More than 150 people, including children had to find shelter last night after police executed a Court order to evict them from the MCI area in Tagabe.
Field Commander, Inspector Willie Amkori said the tenants were given time to move but they failed to comply and at the end of the day, no one is above the law.
Earlier yesterday an urgent application was filled to stay the order but it was refused by the court.
The proceeding was filed to give more time to the residents in the affected area behind MCI in Tagabe to move their belongings.
The applicant — Maliwan Philip of Tanna — who was affected by the eviction order told the court with his lawyer, Erick Molbaleh, that the property they were living in was registered under the name of Ginette Dousseron, the respondent.
But the court noted that property title No. 12/0633/1139, 12/0633/1140 and 12/0633/1141 were the properties of the respondent of this case (both Philip Paget and Mrs Dousseron) and Mr Maliwan Philip has no legal standing in the matter.
“It is hereby ordered that the application to stay the enforcement warrant issued on the August 28, 2018 is not granted,” Deputy Master Aurelie Tamseul said.
“The Sheriff is to proceed with the execution of the enforcement warrant”.
The eviction, dubbed ‘MCI OPS’ was carried out successfully with no physical threats under the supervision of Inspector Amkori and under the watch of more than 15 police and mobile officers who were deployed to remove the occupants off the property.
Daily Post’s investigation has found that the properties were registered under the name of Mrs Dousseron but she had mortgaged the land some years ago and failed to pay back her mortgagee (Bred Bank).
In another enforcement order issued on August 28, 2018, Mrs Dousseron was ordered by the Bank to pay more than Vt8.4 million with an interest of more than Vt3.4 million plus but she failed to do so.
The court then granted Bred Bank the right to seize and sell the titles registered under the name of Mrs Dousseron as the debtor in this case.
The investigation also revealed that Mrs Dousseron sold out the lease NO. 12/0633/1138 to satisfy her other liabilities and failed to payback the Bank as the mortgagee.
In the same matter, Master Cybelle Cenac-Maragh empowered the Mortgagee (Bred) to sell and transfer the leasehold property contained and described as title NO. 12/0633/1139, 12/0633/1140 and 12/0633/1141 on April 26, 2016.
“That pending such sale and transfer the claimant (Bred) as mortgagee or any agents duly authorized by it in writing be empowered to enter the property and acting all respects in the place and on behalf of the proprietor of the leases, and to apply in reduction monies due and owing to the Applicant (Bred) all or any rent received in respect of the said property,” she said.
Yesterday morning when the enforcement officers arrived at the scene, Mrs Dousseron was not around but Inspector Amkori said that she left the previous night before with her belongings.
A Tanna man who wished to remain anonymous said that they lived there before Mrs Dousseron became the proprietor of the property and they lived with her but in the final hours before the eviction, she left.
He said they were living as one community of Tanna, North Efate and Ambae on the property. Part of the community reside inside the affected area, however the eviction has forced the victims to move to the other side.
The community told Daily Post that the unaffected side belongs to Ifira custom landowners and they settled there through some agreements, while others have sought refuge to other relatives in Port Vila suburbs.
A lands officer was also called to the scene yesterday after Philip Paget had wrongly marked the property, compared to the one they had on the map and forced some people who were not supposed to move to demolish their houses out of fear.
They had to build a new house again after the land officer marked the property.
After four hours of eviction, Inspector Amkori handed the property to the new owner at 12.30pm. The victims were allowed on the property to take their possessions and salvage materials to build new shelters.
The Inspector said he is sorry for the victims but police were simply executing court orders.
He appealed to people in similar situations not to wait for police to go and move them off a property, but comply with court orders once they got served.