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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Court declares Omar Sarjo’s dismissal from army unlawful

Court declares Omar Sarjo's dismissal from army unlawful

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By Bruce Asemota

Justice F. A. Achinboga of the High Court in Banjul has declared that the termination of the services of Omar Sarjo, a soldier, by the then Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in 2017, was a clear contravention of the 1997 Constitution.

The trial judge also declared the dismissal of Omar Sarjo was a clear contravention of Section 33(1)a and b of the Gambia Armed Forces Act chapter 19:01.

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The judge delivered this judgment in a civil matter filed by the applicant, Omar Sarjo against the Chief of Defence Staff and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

Justice Achibonga told the court that Omar Sarjo’s main contention is that he was enlisted into the Armed Forces on the 1st July 2005 and had his services terminated in 2017.

Justice Achibonga stated that the Chief of Defence Staff opposed the application and contended that Omar Sarjo made false declaration on the enlistment form in order to get enlisted into the Gambia Armed Forces.

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The Trial Judge stated that Section 33 (1) a and b is plain and clear and that a person cannot be dismissed as a soldier based on a declaration made for enlistment be it false or otherwise after three months of making the said declaration.

Justice Achibonga pointed out that Omar Sarjo wasn’t given fair hearing and wasn’t given opportunity to be heard before he was dismissed.

He noted that his dismissal was contrary to the principle of natural justice and section 24 of the 1997 Constitution.

Justice Achibonga declared that the CDS does not have that power to dismiss the applicant in 2017 based on his declaration made on the 1st July 2005 for enlistment and by his dismissal was contrary to the law.

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