By Yankuba Jallow
High Court Judge, Justice Ebrima Jaiteh, has on Wednesday 18th August adjourned the civil case involving the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) and suspended CEO Sainabou Martin-Sonko to an indefinite date.
Justice Jaiteh adjourned the matter until further notice because he won’t be the vacation judge next week as he has already served his three weeks appointed period. The next judge who would serve as the vacation judge is expected to hear the matter.
The Council brought a suit against CEO Sonko-Martin, Dr Alieu Keita, Bakary Jawo, Kaba Bass, Baboucar Sanyang, the Minister for Lands, Regional Government and Religious Affairs, Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General.
The case could not proceed on Wednesday because Antouman A.B. Gaye, lawyer for CEO Martin requested for time to respond to the case brought against her client. The court granted the request and gave Lawyer Gaye time to file his response to the KMC case.
KMC is claiming the sum of D20.000.000.00 (twenty million dalasi) for damages from the defendants for intruding into their premises without lawful authority and for intimidation of its staff and personnel.
The municipal council wants the High Court to make declaration that the Ministry of Lands and the Inspector General of Police, whether jointly or severally, do not have the power to determine matters relating to the appointment, control, discipline or employment of Sainabou Martin ssSonko, Dr Alieu Keita, Bakary Jawo, Mam Kaba Bass and Babucarr Sanyang. It is the argument of KMC that the Local Government Services Commission is the only body that may determine such matters.
The Council also wants the court to make declaration that any executive directive issued by the President to forcibly install any of the fore mentioned persons/ defendants in office despite the resolution of the plaintiff sending them on leave pending investigations into fraud and maladministration by the Local Government Service Commission and the Police is a violation of the Section 37, 43 (1) and 48 of the Local Government Act 2002, an abuse of executive power, unconstitutional and unlawful.
KMC also wants the High Court to make a declaration that the actions of the Inspector General of Police to deploy Police Intervention Unit officers to its premises to forcefully install into office Sainabou Martin Sonko pursuant to a purported executive directive is illegal.
The trial judge also granted an interim injunction restraining Sainabou Martin Sonko, Dr Alieu Keita, Bakary Jawo, Mam Kaba Bass and Babucarr Sanyang whether by themselves, their servants, agents, privies, or howsoever otherwise from entering upon or doing anything whatsoever on the premises, building, precincts of the Kanifing Municipal Council pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice or further orders of the court.
The trial Judge ordered that Sainabou Martin Sonko, Dr Alieu Keita, Bakary Jawo, Mam Kaba Bass and Babucarr Sanyang shall only be permitted to enter the premises, building, precincts of Kanifing Municipal Council for the purpose of investigations of the matters complained, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice or further orders of the court.