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UDP cases against diplomats, presidential advisers begin at Supreme Court

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By Bruce Asemota

The Supreme Court of The Gambia presided over by Chief Justice Hassan Jallow, Justices Cherno Jallow, Mam Yasin Sey, Awa Bah and MM Njie has started hearing the constitutional matter involving UDP’s Madi Ceesay against Ambassadors Fatoumata Jahumpa-Ceesay, Sheikh Tijan Hydara, Ousman Jatta and Lamin Bojang, Public Service Commission, and Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

Madi Ceesay, a UDP chieftain is contending that the appointment of Mrs Jahumpa-Ceesay and Hydara as ambassadors to South Africa and Cuba, Lamin Bojang as defence attaché in Guinea Bissau and Ousman Jatta as consular officer in South Africa, is unconstitutional.

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When the case was called, UDP head Ousainu Darboe who led the applicant’s team of lawyers comprising Borry Touray, Aziz Bensouda and Ya Kumba Jaiteh, informed the court that they wanted to call a witness.

Ida Drameh, lawyer for the defendants objected but she was overruled by the court and the witness, Kemo Bojang, a councillor at the KMC testified that he has a video recording showing Mrs Jahumpa-Ceesay addressing the APRC party congress in Janjangbureh in 2022 in her capacity as the party’s general secretary.

The court admitted it in evidence as well as a video recording of Ousman Jatta as the first deputy leader of the APRC in an interview with Kerr Fatu broadcast on 19 July 2021.

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Witness Bojang also testified that he has a copy of The Standard newspaper dated 2 February 2024, where Mrs Jahumpa-Ceesay and Jatta where reported to have resigned as executive members of the APRC.

The newspaper copy was admitted as an exhibit after objections from Drameh and her team of defence counsel.

Darboe submitted that Mrs Jahumpa-Ceesay, Hydara, Jatta and Bojang are political figures and heads of political parties and are appointed as representatives in foreign service.

He cited Section 166 and 79 of the constitution and even the case of Ya Kumba Jaiteh versus the State to buttress the applicant’s claims and asked the court to rule in his favour.

Meanwhile, Lawyer Drameh called on the court to interpret Section 166 of the Constitution in reference to principal representative in the Foreign Service.

She urged the court to dismiss the applicant’s claims.

The case against the advisers

Meanwhile, in a separate matter, the Supreme Court also heard the suit filed by Ebrima Dibba of the UDP against Dembo Bojang, Sulayman Camara, Dodou Sanno, Henry Gomez and Lamin Saidy and the Public Service Commission.

Ousainu Darboe informed the court that they have two witnesses to call while submitting that the appointments of the defendants run contrary to the provisions of the constitution.

Darboe argued that the defendants should be stopped from parading themselves as holders of their positions until the court proves otherwise.

Darboe further argued that the conduct of some of these defendants brings disrepute to the public service.

Lawyer Drameh cited Section 170 of the Constitution and argued that it gives powers to the president to appoint persons into the public service.

She submitted that the suit seeks to curtail the president powers to appoint persons into the public service.

Hearing continues on 25 March 2024.

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