By Landing Ceesay
Lawyer Abdoulie Fatty, counsel representing the Former Secretary General and Minister of Presidential Affairs and firebrand member of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), Mr. Momodou Sabally, has filed a Statement of Defence in response to Abubakary Jawara’s civil lawsuit against his client at the High Court of the Gambia.
Momodou Sabally (the defendant) has been served a Writ of Summons to appear before the High Court in Banjul on November 14th, 2022, to respond to a civil suit filed by Abubakary Jawara (the plaintiff).
Abubakary Jawara in his civil lawsuit, is claiming: “Damages for defamation and slander; seeking an order directing the defendant (Momodou Sabally) to issue an unreserved apology to the plaintiff (Abubakary Jawara) to be published in widely circulating national newspapers; An Order that the defendant does pay to the plaintiff the sum of GMB 8,000,000.00 being special damages; A perpetual injunction restraining the defendant (Momodou Sabally) either through his agents, cronies, associates, contacts, or further defaming, the plaintiff (Abubakary Jawara) in any way or manner whosoever; Interest at the rate of 15% per annum until the date of judgment; Cost; and for such further or others as this Honourable Court deems fit.”
In his response to Abubakary Jawara’s lawsuit against his client, Counsel Abdoulaye Fatty, made mention of plaintiff’s personal proximity to, and friendship with the head of state, that, he is a strong and prominent financial supporter of the ruling National People’s Party, in addition to the vast business interest he accrued in the Gambia since the change in regime in 2017. This, he argued in his defence submission, makes the plaintiff a Politically Exposed Person (PEP) in the prevailing socio-political landscape of the Gambia.
Counsel Fatty, in his statement of Defence, pointed out that his client is a prominent opposition figure, whose attempt to contest in the NAM elections ended with the rejection of his nomination by the IEC. He was and remain a high-profile social commentator, author of several books, garnering the nickname name, Gambia’s Pen along the way. In that, the defendant, Momodou Sabally, is a fierce and prolific critic of the current dispensation, an adversarial role that he embraces without malice.
“In his capacity as an opposition politician, the Defendant, is/was at all material times, arguably the most high-profile socio-political commentator, author of several books/poems hence the name “Gambia’s Pen” and a fierce critic of the current administration, on matters of public concern and interest.” Counsel Fatty wrote in his statement of Defence.
In his defence submission, Counsel for the Defence denied his client made any false pronouncements with malice
“Paragraph 3 is admitted only to the extent that the Defendant is a prominent opposition politician, otherwise it is denied that he made any statements that were false and intentionally malicious.”
Furthermore, Counsel Fatty argued that the plaintiff did not suffer any reputational damage from his client’s utterance.
“The Plaintiff did not suffer any reputational harm as a direct result of the Defendant’s statements that can be attributed to the Defendant through express or implied false and intentional malicious representations. The Plaintiff is strictly required to prove same, and it is denied that any injury that the Plaintiff is able to prove was caused by any express or implied false and intentional malicious misrepresentations of the Defendant, as alleged or at all.”
Counsel Fatty argued that his client was operating in good faith when he made statements that he is being sued for.
“The statements were made in utmost good faith as the issues concerned public safety and national security, in other
words, public interest.”
We will bring you more details in our subsequent publications.