Justice Mahoney Dismisses KMC’s Application To Suspend Inquiry Proceedings

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By Yerro Mballow

Justice Basirou V.P.Mahoney has dismissed application made by Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) to suspend proceedings of the Commission of Inquiry recently set up by the Minister of Lands, Regional Government and Religious Affairs.

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The said Commission of Inquiry was formed to probe into corruption allegations at the Kanifing Municipal Council under the leadership of Mayor Ahmed Talib Bensouda.

In his ruling on the application made by KMC in the ongoing case, Justice Mahoney said the court cannot grant such application.

“The 1st Respondent (the Minister) exercised his power under the Local Government Act, rightly or wrongly, and is presumed to be regular until determined otherwise in the main suit. The Commission of Inquiry was established and gazetted. Going by the Supreme Court decisions in Ya Kumba Jaiteh v The Clerk of the National Assembly and Gambia Participates v The Clerk of the National Assembly, no court can restrain the power exercised by the State. It is noteworthy that in the instance matter, although the application is for a stay of proceedings of the Commission, its effect is to restrain the performance of the official act of the 1st Respondent which going by the above mentioned Supreme decisions, cannot be granted and is hereby dismissed,” the ruling stated.

Citing precedents, Justice Mahoney noted that the court is bound to follow the decisions of the Supreme Court in the case of Ya Kumba Jaiteh versus Clerk of the National Assembly; and that of Gambia Participates versus The Clerk of the National Assembly which affirm that no court can restrain the performance of power exercised by the State.

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It should however be noted that the said ruling is just for application (motion) made by KMC for the court to restrain the Commission of Inquiry from continuing with its proceedings. The ruling is not for the substantive (actual) case which challenges the legality of the establishment of the said commission.

The hearing on the substantive case comes up on 31st January 2022.

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