No official explanation for removal of judges, magistrates


By Muhammed Sailu Bah The Gambian judiciary has recently been affected by the mass removal of judicial officials, including two Supreme Courts judges and two magistrates of the lower courts, without any official explanation advanced for the reason for this purge.Justice Gibou Janneh, one of the longest serving members of the Supreme Court of The Gambia, and Justice Raymond Sock as well as magistrates Jacqueline Nixon Hakim and Samsideen Conteh were all removed from their positions, as confirmed by Mr. Landing Sanneh, the Judicial Secretary. When asked about the reasons behind the termination of the services of these judicial officials, Mr. Sanneh said all that he can say is that they are no longer working with the judiciary. This development, however, came in the wake of the removal under similar unexplained circumstances of the former Chief Justice of The Gambia, Ali Nawaz Chowhan on 12 May. Some of these judicial officials have recently made landmark judgments on certain widely publicized cases. Justice Janneh was the judge who read out the Supreme Court judgment on the high profile appeal case involving Lt. Gen. Lang Tombong Tamba, former armed forces chief, and Rear Admiral Sarjo Fofana, former commander of the navy, and in which the latter was acquitted and discharged on 6 May 2015. As for Magistrate Conteh, she presided over the case of Mr. Sait Matty Jaw, the University of The Gambia (UTG) Lecturer, who was later acquitted and discharged on four counts on 29 April of this year. Magistrate Hakim freed the two journalists, Musa Sheriff and Sainey Marenah, of conspiracy and false publication charges on 10 November 2014. ]]>