By Aisha Tamba
Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the high court yesterday tasked the TRRC to recommend Section 141 (2) of the constitution be repealed. He said it gave the executive the powers to control the judiciary, instill fear and dissuade competent people from taking up appointments to the bench because of fear that their services being terminated, which may tantamount to humiliation and embarrassment.
He said the past whimsical administration used the provision to remove judges including Justices Sock, Gibbou Janneh and even the Chief Justice, Ali Chawhan, and thereby disempanelling the Supreme Court even though the president is required to consult with the Judicial Service Commission before removing judges. He said President Jammeh acted as the alpha and the omega in the past dispensation.
Magistrate Omar Jabang who also appeared alongside Justice Jaiteh, stated that in a functioning democracy, President Jammeh would have been clamped down upon under Section 67 of the constitution which gave the National Assembly Members the powers to impeach him. Justice Jaiteh concurred that the National Assembly was subjected to the whims and caprices of the former government.
Justice Jaiteh recollected that Jammeh summarily and unconstitutionally removed an entire panel of the Supreme Court when they commuted the death sentence of General Lang Tombong Tamba to life and discharged and acquitted Sarjo Fofana.
He said that the attorneys general indirectly controlled the judiciary as they would enter the chief justice’s office to lodge complaints on decisions by judges and magistrates.