Seychelles’ Supreme Court says Coetivy Island ownership issue to be settled May 8
The Supreme Court of Seychelles has set May 8 as the date for a final judgment on the claim for the return of Coetivy Island to its former owner.
The claim was made by Alain Hoareau, an adopted son of the late Andre Delhomme, one among the former owners of Coetivy Island. The case is being heard before Justice Ellen Carolus.
The deal to purchase the island located 290 kilometres from Mahe, Seychelles’ main island, was made in 1979 by the government at the time and the owners under an acquisition agreement.
The lawyer of the Delhomme family told the press after a court sitting on Friday that the “government did not fully honour the contract after the transaction was made to purchase the island in 1979.”
Elisabeth said that the Delhomme’s family is petitioning to cancel the sales between the two parties as there is an outstanding balance not paid.
“We asked the court to rule that the property be returned to the Delhomme family. Secondly, if this is not possible, we are requesting for the outstanding balance to be paid.
Hoareau, the adoptive son of Delhomme, who has got power of attorney over the case, said that they want the island returned to them.
“My father was forced to sell the island under the regime of Rene. The offer was 4 million rupees and my dad had no other choice but to accept. The government made a deposit of 2.5 million only. In the claws of the contract it was stipulated that if the government defaults on three payments, the island should return back to the Delhomme family,” he said.
He added that after coming back to the island nation after living abroad for some years, he found out that documents from the Registrar’s office show that the rest of the balance of 1.5 million was never paid.
“We want justice to be served. We want the island back as we also can develop it and create employment for Seychellois. Investors would be also welcomed,” said Hoareau.
An official of the Attorney General’s Office who SNA contacted said at the Defence will not be making any comment at this point in time.
Seychellois whose land was taken by the government from 1977 to 1993 had until June last year to lodge their claims with a Land Compensation tribunal, which was set up in August 2017. The establishment of the Tribunal was 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 as opposed to taking cases to Court.
Meanwhile, Coetivy is being used for a rehabilitation programme for up to 30 inmates under an agreement between the Islands Development Company (IDC) which manages the island and the Prison Services.
A prawn farm on Coetivy is also expected to be relaunched and will be managed by a Seychellois team.