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Sabally Against IEC, Attorney General Case Set for Ruling On Friday

IEC chairman Alieu Momar Njai, UDP’s Momodou Sabally and Attorney General & Minister of Justice, Dawda A. Jallow

By Landing Ceesay

The United Democratic Party (UDP) Candidate for Busumbala Constituency Momodou Sabally’s case against the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and Attorney General is set for ruling at 10am on 1st April 2022.

Sabally is seeking the High Court of the Gambia to quash the decision of the IEC for rejecting his nomination papers on the 10th of March 2022.

In submitting his argument, Abdoulie Fatty, the lawyer for Sabally said it is his submission that the decision of the IEC (1st respondent) is not consistent with the provision governing the issue of qualification and disqualification that is 90(e) of the 1997 constitution.

He also argued that when a public body relies on a provision through a constitution or statutory provision and that provision governs the issue of qualification and disqualification for the office of a National Assembly, that the body exercising that function and power should limit themselves to the express and specific wordings of the instrument that they rely upon to arrive at a decision.

“As to the recommendations of a commission of inquiry, the law requires that in the exercise of its powers when it comes to the acceptance of the nomination papers such as section 90 (e) is concerned, the law only requires the 1st respondent to limit itself to what is before it. Making inferences or contracture of speculation bear the risk of arriving at a conclusion by rejecting the nomination papers of the applicant with the specific provision governing qualification.

“Arriving at a conclusion thus prejudicing the fundamental rights of the applicant. The ingredients and conditions the 1st respondent is relying on to say the applicant is ineligible to contest the National Assembly is unjust. It is unjust because it interferes with the applicant’s right under Elections Act, sections 39, 42 and 47 of the elections Act. As well as section 26 (b) and section 33 of the elections Act,” lawyer Fatty argued.

Sabally’s lawyer argued that the IEC’s (1st respondent) decision to reject Sabally’s nomination papers is not supported by the very law that they rely upon to disqualify him (the applicant).

“The IEC (1st respondent) Action towards the applicant (Sabally) is wrong both in law and in facts. I urge this honourable court to grant relief as per the law governing the qualification and disqualification in the constitution and in the elections Act,” he stated.

Also submitting his argument, Kebba Sanyang, lawyer for the IEC (1st respondent) said the rejection of Sabally is in accordance with the law.

He argued that a returning officer must be satisfied that candidates fulfil all legal remedies before their nomination papers will be accepted.

Lawyer Sanyang argued that the Returning Officer relied on section 90 (e) of the 1997 constitution to reject the applicant (Sabally).

“We submit that the application before this honourable court lacks merits and the court should dismiss it with cost attached to it,” the IEC lawyer Kebba Sanyang argued.

Meanwhile, the lawyer representing the 2nd respondent (Attorney General) said they associated themselves with the submission of the 1st respondent (IEC) arguments.

Then, the High Court Judge Achibonga adjourned the hearing to (Friday) 1st April 2022 for ruling at 10am.

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