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Mar 30, 2010

Krooman Lagoon back in government coffers

A decision in the case against Belize City businessman Jitendra Chawla, proprietor of Xtra House, and the Government of Belize was handed down this morning by Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh.  Chawla took GOB to court over land he had acquired within Krooman Lagoon near mile two on the Western Highway.  Chawla, or Jack Charles as he is also known, was given nine point three acres of land within the area and had began filling a section of the lagoon with clay and river stone. But Krooman Lagoon is a designated reserve since it is a catchments basin for rainwater.  So in late July of last year government reversed its decision citing that the lease under which the land was granted ignored the reserve status.  Chawla paid seventy-six thousand dollars for the parcel and invested half a million dollars in filling it.  He subsequently took government to court for reclaiming the land.  In court this morning the CJ told the claimant that he could not revoke the decision of the government in reclaiming the land because it is a protected area.  While Chawla did not win the case in regaining the land he will be awarded compensation for his investment in clearing and filling it.  Compensation will be determined following a thorough assessment of expenses spent in developing the parcel.  Jitendra Chawla was represented in court by Senior Counsel Fred Lumor while GOB was represented by attorneys Magali Perdomo and Priscilla Banner.

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