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LAWYERS SAY UDP FAILED TO PROVE ITS CASE AGAINST FJC, OTHERS

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The head of civil litigation at the Attorney General’s Chambers has argued that the UDP suit against Ambassadors Fatoumata Jahumpa-Ceesay (FJC) and Sheikh Tijan Hydara, Ousman Jatta, and Lamin Bojang has failed for lack of substantive evidence.

Officials of the main opposition party went to the Supreme Court to get a declaration that the appointments of FJC, Messrs Hydara, Jatta, and Bojang to senior diplomatic positions in the foreign service by President Barrow were unconstitutional and therefore they should be removed.

Replying to the submissions by the UDP lawyers led by party leader-cum-lawyer Ousainu Darboe on Tuesday, D Binga representing the attorney general yesterday said the video and newspaper evidences presented were questionable and speculative.

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He argued that the apex court should not accept social media postings to prove issues of constitutional importance and that they should have obtained credible information relating to political parties and their registered officers from the electoral commission.

“The authenticity of the videos was challenged during cross examination of the witness…. The witness could not authenticate the source of his videos and further, it is clear that the video he brought was a copy of another copy and possibly several other copies. This is hearsay and is contrary to the Evidence Act. The said videos ought to be disregarded… The newspaper article that was tendered is opinion evidence and we submit that this cannot be relied on to establish the fact of the matters contained therein. The video of Ousman Jatta does not show when it was recorded. The dates of these events are significant because they need to be tied to the appointments of the defendants to their positions in public office. When they were appointed to public office is not clear, and when they were purportedly holding political office is also not clear…

In the case of Rambo Jatta, his appointment is proper in foreign services and the regulation. There is no justification why his appointment violates the rules of Foreign Service… The plaintiff alleged that Lamin Bojang is a military attached to Guinea. It is our submission the plaintiff didn’t prove otherwise on the issue of Lamin Bojang being a party leader and there’s no evidence before this court that Lamin Bojang holds any position of being a political party leader which the plaintiff is claiming. Section 102 of the Evidence Act provides that a person who asserts must prove…”

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Mr Binga said even if the defendants are holding the positions claimed by the UDP in their suit, the “General Orders requires that a person who has been elected to public office should subsequent to that election resign from public office. So it is clear the person would have held both positions for a time before resigning from one.”

The lawyer representing Ambassador Hydara also contended that the plaintiffs woefully failed to satisfactorily prove their case against her client.

Ms Ida Drameh stated: “The first comment we wish to make is that in as serious a case as this which calls for the Supreme Court to interpret and apply constitutional provisions, it is our submission that it would be unsatisfactory and in fact somewhat dangerous to accept the pedigree of evidence that has been offered by the plaintiff [UDP] as a basis for making the orders sought by the plaintiffs.”

She said in a civil case as this, the burden of proof lies on the plaintiffs.

“We submit that the plaintiffs have failed to establish their case. We submit that the plaintiffs have not proved by any credible or acceptable evidence, that the allegations made in their statement of case are true and therefore have failed to establish any right to the relief sought. There was no evidence produced or offered to suggest that the first defendant [Sheikh Tijan Hydara] was holding any office in any political party,” she said.

She contended that the UDP should have established from the electoral commission whether Ganu was in fact a registered party, who the registered officers are and that they did not produce evidence to show when Mr Hydara was appointed as ambassador to Cuba.

“No matter how many rallies, speeches, Facebook posts or Kerr Fatou posts, there are, just saying you are an officer of a party does not make you such an officer. In the first place it is the Constitution that determines the offices and the registration records the details of appointments to the office,” she submitted.

In conclusion, Lawyer Drameh affirmed that Hydara is a politician, a founder member of Ganu but resigned from the party since his appointment as a diplomat.

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