COURT DELAYS HEARING OF INJUNCTION REQUEST AGAINST LOCAL GOV’T COMMISSIONERS
Until substantive matter is heard
Justice Achibonga of the High Court yesterday refused to entertain a motion seeking a restraining order against Commissioners Samba Faal, Oreme Joiner, Alagie Sillah, the Attorney General and the commission of inquiry into the conduct of all local councils, until the substantive suit is heard.
The motion is filed by Mayor Rohey Lowe who wanted the court to restrain the commissioners from sitting before the main substantive suit is heard.
But the presiding judge, Achibonga said the court would rather hear the substantive suit first before hearing the motion for restraining order.
The case was then adjourned to the 12 April, 2023 for hearing of the substantive suit.
In the substantive suit, Mayor Lowe is seeking for the High Court to declare that the commission is not properly constituted in that two of its members, Samba Faal and Alagie Sillah are subject to the terms of inquiry of the said commission, having respectively held the office of Mayor of Banjul from 2008-2012 and Councillor at Banjul City Council from 1996 to 2008, and ought not to be members.
She is also seeking a declaration that the commission, having been vested with powers to make orders against any person including herself, or to summon anyone to appear before it at any time, which may include the campaign period, is an obstacle to her conferred political rights under Section 26 of the Constitution of The Gambia.
Mayor Lowe is also seeking a declaration that her rights guaranteed by the constitution would be interfered with by the sittings of the commission at a time when she has been selected for the Local Government Elections slated for April 2023 and May 2023 by the United Democratic Party UDP as its mayoral candidate for Banjul.
Also, the mayor wants a declaration that Samba Faal, Oreme Joiner and Alagie Sillah being leading members, sympathersizers and associates of the NPP-APRC Alliance parties to which the appointing authority of the members of the commission belongs would be bias and therefore will not be independent in the discharge of the commission’s mandate, in violation of Section 24 of the constitution and the rules of natural justice.
The mayor is also begging the court to issue an order that the 3 be removed as members of the commission on the grounds that they are not competent to be members by virtue of their past or present positions and or their association with the NPP and its coalition members.
The suit also seeks an order from the court that the press release issued by the Attorney General on the 21 February, 2023 in his capacity as Chief Legal Adviser to the Government of the Gambia with regards to the setting up of Commissions of inquiry on the 24 February 2023 where the Banjul City Council was singled out for acts of irregularity, undermines the fair hearing of the commission and are prejudicial to the applicant (Mayoress Lowe).
Finally, Mayor Lowe wants an order dissolving the commission of inquiry as presently constituted on grounds of bias, prejudice and interference with the outcome of it’s inquiry.
Source: The Standard