16 July 2018

Gambia: The Role of a Commission of Inquiry

analysis

Section 200 subsection (1) of the Constitution empowers the President to constitute a Commission of Inquiry and appoint one or more Commissioners to make inquiry for the public good. The National Assembly may also request the President to establish a Commission of Inquiry.

Section 202 subsection (1)empowers a Commission of Inquiry to -

"(a) make a full and impartial investigation into the matter in respect of which the Commission is established; and

(b) furnish in writing a report on the results of the inquiry, including a statement of the reasons leading to the conclusions of the Commission."

Hence the first task of a Commission of Inquiry is to investigate into the subject matter. The second task is to write a report of its findings and submit it to the President. This is why it is necessary to have a secretary to record all the evidence to enable the Commission to prepare its final report for submission to the President.

Furthermore, Section 203 adds that, "On receipt of the report of a Commission of Inquiry -

(a) The President shall within six months publish the report and his or her comments on the report, together with a statement of any action taken, or the reason for not taking action, thereon; or

(b) Where the President refuses to publish the report for reasons of national security or otherwise in the public interest, he or she shall, within six months publish a statement to that effect."

Section 204 adds that "(1) Where a commission of inquiry makes an adverse finding against any person, it shall, at the time of submitting its report to the President, inform such person of the finding and the reasons therefor.

(2) A person against whom any such adverse finding has been made may appeal against such finding to the Court of Appeal as of right as if the finding were a judgment of the high court; and on the hearing of the appeal the report shall be treated as if it were such a judgment."

(3) An appeal under this section shall be made within three months of the appellant being informed of the adverse finding provided by subsection (1) or such later time as the Court of Appeal may allow."

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