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AG Chambers Asks Court To Disregard UDP’s Evidence Against Ambassadors 

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ANM Ousainu Darboe at the Supreme Court

By Landing Ceesay

The office of the Attorney General’s Chambers, represented by Director of Civil Litigation Counsel Binga, has called upon The Gambia’s Supreme Court to dismiss the evidence presented by the United Democratic Party (UDP) against three of the country’s ambassadors and a Consular Officer.

The UDP filed a lawsuit at the Supreme Court, seeking to nullify the appointments of Fatoumatta Jahumpa Ceesay, Ousman Rambo Jatta, Sheikh Tijan Hydara, and Lamin Bojang in the foreign services.

The UDP contends that these individuals simultaneously hold executive positions within political parties while serving in the foreign service.

The Opposition Party asserts that these appointments violate the constitution.

In court, Counsel Binga argued that the UDP failed to provide sufficient evidence to justify declaring their appointments unconstitutional.

Furthermore, Counsel Binga highlighted that the videos submitted by the UDP were speculative, and inconsistencies existed regarding the date of the Congress.

He firmly stated that the Supreme Court should not rely solely on video clips from social media to address constitutional matters.

The Director of Civil Litigation emphasized that the UDP should have obtained information about party leadership from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) rather than relying solely on social media videos to support their case.

Counsel Binga pointed out that the UDP aimed to prove that Fatoumatta Jahumpa Ceesay holds the position of General Secretary within the APRC through three videos and a newspaper article.

“The authenticity of the videos was challenged during cross-examination of the witness P1 Kemo Bojang. The witness could not authenticate the source of his videos, and further, it is clear that the video he brought was a copy of another copy and possibly several other copies. This is hearsay and is contrary to the Evidence Act. The said videos ought to be disregarded,” Counsel Binga submitted. Counsel Binga additionally argued that the initial video appears to depict a gentleman making broad remarks. He pointed out that the transcript (exhibit P5) identifies the individual as the “handsome” Secretary General, a description typically assigned to males.
Furthermore, Counsel Binga asserted that the second video is purportedly of Fatoumatta Jahumpa Ceesay delivering a statement at an APRC congress.

“The date of this congress is in controversy. The Plaintiffs (UDP), in their pleadings in paragraph 9, have stated that the congress in Janjanbureh was held in December 2022. The Plaintiff’s witness Kemo Bojang (PW1) has testified that the congress was held between the 6th and 8th of January 2022. He had previously said it was December of 2022 and when it was put to him during cross-examination that he had said it was December 2022 he clarified that it was actually in January 2022,” Counsel Binga submitted. 

Counsel Binga further submitted that Haddy Jagne, the second witness for UDP, was brought to court to testify on the transcripts of the videos she made.

“Some of those recordings were in Mandinka and PW2 admitted during cross-examination that she does not speak Mandinka and that it was a court staff who assisted her in the translation. The court staff who translated was not called as a witness, and the court has no reason to believe the person is a competent interpreter and there is no way to test the veracity of the interpretation in the transcripts. We submit that the transcript is also hearsay, and its contents should be disregarded by the Court,” Counsel Binga told the court. 

Counsel Binga further told the Supreme Court Judges that the newspaper article tendered by the UDP, is not a fact but rather an opinion based article. 

“The newspaper article that was tendered we submit is opinion evidence and we submit that this cannot be relied on to establish the fact of the matters contained therein. The video of Ousman Jatta does not show when it was recorded. The dates of these events are significant because they need to be tied to the appointments of the Defendants to their positions in public office. When they were appointed to public office is not clear, and when they were purportedly holding political office is also not clear,” Counsel Binga submitted. Counsel Binga argued that Rambo Jatta’s appointment aligns appropriately with foreign service protocols and regulations. He asserted that there is no valid reason indicating that Jatta’s appointment breaches any Foreign Service regulations.

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