Nine years after their eviction, the Four Victims that served as sureties for a client to Ousainou Darboe- then lawyer and currently The Gambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister are still appealing for justice in their plights.
Narrate in a petition to the Office of the former Gambian President- Yahy Jammeh dated on 5 September 2009 that they are innocent victims, who were persuaded by Mr Darboe as lawyer to present their title deeds as guarantors to secure the bail of one Yaya Jallow originally from Guinea. Mr Jallow was said to have absconded weeks after his release, and the sureties were later evicted from their compounds by High Court orders, contrary to assurance by Mr Darboe that they were going to get back their title deeds immediately after the release of Mr Jallow.
Mr Jallow was detained following judgement debtor case involving him and Afrifood Company in The Gambia.
Sources said one of the sureties, who happened to be lawyer Antuman Gaye’s driver later got back his property, but the rest are yet to get back their properties, despite frustrating efforts.
In the petition title: “Humble petition by Kebba Manneh, Kawsu Jatta, Baboucarr Cham and Lamin Touray against Lawyer Ousainou Darboe” was written to the Office of the Former Gambian President- Jammeh, and related communications were also sent to the IGP, among related authorities, but to no avail.
The petition was written to the Office of the Former Gambian President- Yahya Jammeh, on 5 September 2009- six months after a fail deal, involving the Guinean national who jumped bail after being released.
Yaya Jallow’s sureties lost their properties to the State after he failed to pay his debts to secure his sureties’ assets back as agreed during the negotiation involving Mr Darboe- as Legal Adviser.
Mr Manneh narrated that his belongings were thrown out of his house, after the State through the Sheriff Division of the High Court in Banjul ordered for their properties to be forfeited.
Manneh further said that some senior members of the Gambia Bar Association were consulted for legal representation, but non of them dears to stand against Darboe, saying they have high regards to him.
The petitioners accused Mr Darboe of persuading them to surrender their compounds as sureties to secure the release of Mr Jallow.
“I had all my belongings thrown out of my own compound following orders by Sheriff Division. With the help of my daughter, we rented a compound in the heart Gambia’s Commercial Capital- Serrekunda. It is very expensive to me and my family, making life extremely challenging and stressful to us,” said Mr Manneh.
The Petitioners wrote in the Petition to the former Gambian President that: “Sometime in the month of March 2008, one Yusupha Cham, a close family member approached us the petitioners and requested that we individually produce our title deeds in order to help bail his friend and business partner-one Yahya Jallow [a native of Guinea].
“According to the said Yusupha Cham, Yahya Jallow [was] arrested by the Kotu Police personnel and was in remand at Mile 2 Central Prison for a minor problem he had with Afrifood Company Ltd.
“On Yusupha Cham’s direction we visited Lawyer Darboe’s office in Banjul for explanation and professional advice on the matter. Ousainou Darboe informed us that his client Yahya Jallow needed to be bailed by
us- the petitioners and that we had to do this by the deposit of our title deeds with him- Mr Ousainou Darboe,” said the petitioners.
Thereafter, they stated that valuation exercise was conducted and Yusupha Cham handed everything to Lawyer Darboe, who is also the founding leader of the United Democratic Party, and doyen of the Bar before becoming a Foreign Affairs Minister through Opposition led Coalition on the 1 December 2016 Gambia’s Presidential election victory. Mr Darboe was himself a convict was released after the Coalition victory led by Adama Barrow, UDP Presidential Candidate who contested under Independent led Coalition.
Mr Darboe was jailed for his party members’ assembly advocating for elections law reform, without permit. One of his supporters- Solo Sandeng died in detention.
Petitioners further stated that they were promised by Mr Darboe that he will personally keep the deeds until the whole process is completed within two weeks. “he gave us full assurance that within these two weeks, his client –Yaya Jallow would be out on bail and with the huge financial resources at his disposal he would fully settle his debt with Afrifood Company Ltd and then our title deeds would be returned to us.
“Consequently, we were led to Mr Ousainou Darboe’s house at Pipeline by Lamin Bobo Touray on the instructions of Yusupha Cham. At Mr Darboe’s house, we met Christopher Mene- the Lawyer for Afrifood Company Ltd. Without any formalities or introduction, we were made to sign documents bearing our respective names,” they stated in the petition letter.
They further stated after the two weeks, having not heard from Mr Darboe, they as petitioners went to his office for explanation and demanded for their respective title deeds, but Mr Darboe requested them to exercise patience, for another week, within which Yahya Jallow would be out from detention, and their title deeds would be returned to their respective owners they said Mr Darboe advised them not to speak to anyone concerning the matter, as he was handling the everything properly.
They said they again visited Mr Darboe’s office after hearing Yaya Jallow’s release on bail at the end of the third week, which was confirmed by Darboe in his office in Banjul, but demanded to retain the title deeds in question. “He confirmed that Yaya Jaloow was indeed out on bail and visited his office with Yusupha a day before our coming there. Mr Ousainou Darboe went on to state that Yaya Jallow, Yusupha Cham and Lamin Babo Touray were supposed to come to his office but had failed to do so and also failed to communicate,” they stated.
At that juncture, they understood that Yaya Jallow had absconded, without paying Afrifood Company Ltd the debt he owed the company, the petitioners asserted.
Asked about their fate, they narrated that Darboe said he spoke to a White man- meaning the Afrifood Company managing director, but that was he secret he should not reveal to the Yaya Jallow’s sureties, or any other person. They said Darboe added that disclosure of his discussion with the company MD to any other person may endanger the petitioners’ position.
They said Darboe gave them assurance that they will get back their title deeds, and provided a guarantee of D18, 000,000.00 in handwriting for his client- Yaya Jallow. The amount they said is far greater than the value for all their four properties combined.
They explained that Mr Darboe told them to relax as he is a senior lawyer and recognised politician. “At that juncture we had lost all trust and confidence in Mr Ousainou Darboe, Yusupha Cham and Lamin Babo Touray,” they uttered.
Three months after the jump bail of Yaya Jallow, they said their misfortunes started, with receiving of process papers from the High Court,” after which the Sheriff Division of the High Court in Banjul put up their properties for sale.
“We had since then been evicted with our families, and we now face inconvenience and embarrassment beyond description,” they stated.
Adding: “as a matter of fact, the wife of the first petitioners- Kebba Manneh suffered heart attack, and was admitted in hospital.”
They indicated that Mr Darboe later totally abandoned them, and they have since been making efforts to get their properties back in futility.
The petitioners are therefore appealing to any legal officer, legal institution, authority, or individual that can help them get justice in this case, through any legal means to having their properties back, to contact them.
Mr Manneh can be reached on mobile number:+220 39 77 858 / 70 36 036.