By Aji Fatou Faal
Parliamentarians at the National Assembly on Wednesday unanimously considered and adopted the Rent (Amendment) Bill 2017 during the Fourth Ordinary Session of 2017 Legislative year.
Tabling the Bill, Hon. Abubacarr M. Tambadou, Attorney General and Minister of Justice revealed that this Bill seeks to amend the Rent Act 2014 by removing the administration of the Act from the remit of the Ministry of Justice and placing it squarely within the remit of the Judiciary.
“Given that a Tribunal is a Court of the Gambia within the meaning of that term as used in section 120 of the Constitution, it is an anomaly for the Rent Act 2014 to invest the Attorney General and Minister of Justice with certain powers over Rent Tribunals, including the power to appoint the Registrar, the Chairperson and other members of a Tribunal, and the power to determine the remuneration of the Chairperson and members of a Tribunal”, he stated.
According to him, this bill seeks to cure this mischief by recognising and protecting the independent and effective functioning of the Judiciary in terms of both its unfettered power to constitute subordinate courts in any area of the Gambia but also the power to appoint Judicial officers and Court staff.
He then continued that the Bill also provides that a Rent Tribunal shall be solely presided over by a First Class Magistrate as Chairperson, in an attempt to tackle the considerable backlog of cases before the tribunals.
Hon. Tambadou noted that it is envisaged that these measures would jump-start operation of the Rent Tribunals countrywide with a view to solving the perennial problems between lanlords and tenants.
Speakers after speakers raised available recommendations, questions and suggestions before giving their blessings to bill.