High Court case against Golden Lead suffers another setback
The legal case filed against Chinese owned Golden Lead fish processing factory by concerned environmental activists in Gunjur has suffered a fresh setback with another adjournment yet again.
The matter came up at the High Court earlier on Friday, 8th June but only for further mention without any further proceedings.
Consequently, the matter was adjourned to 17 July at 12 pm, and 20 July at 11am for pre-trial and or hearing. It remains to be seen if the case will ever proceed to judgment given the persistent adjournment since the case was first file at the High Court in July 2017.
Reacting to the news of the latest setback in the progress of the lawsuit against Golden Lead which was filed at the high court even months ago, Environmental activist Ahmed Manjang queried:
‘Another setback in the case involving the people of Gunjur and GL at the high courts yesterday; 8/6/18. This is one delay too many. Meanwhile, GL and other Fishmeal companies along the Kombo coast continue to flaunt The Gambia's environmental laws. In any democratic society, this is just not acceptable, and the earlier our policymakers realise that; the better, because the locals are getting increasingly frustrated with lack of progress in this highly sensitive matter and that, is not suitable for national security’
On his part, Gunjur Development Association (GDA) diaspora president, Ousman Manjang remains optimistic that that justice will be served in the no matter how long it takes. His words:
“The Golden Lead case against the Environmental groups in Gunjur has suffered from, yet another set back, however I am very confident that, at some point the due process will take its cause, no matter how long it takes.”
Golden Lead legal woes:
Golden Lead Fishmeal processing company was initial taken to court by the National Environment Agency who were notified of the activities of the company that may be in breach of national environmental laws wasted no time in investigating the operations of the factory and subsequently ordering the company to stop operations immediately. This was followed by filling of a case against the company at the Brikama Magistrates Court in June 2017, charged on four counts of 1. Withholding information about management of waste, 2. Discharging substance of waste water into the sea, 3. Polluting the environment and 4. Failure to keep record of their company activities Golden Lead denied these charges. The National Environment Agency has accused Golden Lead of discharging waste water from their processing plant into the sea at the Gunjur beach, an act which was reportedly “unknown to the authorities”. NEA further accused the company of discharging waste water into the nearby lagoon and the sea through connected pipes without authority. The NEA also alleged that the Golden Lead has equally failed to keep records of its activities, products and waste which it was required to do by the environment laws of the country. Of course it was later reported by the Director of Press at the Office of the President of The Gambia that the matter in court between Golden Lead and NEA has been “settled out of court”. This prompted a consortium of environmental concerned groups in Gunjur, supported by the Gunjur Development Association (GDA) to file a civil law suit against Golden Lead at the High Court in Banjul. The suit which was first filed at the high court on 19th July 2017 continue to stall at the High Court amid allegations of interference from some influential people with vested interest in the Golden Lead company.