High Court Decision on Paul Commission Recommendation Set Aside

Friday, July 25, 2008

A three-member panel of judges of the Gambia Court of Appeal on Wednesday set aside the decision of the High Court that squashed the recommendation of the Commission of Enquiry in the case of the former Attorney General and Secretary of State for Justice, Pap Cheyassin Secka.

In delivering the lead judgement, Justice Agim stated that the panel had carefully considered the judgement of the High Court and the argument of both parties. He stated that the Commission of enquiry established by the 1997 Constitution had equal powers as the High Court and that, therefore, the High Court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the matter.

Justice Agim further pointed out that the High Court had no supervisory power over the Commission of Enquiry and so could not squash the decision and the recommendation of the Commission of Enquiry. In consequence, he went on, the three-member panel of the Court of Appeal would uphold the appeal filed by the Attorney General's Chambers against the High Court's decision earlier made in favour of Mr. Secka.

It could be recalled that a Commission of Enquiry was constituted in 2004 in accordance with the 1997 Constitution and chaired by a High Court judge, Justice M.A Paul, to probe into the assets, properties and activities of public officials between 1994 to 2004. The Paul Commission, as it was known, had recommended that certain properties belonging to Mr. Secka be returned to the state, a decision that Mr. Secka later appealed against at the High Court.

Author: By Modou Sanyang