By Baba Sillah
The election petition filed by the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction [APRC] at the Constitutional Court of The Gambia for annulment of the December 1 Presidential election result could not proceed yesterday.
When the case was called in the Chambers of the Chief Justice, Emmanuel O Fagbenle was the lone judge who presided over the case as others expected from Nigeria are yet to arrive.
When the petition matter was mentioned, the Chief Justice disclosed that the Supreme Court supposed to be constituted by seven panel member of judges and if that is not the case, a single judge can hear the matter in chamber as required by the law.
Lawyer Edward Anthony Gomez who appeared for the party as the petitioner also informed the chambers that he was informed by the court process server that the 1st respondent , the Independent Electoral Commission[IEC] was not served with the petition. Gomez further appealed to the court to substitute service in order to make proper process of services.
On the petition filed by the President Yahya Jammeh and the Mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council, Yankuba Colley as the petitioners against the Independent Electoral Commission [IEC] and the President-elect, Adama Barrow as the respondents, lawyer Gomez submitted that the 1st respondent, IEC and the 2nd respondent Adama Barrow were not served with the petition. Barrister Gomez appealed to the court again to make substitute of service to enable him to make a proper process of service.
After listening to counsel submission, the Chief Justice disclosed that he had received information from Nigeria and Sierra Leone that the Judges were released by the Judicial Service Commission of their countries but were not anticipated to attend the January session rather they were familiar with the May and November session of the court.
The Chief Justice noted that the court could not hear the petition until the court is fully constituted by seven judges in May or November but however proper procedure could be done before the court is fully constituted through filing of court processes.
Chief Justice Fagbenle further noted that when the court proceeding is going on, the Ecowas and the interparty community can resolve the problem as the Gambia has a proper mechanism to do so.
He accordingly adjourned the matter to Monday January 16 for substitute of service as requested by the counsel.
The Attorney General, Minister of Justice was represented by Saffie Sankareh.