By Mafugi Ceesay
The High Court in Banjul has dismissed the suit filed by Momodou Sabally against the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the Attorney General, saying it “lacks merit”.
Justice Francis Achiboga on Friday dismissed Sabally’s application because the IEC returning officer acted within the framework of the law.
The nomination papers of the UDP candidate to contest in the April 9 parliamentary election for the Busumbala constituency were rejected by the IEC.
The electoral body pinned Sabally’s rejection on the findings of the Janneh Commission.
It would be recalled that the IEC’s returning officer at the Brikama IEC regional office cited section 90 of 1997.
Sabally then went to the High Court, wherein delivering his ruling Friday, Justice Achiboga ruled that Sections 39 and 47 of the Constitution empower the returning officer to reject the nomination of any aspiring candidate if he or she is disqualified by the Constitution or any other law.
And, Sabally was barred from holding public office for a lifetime, and the government issued a White Paper to that effect, he said,
The judge added that there is no trace of the Janneh Commission recommendations being set aside. It would be recalled that Sabally had filed an appeal at the court of appeal, which is yet to deliver a ruling.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters shortly after the court”s pronouncement, Sabally said he is the victim of “a witch hunt and selective justice” to bar him from holding public office, whilst allowing others to work despite the adverse findings against them by the same Janneh Commission.
After delivering his ruling, counsel for the IEC, Fatoumata Jawo, asked the court to impose costs. However, the judge rejected this, arguing that awarding costs will discourage the public from filing lawsuits before the courts. Sabally does not need to pay costs, he declared.