NEWS: Chinese company faces landmark legal battle with villagers over environment
Photo: Golden Lead Factory at Gunjur Beach
Justice Amina Saho Ceesay of the high court in Banjul on Monday presided over the case between the coastal settlement of Gunjur and Golden Lead Company, a Chinese owned fish meal processing, import and export business.
When the case was called, lawyer Lamin Camara appeared for Golden Lead. Mr Camara declared he was holding brief for the company's counsel, Salieu Taal, who was said to have travelled. The community of Gunjur is seeking legal remedies for the following:
(1) A perpetual injunction against the Defendant, its agents, servants, representatives from polluting the atmosphere with noxious, offensive fumes and bad odour from its factory during and off operations which is prejudicial to the plaintiffs’ rights to the use of quality atmosphere.
(2) A perpetual injunction restraining the Defendant its agents, servants, representatives from polluting the Bolong Fenyo Community Wildlife Reserve and the Sea with waste from their factory through pipelines which is detrimental to public health and marine lives;
(3) An Order for the Defendant to remove waste pipelines connected from the factory to the Bolong Fenyo Community Wildlife Reserve and Sea in Gunjur as it is prejudicial to marine lives and other sea users;
(4) The sum of D10,000, 000.00 (Ten Million Dalasis) being general damages for negligently and recklessly discharging harmful factory waste into the Bolong Fenyo Community Wildlife Reserve and the sea thus killing mangroves, marine and aquatic lives;
(5) The sum of D5,000, 000.00 (Five Million Dalasis) being general damages for polluting the atmosphere with very bad smell, noxious, and offensive fumes into the Community of Gunjur and its satellite villages as a result of the Defendant’s actions and negligence in the operation of factory.
(6) Cost, including legal and administrative fees
(7) Any further or other orders as this Honourable Court deems fit to make.
Photo: A Polluted Bolong Fenyo Community Wildlife Reserve
The defence counsel has been served with a motion on notice for an interim injunction. Lawyer for the plaintiff, Ebrima Jaiteh, said Golden Lead is expected to file their defence within 30 days. " The case is adjourned to 25th October 2017 at 10am for hearing of the motion on the interim injunction" Jaiteh noted. Environmental Concern Group of Gunjur and Gunjur Environmental Protection & Development Group (GEPADG) jointly sued Golden Lead Company on behalf of the coastal settlement of Gunjur a month after the Gambia government announced it was seeking an out of court settlement against the Chinese company by the country's environmental watchdog, the NEA.
It is understood that Golden Lead Company has been operating illegally in Gunjur since January because the National Environment Agency has refused to renew their operational licence due to "serious " breaches of the country's environmental laws.