Supreme Court hears The Coalition of Progressive Gambians and Co. case against  Gambia Gov’t

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Chief Justice Hassan Jallow

By: Alieu Ceesay

The Coalition of Progressive Gambians, represented by Counsel Lamin J. Darboe and Kemeseng Saneh, filed a civil suit at the Supreme Court against the Clerk of the National Assembly and Attorney General over the amendment to the Commission of Inquiry Act that grants President Barrow the power to pardon individuals barred from public office.

On September 2, 2023, the National Assembly passed the Commission of Inquiry (Amendment) Act, granting the President authority to pardon individuals barred from public office by a Commission of Inquiry.

The three plaintiffs challenged the decision and requested the Supreme Court to make a declaration that sections 19, 20, and 21 of the Commission of Inquiry (Amendment Act) 2023 are in direct conflict with sections 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, and 206 of the Constitution of Republic of The Gambia. The plaintiff argued that the three sections were made more than legislative authority (powers). The National Assembly uses excessive legislative powers.

The Plaintiffs (We) rely on the provisions of the 1997 Constitution, such as (sections 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, and 206). They want the Supreme Court to strike out Sections 19, 20, and 21 of the Commission of Inquiry (Amendment) Act of 2023.

Section 200 of the Constitution gives the President power to establish a commission of inquiry whenever they deem it necessary to inquire into the conduct of any public officer.

At the Supreme Court hearing on Monday, Counsel Lamin J Darboe announced himself as the plaintiff, with Kemeseng Sanneh, commonly known as Kexx Sanneh, and the Coalition of Progressive Gambians as plaintiffs.

Conversely, Counsel Y. Cox, S.L. Jobarteh, and L.M. Dibba appear for the State.
Counsel J Darboe informed the court that they had filed the case with a hearing notice to be heard today.

Judge Mam Yassin Sey asked the state counsel whether they received the Sermon. Counsel Y. Cox responded that they had received the Sermon and had been applying for 21 days to reply.

At this point, Counsel J Darboe indicates that the 21 days should commence when they were served. However, Judge Mam Yassin Sey intervened, saying no matter what, the court will sit in the next term as this term ends.

Judge Mam Yassin Sey ruled that the minister of Justice and Clerk of the National Assembly are given 21 days to file their reply and seven days for the plaintiff to reply on points of law if necessary.

The case was adjourned to the following term for hearing of the case.

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