The Seychelles’ Land Compensation Tribunal has completed judgments in all its cases and is in the process of finalising its report by the end of the year, said a top official.
The chairperson of the Tribunal, Joseph Athanasius, told SNA that ruling on all cases has been completed and that a report would be submitted to the president for the government’s consideration.
“We extended the date to June last year for people to file their case. With COVID-19, we had to push the date to December,” said Athanasius.
He said the Tribunal bases its ruling on various points including previous court rulings, the location of the property and its current market value and the type of development that could have been done on the property.
The Land Compensation Tribunal also works in close collaboration with the Truth Reconciliation and National Unity Commission which is investigating cases of human rights abuses prior to and after the 1977 coup. Illegal land acquisition by the government also forms part of its mandate.
The tribunal is supposed to operate under a legal framework, but until now the framework has not yet been put in place.
“We are waiting for the government to give us a legal instrument to give our rulings more weight as well as allow both parties to appeal against the Tribunal’s decision. Not having such a framework is causing a setback in our work,” said Athanasius.
In Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, land can be acquired under Part II of the Acquisition of Land in the Public Interest Act, 1996. Under Part III of the same Act, claims can be made for compensation.
Any person who wanted to submit a claim needed to fill a form that will be available online next year or can visit the tribunal located at Le Chantier Mall in Victoria, the capital.
A person submitting a claim needs to have a legal right to the land.
The establishment of the Tribunal is in line with a Court of Appeal ruling of December 7, 2012, in which the government was invited to set up a Tribunal to deal with compensation cases instead of taking cases to Court.
The five-member committee has been holding weekly sittings since 2017 to assess the various claims filed. The work of the committee includes site visits and interviews from both parties — the complainant and the government.

Source: Seychelles News Agency