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Criminal Code Act amended ‘to reflect political realities’

Apr 17, 2013, 9:11 AM | Article By: Isatou Senghore

Deputies at the National Assembly Tuesday passed the Criminal Code Amendment Act 2013, ‘to reflect the current socio-political realities’ in the country.

The Act, tabled before deputies by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Lamin Jobarteh, seeks ‘to ensure effective administration of criminal justice system.’

In tabling the motion, Jobarteh said Section 114 of the Criminal Code which created the offence of giving false information to a public officer is found to be grossly inadequate to the extent that Sections 166(4) and Section 167 of the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia exclude the President, Vice President, Speaker, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Ministers or member of the National Assembly, etc from the definition of ‘public officer’ and therefore outside the contemplation of Section 114 of the Criminal Code.

Under the new Act, whoever in a public place disturbs the public peace shall be ‘punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years imprisonment or a fine of D20, 000 or both.

Also under the Act, any male person who knowingly lives wholly or in part on the earning of a prostitute or in any public place solicits or importunes for immoral purposes and any male person who dresses or is attired in the fashion of a woman in a public place or who practices sodomy as a means of livelihood or as a profession shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or with a fine of D20, 000 or with both.

The Act also provides under Section 167 that any person who being able wholly or in part to maintain himself or his family willfully neglects or refuse to do so; any person who in any street or public place or within sight or hearing of any person therein with intention of annoying or irritating any person sings any scurrilous or abusive songs or words whether any person be particularly addressed therein or not, are deemed to be idle and disorderly persons, and are liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding D25, 000 or imprisonment for a term of five years or both.

Meanwhile, in a related development, deputies also enacted the National Enterprise Development Initiative Bill 2013.

The bill, tabled before deputies by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Alieu K. Jammeh, seeks to provide a legal framework to govern operations of the National Enterprise Development Initiative.

In moving the bill, Minister Jammeh told deputies that it is expected that this legal framework will ensure that the operations, as well as the funds committed to the initiative’s operations are subjected to the necessary scrutiny in accordance with the practice for all public enterprises.

According to him, the bill seeks to establish a clear relationship between the Ministry and the Initiative.