Monday, July 6, 2020

Supreme Court Says Muhammed Bazzi Should be Heard Despite State’s Objection

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By Yankuba Jallow

The Supreme Court on Thursday held that Muhammed Bazzi has the right to be heard despite the objection by the State.

Presided over by the Chief Justice, Hassan B. Jallow together with Justices G.B. Samega Janneh, Cherno Sulayman Jallow and R.Y. Sock, they ruled that the matter involving Muhammed Bazzi versus the Janneh Commission and the Attorney-General would be heard in the next Supreme Court session.

The ruling came about when the Director of Civil Litigation, Binga D. objected that the matter in Bazzi case has been decided in a sister case involving Ferayle Ghanem where the Supreme Court held that a Commission of Inquiry cannot be a party to a suit. Counsel Binga argued that the issues in the Bazzi case were addressed by the Supreme Court. In addition, the State Counsel argued that Bazzi’s Counsel, V. Andrews has aligned herself to the decision of the court in the Ferayle Ghanem’s case and therefore, she cannot come before the court to change her position.

On her part, Victoria Andrews for Bazzi submitted that the issues and the parties in this suit are different from the other suit even though the claims are similar.

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“My client has the right to be heard and we want to proceed with the case,” she submitted.

She disputed the fact that she aligned herself to the decision of the court in the Ferayle Ghanem case, adding that the records are there to prove her assertion.

“The court believes that the plaintiff (Bazzi) has the right to be heard and we adjourn the matter to next session for hearing of the case,” says the Chief Justice.

The Attorney-General, A. Tambadou, the Solicitor-General, Cherno Marena, Binga D. the Director of Civil Litigation at the Attorney-General’s Chambers and A.M. Yusuf, a Principal State’s Counsel all appeared for the State.

In another development, the Supreme Court adjourned the case of Fadi Mazigi to next session.

The ‘Janneh’ Commission was set up by President Adama Barrow to probe into the financial dealings of Yahya Jammeh, his family and his close associates from 22nd July 1994 to January 2017. Both Bazzi and Mazegi were both called before the Commission as witnesses about their dealings with the ex-President. The Interim Order is in respect of the financial dealings of the former President and his close associates under his directive, had with heads of Companies, amounting to hundreds of millions of dalasi.

Furthermore, the Commission also restrained the two (Bazzi and Mazegi) whether by themselves or their officers, servants, agents or any of them or otherwise howsoever, from removing from the jurisdiction, any of their aforesaid assets or doing anything that may reduce the value of the said assets pending further Orders from the Commission.

Fadi Mazegi and Mohamed Bazzi filed an appeal at the Gambia Court of Appeal in which they held that ‘Janneh’ Commission’s Interim Orders were unconstitutional and bias. However, they lost in their pursuit to have the decision over turn by the Court.

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