Gambians and non-Gambians are victims of former dictator Yahya Jammeh’s endless land grabbing and scavenging while in office. Now that the dictator is out, people have started narrating and sharing their stories to the world. One victim of dictator Jammeh’s land grabbing is Tima, a Gambian lady, resident in the United Kingdom. Tima’s land situated in Sukuta, was seized from her in 2007, after the government then led by dictator Jammeh, accused her of trespassing on a state owned land. She has invested over D100,000.00 dalasi on her Sukuta property, which was later seized from her by the state.
Speaking to Freedom Radio Gambia’s Sunday Leral show, Ms. Tima, widely known on this medium as “Madam England” said she was encouraged by her mom to buy a plot of land in Sukuta, through a local dealer called Abdoulie Jatta. She never knew that the area in question was designated as a state land.
As soon as Tima, started developing her property, she received a notice to suspend all construction on the property. This was her dream plot of land, which she intended to use for residential purposes. She tells Freedom Radio Gambia that all her hope for a new home was immediately shattered when her land was taken away from her by the former government of dictator Jammeh.
“I have worked long hours just to save money to develop the piece of land I bought in Sukuta. But to my surprise, I was told that the land belongs to the state. I lost that land,” she said.
Ms. Tima is hoping that the government of president Adama Barrow will one day compensate her for the illegal seizure of her land. She said many Gambians have been scammed during Jammeh’s rule on bogus land sale by fraudsters.
Tima’s mom is also a victim. Abdoulie Jatta of Sukuta once sold a land to her. She never knew that the land was sold to six different people by Jatta. Mr. Jatta was very connected to the then Jammeh government. He hardly stays in police custody if turn in by his accusers.
When Tima’s mom started developing her property situated in Sukuta, she was told that the home doesn’t belong to her. The property in question was a subject of legal litigation in the courts. She approached many Gambian lawyers to help her recover her landed property. Among the lawyer she approached was Lawyer Edward Singhateh, who charged her D500,000.00 for legal representation, but she couldn’t afford it. She had to hire a female lawyer for D100,000.00 dalasi.
After months of walking in and out of court, Tima’s mom lost the case. She also lost her property. Edward Gomez, was representing the other party involved in the land dispute case.
“This is outrageous. Abdoulie Jatta needs to be investigated. He has sold lands to many people and they end up losing their lands. He was using his closeness to the former government to scam people,” Tima said.
A Freedom Radio Gambia listener wrote to us via Facebook and said: “ Pa, I know Abdoulie Jatta very well. He is from Sukuta Jatta Kunda. The last time I knew he was in jail. He was working with the late Alkalo Momodou Cham. He was called “Kong Sing Belo” meaning ( an Alkalo helper),”
A caller said he was also a victim of Abdoulie Jatta’s dubious land sale. He said he was scammed by the Sukuta man. Dozens of callers phoned in to confirm Madam England’s story. The callers said they were also victims of bogus land sale in The Gambia. Mr. Sonko, a caller from Switzerland, also said he experienced a similar scamming from a local land dealer.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai