PRESS RELEASE: GAMBIA COURT OF APPEAL RULING IN THE CASE OF M.A. KHARAFI & SONS LIMITED VS THE ATTORNEY GENERAL CIVIL APPEAL NO. GCA 046/2019
The Government has taken note of the recent ruling by The Gambia Court of Appeal in the case of M.A. Kharafi and Sons Limited vs the Attorney General, civil appeal no. GCA 046/2019 delivered on 1 June 2020. The Government notes that different interpretations of the ruling are being offered by many including sections of the media.
The Government wishes to clarify to the general public that The Gambia Court of Appeal did not in any way state that the Janneh Commission recommendations cannot be enforced. Rather, in a departure from long established practice in this jurisdiction, the Court of Appeal held that an additional legal step needs to be taken by the Executive in order to execute some, and not all, of the recommendations of a commission of inquiry such as the Janneh Commission. Indeed, the Gambia Court of Appeal has accepted, in the said ruling, that the position arrived at by the Court in this matter is a novel one.
The Government however disagrees with this position by the Court of Appeal and intends to further litigate this matter. Meanwhile, consistent with the Government's strong commitment to respect for the rule of law, all sales of properties flowing from the Janneh Commission recommendations have now been suspended in deference to the ruling of the court of appeal until a final pronouncement is made on the matter.
In any event, this ruling by The Gambia Court of Appeal is yet another concrete demonstration of the independence and impartiality of the judiciary under the administration of His Excellency President Adama Barrow, and the commitment of his government to strengthen same. Such rulings emanate from complex legal issues and contribute to and enrich the development of a country's jurisprudence. All democracies experience such landmark decisions in cases that often alter the course of a nation's history and become the foundations or precursor of future conduct by both government and non-governmental entities. This is how all democracies evolve and a new democratic Gambia will not and cannot be an exception.
It therefore bodes well for a new Gambia which is committed to the principles of good governance and rapidly gaining recognition around the world as a bastion of democracy and judicial independence. Today, more than ever before, the Government is commted to ensuring an independent judiciary capable of inspiring public confidence in the administration of justice system in The Gambia.
Finally, the Government wishes to highlight that the Janneh Commission inquiry should not be viewed with the lens of assets recovery alone. The inquiry also had as its primary objectives the exposure of the brazen corruption of former President Jammeh and his close associates, and to recommend ways of improving on the supervision of Government Accounts in a bid to ensuring that irregular withdrawals from Government Accounts do not reoccur. The inquiry has achieved these objectives, and the Government is satisfied with the outcome.
Banjul, June 5.4.2020