Sets aside Bamfo Commission as unlawful
By Talibeh Hydara
The Supreme Court of The Gambia has delivered a landmark judgment yesterday declaring that the 1994 Bamfo Commission, which was set up following the overthrow of the PPP government, was not properly constituted.
Delivering judgement on a case filed by MC Cham, Justice NC Browne-Mark, having quashed the adverse findings against him, also ordered the return of Mr Cham’s properties and compensate him the ones sold to third parties.
The decision of the court came when MC Cham challenged the Constitution of the Commission of Inquiry on the basis that Justice Bamfo, who was the chair, was not qualified as a judge or a legal practitioner in The Gambia.
The law states that the chairperson of a commission of inquiry must be a judge or a legal practitioner in The Gambia. According to the court, the undisputed fact is that Bamfo was not a judge or a legal practitioner in the country. Thus, the court finds that Bamfo was not qualified to be the chairperson of the commission and her decisions are void.
After the July 22nd 1994 military takeover, the junta set up the Assets and Properties Recovery Commission, which was chaired by a Ghanaian judge, Justice Akoto Bamfo.
The Bamfo Commission was mandated to probe into top officials of the Jawara regime, who the military accused of corruption and misappropriation of public funds.
The commission eventually seized properties of dozens of former PPP officials, including those of Omar Jallow and ex-vice president BakaryBunja Dabo.
OJ, who is late now, had constantly called on Yahya Jammeh to make public the commission’s findings.
Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision means the commission’s adverse findings against MC Cham and other PPP officials are nullified.
At least 20 top PPP officials were affected by the commission’s findings.
The judges on the Supreme Court panel are:
Justice NC Browne-Mark
Justice CS Jallow
Justice MM Sey
Justice HC Roche
Justice BVP Mahoney
MC Cham was represented by ANM Ousainu Darboe and Neneh Cham while the Attorney General was represented by MB Sowe and Binga D.