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Jul 20, 2009

Jose Coye land case continues in court

Story PictureAnd turning to the courts, Chief Justice, Abdulai Conteh, has reserved judgment in the preliminary hearing of the Attorney General versus former government Ministers, Florencio Marin and Jose Coye. The preliminary hearing is to determine whether the Attorney General’s claim against Marin as the first defendant and Coye as the second, should go to trial. This morning in court, Attorneys for Marin, Francis Fonseca and Elson Kaseke for Coye, argued that the tort of misfeasance of public office cannot be brought against their clients because they are no longer public officers. The attorneys argued that the defendants were public officers, but at the time they were brought before the court they were not, nor are they now. Fonseca also pointed out that the tort of Misfeasance in Public Officers is about protecting the public from current active public officers. Fonseca went on to say that the rationale of the tort is the protection of the public, not to punish the holders of public office or to recover damages for the Crown. He further argued that the tort seeks to ensure that the public office holder presently and actively executes his or her duties in the best interest of the public. Hence, if that officer is no longer in office the public can no longer require any protection from him or her. Therefore, the tort is non-applicable against that former office holder. Chief Justice Conteh asked Fonseca if when he was the Attorney General, he would consider bringing this case against his former government colleagues now being sued. Fonseca responded by saying no because he did not know of it then. And when the CJ asked him if he would if he knew, Fonseca said no again because of the lack of evidence. Kaseke, in supporting Fonseca’s arguments said that the issue of vicarious liability does not have a place in these proceedings because in that case, there would need to be three parties, not two involved.

And today Coye made some clarifications of his own, stating that he is in no way linked to CHEOP Enterprises. According to Coye, CHEOP is an engineering company that was responsible for supervising a subdivision project in Caribbean Shores and to ensure compliance with the engineering specifications. Coye explained that the people, on whose behalf lots were purchased, received the lots in their name and they paid for the development.

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