Gambia: Court Dismisses Ex-President Jammeh's Brother's Case

Ansumana Jammeh, a brother to former President Jammeh appeal case was dismissed by The Gambia Court of Appeal on Thursday, 2 July 2020.

Ansumana Jammeh was displeased with the adverse findings of the Janneh Commission of Inquiry dated 29 March 2019 against him and thus filed an appeal before the Court of Appeal for determination.

He was challenging the jurisdiction of the Janneh Commission before the Gambia Court Appeal to issue an order setting aside the adverse findings made by the Commission of Inquiry against the appellant.

Jammeh was asked to vacate by the State and he pleaded to the Court of Appeal that if allowed, it will render him and his family homeless.

The judges of the court were Justices Awa Bah, the President of the Gambia Court of Appeal, O.M.M. Njie and Basiru V.P. Mahoney.

Mr. Jammeh pleaded guilty to abuse of office, official corruption, receiving property to show favour, and conspiracy and economic crimes.

A fine of D24,647,028 was imposed on him by the High Court. In addition, his properties in Bijilo and Old Yundum as well as his vehicle worth D1,000,000 were forfeited to the State.

The Janneh Commission held that the judgment has not been executed as they recommended for its execution by the Sherriff of the High Court in accordance with the law.

Ansumana Jammeh confirmed to the Janneh Commission that he was involved in the licensing of APAM and signed the license for APAM's sand mining activities.

The Commission found that APAM for all intent and purpose was operating illegally because it was an illegal entity created by ex-President Jammeh to exploit and steal the country's mineral resource and thereby clinch himself with impunity.

Aggrieved with the findings of the Janneh Commission, Jammeh is arguing that the Commission of Inquiry erred in law by acting in excess of its jurisdiction by looking into the CONAPRO and GFFI.

According to the particulars, the appellant was convicted by a superior court of co-ordinate status and jurisdiction in respect of the same subject matter. The Commission was therefore stopped from inquiry and adjudicatory in respect of the same subject matter.

On the second ground of appeal, he claimed that the Commission violated section 24(1)(b) of the Constitution by making adverse findings against the him in the absence of his testimony in respect of the CONAPRO and GFFI issue before the Commission. According to the particulars of the appeal, Jammeh said he was never asked about and no testimony was given under oath by him before the Commission in relation to the CONAPRO issue.

He said the Commission merely relied on his witness statement provided to it by the police - the content of which was not examined in the testimony of the appellant before the Commission. He said the Commission denied him the fundamental right to a fair and impartial hearing as guaranteed by the Constitution.

On the third ground of appeal, Jammeh contended that the Commission both in law and in fact when it held that the appellant is liable to pay the sum of D600,000.

The particulars stated that Jammeh said he was neither a director nor a shareholder in KGI and APAM, saying he was merely acting as a manager of APAM and was simply acting on instruction as an employee. He said he is not liable under section 603 of the Companies Act 2013 and section 44 of the Single Window Business Registration Act 2013.

On the final ground of appeal Jammeh said the adverse findings of the Commission against him are against the weight of evidence.

The particulars points out that, he (Jammeh) is claiming that the evidence against him as a whole is weak and insufficient for the Commission to rely upon to make adverse findings against him.

The State filed an affidavit in oppose to that, saying the relief sought is an attempt to delay the processes of executing the findings of the Commission.

In the their ruling, the Appeal Court justices say the State is at liberty to execute the judgment anytime. She said the Court cannot stay a judgment that has not been appealed before it.

"The High Court judgment is valid and this court cannot stay its execution," she held, adding "there is nothing before this court to be stayed."

On the recommendation of the Janneh Commission, Justice Bah, who led the justices said commission of inquiries is not a court and therefore, its report submitted to the Government, is neither a judgment nor an order which is capable in itself of being executed. The court relied on the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Feryale Ghanem versus the Attorney General where the Chief Justice, Hassan B. Jallow stated that a Commission of Inquiry is not a law making body, it has no legislative powers and does not fall within the legislature.

"A Commission of Inquiry cannot legally render a binding decision which may be executed or enforced as it were a judgment or order," Justice Bah said, as the judges held that the case failed and therefore, dismissed it in entirety.

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