Unlawful Order: Justice Alami Makes Critical Comment about Gambia Immigration Department

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By Kemeseng Sanneh (Kexx)

Justice Zainab Jawara-Alami of the Banjul High Court has responded to the Immigration personnel she convicted of conspiracy, theft and official corruption.

The officers convicted and sentenced were Assistant Superintendent Momodou Jammeh, Omar Ceesay (cashier), Inspector Sarjo Saine, Chief Superintendent Sulayman Colley, Deputy Commissioner Omar Badjie, Commissioner for Banjul Sambujang Badjie.

Sambujang Badjie was exonerated of the Economic Crimes charge. Momodou Jammeh was freed from the theft charge. 

Justice Zainab Jawara-Alami reacted to the claims by Omar Ceesay, the 2nd accused person and Sarjo Saine, the third accused person, who said they were acting under the instructions of their superiors and it is their orientation that they should not disobey orders of their seniors.

Justice Zainab Jawara-Alami in her judgement took time to address that claim.

“I cannot conclude my sentencing without touching on this pertinent issue that ran throughout the trial. It is of great concern to me that the 2nd and 3rd accused, who were junior officers testified at length that they simply followed instructions as they did not know the difference between a lawful order and an unlawful order. 

I have dilated on this at length in my judgement – and have shown that ‘In raising a defence of superior orders, the primary focus is on the order itself’. The fact that an accused person acted pursuant to an order of a Government, an order of a superior shall not relieve him of criminal responsibility, but may be considered in mitigation of punishment if the Court determines that justice so requires and that is what I have considered in not imposing a custodial sentence.

It is therefore incumbent upon The Government of The Gambia in its security sector where orders are given and obeyed to ensure that officers receive adequate training in training school to understand the difference between a lawful and an unlawful order.”