Supreme Court Rules in favour of Horse Fishing Company

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January 15, 2021

By Ibrahim Kabba Turay

Chief Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards

Supreme Court of Sierra Leone has on Wednesday, 13th January,2020, unanimously ruled in favour of Horse Fishing Company against the Government of Sierra Leone represented by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

Presided over by the Chief Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards, the Supreme Court Justices ruled that the appeal from the Appellate Court succeeds and therefore ordered that the Principal Lease and Supplemental Leases Registered as No. 150/2003 on page 11 volume 96 and No. 241/2014 on  page 106 in Volume 112 in the Book of Leases kept in the office of the Registrar General, were declared null and void.

The Chief Justice went on to order that the Lease for Horse Fishing Company, the Respondent in the matter, is allowed to continue occupation of the reduced portion or acreage granted to them courtesy of Justice Wright’s  Judgement of 12th September, 2017.

“The Board is hereby directed to convene within 30 days and prescribe terms and conditions of a License which should be incorporated in a new lease agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone and Horse Fishing Company Ltd for the new acreage of land occupied by Horse Fishing Company,” the Chief Justice ordered.

 He went further to order that the Appellant’s Lease with SABCO Fishing Company was valid and subsisting and separate from the Respondent’s current occupation and will continue unabated for the duration granted by the Appellant.

According to the Hon. Chief Justice, SABCO shall take possession of the area granted to them, subject to no obligation to the Respondent for payment of rent or Appellant.

He concluded that the parties herein shall peaceably co-exist in the separate portions of land allocated to them by the government with the demarcation wall already built while they share the same jetties.

On the usage of the said land, the Supreme Court ordered that, “The Defendant/Applicant now Respondent shall have full and unfettered access to the jetties at the Jui Fishing Complex and shall work out a timetable of operations with SABCO Fishing Company on the usage of the said jetties.”

The empanelled Justices were, Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards CJ;  Justice Nicholas Browne Marke JSC; MF Deen Tarawally JSC; Alusine Sesay JSC and Alhaji Mohamed MomoJah Stevens JA. 

It could be recalled that the said land was by an indenture of a lease dated the 20th October, 2003 leased to Horse Fishing Company for a term of fifty (50) years. The Attorney General and Minister of Justice who doubles as the Principal Legal Adviser to the Government of Sierra Leone was the Lessor of all the portion of the state land at Jui-Hastings.