Supreme Court set to deliver judgment on GNIC and the Attorney General

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

The Supreme Court of The Gambia, presided over by Chief Justice Hassan B. Jallow and four other Supreme Court justices yesterday adjourned the civil appeal case involving The Gambia National Insurance Company and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice for judgment to a later date.

The appellant; GNIC was asked by the Commission of Inquiry to settle a tax liability of over D19 million and dissatisfied with the Commission’s decision filed an appeal before The Gambia Court of Appeal challenging the Commission’s decision and at the Court of Appeal, the court dismissed the appeal, also dissatisfied with the Court of Appeal’s decision, it again filed an appeal before the Apex Court.

During yesterday sitting of the court, the Appellant Counsel, Moses B. Johnson Richards disclosed that the Appellant raised five grounds of appeal and formulated four issues for determination.

Among the issues formulated was whether the Court of Appeal has jurisdiction to reassess its tax liabilities; or whether the Commission complied with the provision of Section 204 of the Constitution.

Lawyer Richards submitted that the mandate of the Commission clearly spelt out that it should investigate and report and not to impose tax liability.

He argued that the Commission oversteps its mandate, when the Commission usurped the powers and mandate reserved only for the director general of Gambia Revenue Authority.

He cited the Legal Notice 24 and Section 23 and submitted that the Tax Commission was adverse, adding that the Attorney General interpretation is obstinate and opposing what is reasonable.

Lawyer Richards submitted that the process implored by the Commission was wrong even though there was uncontroverted evidence that the appellant has no tax liability.

He argued that courts of law are called upon to adjudged evidence and not to conjecture on speculations and submitted that no reasons was given by the Commission for their findings and urged the Supreme Court to uphold the appellant’s appeal.

In his response, Binga D. the director of Civil Litigation submitted that the State’s position on the matter is that the Court of Appeal was right to reassess the tax liability of the appellant, citing legal notice.

He explained that the Commission of Inquiry has the powers to assume the functions of the director general of GRA which the Court of Appeal has confirmed in its judgment.

He argued that the Commission of Inquiry must exercise the powers of the director general of GRA for the Commission to be able to assess tax.

He submitted that the Court of Appeal was right in holding that the Commission of Inquiry’s findings was right.

He submitted that the Commission of Inquiry complied with Section 204 of the Constitution by stating reasons for its findings.

He explained that in the report, the Commission did its findings both in writing and in tabular form referring the court to page 18 of the Record of Proceedings.

Binga D. therefore urged the court to hold that the Commission of Inquiry complied with Section 204 of the 1997 Constitution and further urged the court to dismiss the appeal in its entirety.

Meanwhile, the case was adjourned for judgment and the Chief Justice informed that notices will be issued for the date of judgment. 

Author: Bruce Asemota