Sunday, May 9, 2021

Chief Justice Presides over Controversial D54 Million NAM Loan Case

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By Yankuba Jallow

The Supreme Court of The Gambia presided over by Chief Justice Hassan B. Jallow on Tuesday, 19th January heard the  case involving two civil society groups and the clerk of the National Assembly over  loan Parliamentarians allocated for themselvest.

Marr Nyang represented Gam Participates while Sait Matty Jaw represented the Center for Research and Policy Development. These two civil society groups brought a case against the Clerk of the National Assembly, the Auditor General, the Minister of Finance and the Attorney General over the loan members of the National Assembly included in the 2021 budget for their use.

From L-R: Marr Nyang and Sait Matty Jaw

The case was instituted pursuant to sections 3, 4 and 5 of the National Assembly Salaries and Pensions Act, section 21 of the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act, section 14 of the Finance and Audit Act and Clause 70 of the National Assembly Standing Orders.

The court will first look into the motion seeking to stop the Defendants from having to disburse or use the D54 million loan for members of the National Assembly.

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The case was adjourned to Tuesday, 26th January 2021 for the processes to be regularised. The court gave all parties time to file in all the necessary processes on or before Friday, 22nd January 2021. However, Lawyer Abdoulie Fatty made a motion seeking for leave from the court to file an‘Amiscus’  brief in the case. Lawyer Fatty made this motion on behalf of Activista-The Gambia.

Fatty’s motion was objected by Lawyer Ida Drammeh for the Clerk of the National Assembly. 

Fatty said the purpose of the ‘Amiscus’ brief is simply to assist the court on an important issue concerning the public life of this country to come to a just and fair determination. He referred the court to the case of The State and Yankuba Touray where the apex court granted leave for ‘Amiscus’  brief to be filed by certain lawyers.

Lawyer Fatty said the case raises serious issues of constitutional law and the matter is in the public interest. He cited section 5 of the Constitution subsections (a) and (b).

Lawyer Hawa Sisay-Sabally urged the court to allow the application for it is going to assist the court to arrive at a just conclusion. Binga D for the Attorney General did not oppose the application and left it at the discretion of the court.

Ida Drammeh for the Clerk of the National Assembly said the court should refuse the application because it is going to cause delay in the case. She is with the conviction that the Supreme Court is competent enough to deal with the case and arrive at a just conclusion adding where the court is of the view that it needs assistance; the Attorney General is competent enough to deal with it. She said granting ‘Amiscus’ in all cases would prejudices parties to the suit.

She said the filing of the ‘Amiscus’ briefs in this case would delay the court adding the affidavit in support does not contain facts that would warrant the court to grant the application. She urged the court to refuse the request.

Lawyer Fatty in his reply on points of law said Lawyer Drammeh did not cite any law to justify her objection and has not given any sufficient reasons as to why the application should be refused.

The case was adjourned to Monday, 25th January 2021 at 10 am for the ruling on the motion. 

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