14 March 2019

Gambia: Supreme Court Hears Lawmakers' Case, Ruling Set for Today

The case brought by lawyers, Lamin K. Mboge and Ibrahim Jallow against 31 members of the National Assembly including the majority and minority leaders and the Attorney General was heard before the Supreme Court presided by Chief Justice Hassan B. Jallow and the other four Supreme Court judges.

It could be recalled that 31 members of the National Assembly signed a petition to overturn the president's decision to revoke the nomination of former National Assembly Member (NAM) Ya Kumba Jaiteh.

The plaintiffs, Lawyer Mboge and Jallow alleged that the actions of the said National Assembly members were unconstitutional and they urged the court to interpret and enforce the president's decision because his decision to revoke Ya Kumba's nomination was constitutional.

They claimed that by virtue of locus standi, they are empowered as private citizens to bring any matter before the Supreme Court for interpretation and enforcement.

The defendants' counsel, Abdul Aziz Bensouda called the case frivolous, noting that the constitution of the Gambia by an Act of Parliament immunes the National Assembly members from appearing before any court for anything said or done while in chambers.

Counsel Bensouda said Sections 113 and 114 of the constitution empowers the members of the house to discuss on such issues as part of their powers and privileges as parliamentarians.

At this juncture, Solicitor General Cherno Marenah representing the AG said the matter was brought to them 24-hours earlier, adding that they are yet to discuss amongst themselves on what step to take, he therefore urged for more time.

Chief Justice Hassan B. Jallow adjourned the case to today Thursday for ruling.

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