High Court Hears Brikama Area Council’s Case against Governor of WCR, AG

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By Louise Jobe

Justice M.L. Owolabi of the Brikama High Court on Tuesday, 14 May 2024 commenced hearing of a case instituted by the Brikama Area Council (BAC) against the Governor of West Coast Region and the Attorney General (AG).

The case emanated from a dispute between the Governor and the Area Council regarding the allocation of canteens or shops. The Area Council argues that the Governor has no business in allocating shops or canteens.

The case raises legal issues regarding the Constitution and the Local Government Act. This is a judicial review case in which the area council wants the court to decide on the action of the Governor of West Coast Region’s to establish a committee charge with the allocation of shops or canteens in the Brikama main market. The BAC through their lawyer, Abdoulie Fatty, is asking the court to issue an order of certiorari against the Governor to quash the Market Allocation Committee established by the Governor to allocate eighty-eight (88) newly constructed canteens or shops to vendors. The 1997 Constitution empowers the high court to issue certain orders and one of them is the power to issue orders of certiorari. In law, certiorari is a court process that seeks judicial review of a decision of a lower court or government agency.

On Tuesday 14th May 2024, BAC’s Chairman YankubaDarboe, the Vice-Chairman and some councillors represented the Council. Their lawyer, Abdoulie Fatty was also present. State Counsels C. Njie and A.K Leigh appeared for the Governor and the Attorney General.

Senior Counsel A. Fatty informed the court that he was served with the affidavit in opposition filed by the Governor and the Attorney General on Tuesday, 14th May 2024. Lawyer Fatty indicated his desire to reply to the Governor and the Attorney General.

“I intended to file an affidavit in reply,” Lawyer Fatty said.

Justice Owolabi instructed the parties in the case to exchange briefs of argument (documents containing their arguments). The Area Council was asked to file and serve the Governor and the Attorney within seven (7) days from Tuesday, 14th of May 2024. The Governor and the Attorney were given 7 days to file and serve their brief of argument. BAC is supposed to file a reply on points of law within 3 dates after receiving the documents from the Governor and the Attorney General.

The case was adjourned to 5th of June 2024 for adoption of briefs.