Kerr Fatou Online Media House
with focus on the Gambia and African News. Gambia Press Union 2021 TV Platform OF The Year

High Court: State Lawyer Insists KMC Commission of Inquiry Is Lawfully Set Up

Mayor Ahmed Talib Bensouda & Lands Minister Musa Drammeh

By Landing Ceesay

In the High Court of the Gambia today, the lawyer representing the State (Minister of Lands- 1st respondent and the Attorney General- 2nd respondent) insisted that the Kanifing Municipal Council Inquiry (KMC Inquiry) was lawfully and properly set up.

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.

Y. Senghore is the lawyer for the applicant (KMC), while the 1st and 2nd respondents are represented by Counsel Mr. Binga and Counsel S. L. Jobarteh in the matter presided over by Hon. Justice B. V. P. Mahoney.

In his response to the Counsel for the KMC that the Commission of Inquiry set up by the Minister of Lands was done in bad faith; the state lawyer Mr. Binga said the commission was lawfully and properly set up to look into allegations of fraud and malpractices at the council.

“My lord, the cross of the argument of the applicant on this issue is that honourable did not duly constitute the said Commission. Due to his failure to satisfy, the provision enshrined in Section 151, Subsection 1 of the Local Government Act; which says that on receipt of a report on a council, the Minister is satisfied that a power of a council is being performed in an improper, unlawful or inefficient manner, the Minister may in respect of that duty or power call a meeting of the council and point out irregularities found and give the council any guidance necessary.

“Subsection 2 of the same section went further to state that when the council fail to comply with irregularities or to follow the guidance of the Minister or the Minister considered that the matter is of grave nature, the Minister may do any of the following: Sub (a) said to constitute a Commission of Inquiry into the matter, in which the Hon. Minister did by establishing a commission,” Mr. Binga argued.

The state counsel further argued that there was a complaint of financial irregularities, forgery against the Chief Executive Officer of the Council; adding that the CEO and others equally filed a complaint before the Hon. Minister.

 “It was based on these two issues: the complaint by the Mayor against the CEO and the complaint filed by the CEO and others against the Mayor that’s what constitutes the establishment of an investigative panel,” he argued. 

Counsel Binga continued that the said investigative panel was constituted and was given the terms of reference, saying the term of reference was 8 in number. 

“We submit that after the submission of the inspection team or the investigative panel reports to the Hon. Minister, discovered that there were irregularities at the council. Such irregularities being in the nature of fraud and malpractices led the Hon. Minister to set up a Commission of Inquiry to probe into such allegations of fraud and malpractices at the council,” he said.

Binga said the setting up of the said Commission of Inquiry is to give both parties the Mayor, the CEO and other suspended members of the council to be heard by the Commission.

“It is our conclusion that the court has no jurisdiction to entertain this case. Secondly the Hon. Minister acted according to the law in setting up the Commission of Inquiry to look into allegations of fraud and malpractices at the council,” he said.

Comments are closed.