The deputy permanent secretary at the ministry of Lands and Regional Government, Saikou Sanyang, yesterday continued testifying as the sixth prosecution witness (PW6) in the trial involving former Lands minister Lamin Waa Juwara.
Juwara is on trial alongside Hamidou Jallow, ex-principal lands officer at the department of Lands and Surveys, and Tamsir Onassis Conteh, a businessman, before principal magistrate Hilary Abeke of the Banjul magistrates’ court.
DPS Sanyang told the court that the Tanji layout was for government reserved lands, though some plots were given for compensation purposes by the alkalo of Tanji village.
He said before the compensation of land was made, the applicant would forward the matter to the department of Lands and Surveys, and from there the minister would then be advised on whether to grant the compensation.
Those eligible for compensation are those with relevant documents either from the alkalo or Lands office for the compensation process.
DPS said the first accused person, Tamsir Onasis Conteh, did write an application letter in respect of inheritance of land in the Tanji layout. Conteh was seeking compensation in his application, and he was compensated in the commercial zone in the Tanji Layout, which was government reserve land.
The lease document was prepared for him by Malamin Jatta, director of Lands and Surveys (now deceased), who then said there are plots that were committed and should not be given to anybody as compensation.
Asked by the state counsel, MM Jobe, when Mr Jatta made this observation, DPS Sanyang said he could remember that Jatta made this observation as a result of the compensation made to the first accused, which was later revoked.
He said this observation by Jatta was made at then minister Lamin Waa Juwara’s office, in the presence of the 2nd accused person, Hamaidou Jallow, and some senior officials of the ministry.
Sanyang added that during that meeting, minister Juwara, the 3rd accused person, made a ruling and based on that the file was reactivated and compensation was granted to Conteh.
The case was then adjourned to 14 July 2014, for continuation of the hearing.