Karefa Smart & Dr Arthur S.O Wright (62)  SLHC 62 (02 January 2013);
Counsel for Defendant:
Ms M Tucker
Counsel for Plaintiff:
CC. No. 62/13 2013 K. No. 10
IN THE HIGH COURT OF SIERRA LEONE
(LAND & PROPERTY DIVISION)
IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF GRACE HARRIET JENNER-WRIGHT
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATES ACT (CHAPTER 45 OF THE LAWS
OF SIERRA LEONE (1960) & THE DEVOLUTION OF ESTATES ACT (2007)
MR. PETER KAREFA-SMART - PLAINTIFF/RESPONDENT
2 Lamina Sankoh Street, Freetown
(Suing as Beneficiary to the Intestate Estate of
Md. Grace Harriet Jenner-Wright - Deceased Intestate)
DR. ARTHUR D. O. WRIGHT - DEFENDANT/ APPLICANT
34 Bathurst Street, Freetown
(Sued as Administrator of the Intestate Estate of
Md. Grace Harriet Jenner-Wright - Deceased Intestate)
Ms. M Tucker of Serry-Kamal & Co. Solicitors for the Applicant/Defendant
M. P. Fofanah Esq. of Edrina Chambers, Solicitor for the Plaintiff /Respondent
RULING dated Friday 6th May 2016
Reginald Sydney Fynn JA..,
This application is by Judges Summons dated 16th June 2014. It would appear that the case file had gone missing as the matter was assigned to me on 29th February 2016. The application is supported by an affidavit of even date sworn to by A O D Wright the Defendant /Applicant. The respondent has filed two affidavits both sworn to by Mohammed Pa-Momoh Fofanah Esq dated 12th February 2016 and 28th April 2016 respectively. The pith of the application is contained in the first order sought which is :
“That the court give direction as to the management control or disposal of the properties forming the estate of Grace Harriet Jenner-Wright (deceased) intestate whilst this matter is pending in the High Court as these properties are in a state of ruin and if something is not done speedily the properties will be completely ruined and the beneficiaries deprived of their inheritance”
The need for this order is explained in the affidavit in support at paragraphs 4 and 5 particularly as follows:
“4. That these properties have not been rented and even though there are many people interested in leasing or purchasing, the plaintiff in this matter issued a writ of summons against me and as the matter is in court. I have hesitated in taking any decision on the renting etc of these properties. True copy of the writ is produced……
5. That since the issue of the Writ of Summons there has been no progress in the matter. The properties unfortunately are gradually deteriorating and in poor state of repairs. Mostly they are closed and I believe if something is not done serious defects will arise”
This need for preserving the estate property is not disputed by the respondent in the affidavits in answer to the motion. The Respondent however would prefer to have the court order some independent person to be in charge of the estate property whilst the matter is being heard and disposed off.
I am satisfied that further inactivity will result in the continued deterioration of the real properties forming part and parcel of the Estate of Madam Grace Harriet Jenner-Wright (deceased intestate) – hereinafter called “the Deceased”, including the real Properties listed out in the Further Grant to the Letters of Administration taken out by the Defendant herein on the 20th January, 2012 (namely, the Further Declaration of Estate Value sworn on the 28th May, 2012 a copy of which is annexed to this ruling). I am also satisfied that O 35 R 2 of the High Court Rules 2007 provides this court with the necessary powers to make orders for the preservation of property subject matter of an action before it.
The court however takes the view that whilst the Defendant/Applicant remains the Administrator and thereby the person liable to account for the estate for the period under his administration he should be allowed to discharge his responsibilities. However in view of the concerns and reservations of the plaintiff/respondent which have made this action necessary it will be prudent that the administrator be made to perform his duties on terms which take these concerns and reservations into consideration.
I have given the solicitors and the parties time to consult and submit to the court terms upon which the preservation of the estate property will be achieved pending the determination of this action. I am grateful for counsel’s assistance in this regard and have considered the draft terms they jointly submitted. I now make the following orders:
- The Defendant as Administrator of the Estate of the Deceased, shall act with the direct and joint supervision of and monitoring by the Solicitors for the respective Parties
- The Defendant /Applicant/Administrator shall be at liberty to sell or lease the Properties forming part of the Estate of the Deceased, the same which are listed out in the Valuation Certificate attached hereto dated 10th July, 2012 and place the proceeds thereof into an interest bearing Account at a reputed Commercial Bank, with the Administrator and the Master & Registrar as joint signatories thereto, pending the hearing and determination of this Action.
- That no property forming part of the Estate of the Deceased, and which is listed out in the Valuation Certificate attached hereto dated 10th July, 2012, shall not be sold without a specific Court Order to that effect.
- That all monies forming part of the personal Estate of the Deceased kept at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank and or any other bank in Sierra Leone shall be paid into the interest bearing Account hereby ordered to be created.
- That the Administrator shall cause all monies held for and on behalf of the Estate of the Deceased by Banks in England (or wherever else same may be found) to be remitted to the interest bearing Account hereby ordered to be created.
- That no monies shall be withdrawn from the said interest bearing Account to be opened by the Administrator/Defendant without a court order.
- The Administrator shall provide the Court and the respective Solicitors of the Parties with a quarterly report of his activities pursuant to this order. The first report being due on 1st September 2016.
- These orders shall be deemed vacated within twelve months of the date of this ruling or upon the determination of the substantive action herein whichever is sooner.
- That either Party shall be at liberty to apply to or address the Court on any matter that may require clarification.
- This matter will be tried expeditiously for which purposed the Summons for Directions dated 2nd June 2013 is hereby fixed for hearing on Monday 9th May 2016
………………………………………………………Reginald Sydney Fynn JA