By Landing Ceesay
At the High Court of the Gambia on Monday, the lawyer for the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) Y. Senghore submitted her arguments on the legality of the KMC Commission of Inquiry set up by Hon. Musa Drammeh, the Minister of Lands, Regional Government and Religious Affairs.
The KMC filed an application to the High Court against the Minister of Lands, Regional Government and Religious Affairs Hon. Musa Drammeh, (1st respondent) seeking the court to quash the Commission of Inquiry set up by the Minister to look into allegations of fraud and malpractice at the Council and connected matters.
The lawyer for the applicant (KMC) is Y. Senghore; while the 1st and 2nd respondents were represented by Counsel Mr. Binga and Counsel S. L. Jobarteh, and Hon. Justice B. V. P. Mahoney of the High Court presided over the case.
In her argument over the legality of the KMC Commission of Inquiry counsel Senghore said the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry by 1st respondent (Minister of Lands) was done in bad faith.
“My lord it is our submission that even though the Act provides that the minister may call a council meeting and provide guidelines. The fact that it is anticipated in the Act that those steps being taken make it imperative for any minister before setting up a commission of inquiry to actually call a council meeting and point out the irregularities found and give the council any guidance, if necessary,” Senghore said.
Counsel Senghore argued that the minister (1st respondent) could only act on a report of the inspectors to set up a commission of inquiry; saying not on allegations and counter-allegations mentioned in paragraph 33 of the affidavit in support of their argument.
“So we submit that by the fact that the 1st respondent is saying he established his commission because of the allegations letter from the council and the petition from the CEO and other staff on its own is sufficient for this honourable court to quash the establishment of the commission of inquiry,” she added.
Counsel Senghore continued that the report by the inspectors established that the power of the council was performed properly, lawful, appropriately and efficiently.
“The applicant states that the actions of the Minister (1st respondent) of setting up this commission of inquiry is ultra-viral and asking this honourable court under section 16, subsection 2 of the law of application Act to quash the establishment of the commission,” she argued.
She argued that the 1st respondent (Minister) said the commission would investigate the ‘Mbalit’ trucks when the inspectors’ report showed clearly that due process was followed.
“My lord we submit that in circumstances such as this case where the reasonableness, fairness of anadministerial decision in question be held that the Minister provides justification for the basis of his act,” she argued.
Meanwhile, the lawyer for the respondents Mr. Binga who could not complete the submission of his argument due to time constraint is scheduled to continue today, 1st February 2022, at 12 mid-day.