Even if it is accepted that the subject-matter was a Forest Reserved Land as in Exhibit MM, the said Forest Reserved State Land was released as seen in Exhibit N1 and 2.

In light of the above, IT IS ORDERED AS FOLLOWS:

  1. That the Plaintiff recovers possession of that that piece or parcel of land and property situate lying and being at Pipe Line, Off Regent Road, Malama, Hill Station, Freetown described in the Survey Plan L.S. 3324/95 and attached to the Conveyance dated 15th November 1996 and registered as No. 1700/96 in Volume 503 at Page 98 of the Books of Conveyances kept in the Office of the Administrator and Registrar- General in Freetown.
  2. A perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants herein and each of them from entering upon or putting up any structure on the land and hereditaments described in the Survey Plan. L.S 3328/95 attached to the Conveyance dated 15th November 1996 and registered as No. 1700/96 in Volume 503 at Page 98 of the Books of Conveyances kept in the Office of the Administrator and Registrar-General in Freetown.
  3. Each party shall bear his own costs.