By Lamin Cham
The Supreme Court yesterday overturned the ruling of the Court of Appeal in the case M.A Kharafi versus the Attorney General.
In June 2020, The Gambia Court of Appeal in a unanimous decision held that the Janneh Commission recommendations cannot legally render a binding decision which may be executed or enforced as if it were a judgment or order of a court. The appeal was filed by M.A. Kharafi and Sons Company Limited challenging the adverse findings of the Commission of Inquiry into the financial activities of public bodies, enterprises and offices as it regards their dealings with former president Yahya Jammeh and connected matters. The Commission recommended that ex-president Yahya Jammeh is liable to pay $7,367,426 to the Government of The Gambia while Kharafi should pay $2,367,426 plus interest of 5% per annum starting 30th June 2004 to 29th March 2019.
Kharafi challenged these adverse findings by the Commission before the Court of Appeal seeking a stay of execution pending the determination of the appeal.
The court of Appeal ruled that “a commission of inquiry does not and legally cannot make a judgment. In other words, a Commission of Inquiry cannot legally render a binding decision which may be executed or enforced as it were a judgment or order.” The decision led to the halting of all sales of former president Jammeh’s assets among others which were recommended by the Janneh Commission to be frozen to the state. The Gambia government said at the time that it will further litigate the matter at the Supreme Court.
In a ruling yesterday, the Supreme Court overturned the Appeal Court’s ruling which technically means now that the government has won its case and is now free to execute the recommendation of the Janneh Commission’s findings .