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Industrial tribunal takes a U-turn

Aug 11, 2010, 1:36 PM | Article By: Dawda Faye

Abdoulie Baldeh, the plaintiff, who sued the Gambia College for wrongful termination of his service at the Industrial Tribunal, was taken by surprise on 8th August, 2010, when Senior Magistrate Babucarr Secka pronounced that the Industrial Tribunal has no jurisdiction to hear the case after it reached judgement level.

The trial Magistrate further went on to state that this was in accordance with the Labour Act and said he was handling the case for the first time.

Magistrate Secka told the plaintiff that he should have forwarded his case to the Ombudsman, because the Industrial Tribunal does not entertain cases involving government institutions.

In reply, the plaintiff, Abdoulie Baldeh, told the tribunal that he was surprised that it was at this later hour when judgment should be delivered that Magistrate Secka, who is the third person to handle the case, said that the Industrial Tribunal could not handle the case.

The plaintiff further stated that he felt that he has been robbed of his right to gainful employment and expected the Industrial Tribunal to have been the body to heal and rehabilitate his life.

The plaintiff told the tribunal that Alpha Khan and his group at the college treated him as someone who has no background. He indicated that he did meet the Ombudsman after a previous court ruling that was made in his favour at the

Banjul Magistrate Court

 He went on to say that the Deputy Ombudsman had invited him at a later date with the hope that he would look into the case. However, he said, on that appointed day, when he got to the office of the Ombudsman, he told him that they could not handle the matter because previously his petition was addressed to the President's Office and that is the place he should lodge his complaint.

"I give my case to God," he told the tribunal.

Abdoulie Baldeh's case was first heard by former Magistrate Kayode up to the end of the trial and unfortunately he tendered his resignation. It was subsequently transferred to former Magistrate Mam Haar Nying, who on 27th May, 2010, announced that she was unable to read the handwriting of her predecessor former Magistrate Kayode and ordered for the case file to be sent to the Secretary for typing.

Former Magistrate Nying then adjourned the case to the 22nd June 2010, to deliver judgment, but she also left the country for further studies.

The case was finally transferred to Senior Magistrate Secka, who the plaintiff expected to deliver the judgment only to be told that the Industrial Tribunal has no jurisdiction to hear the case.

Abdoulie Baldeh is claiming the sum of D75, 000 damages for wrongful dismissal as a lecturer from the service of the defendant, the Gambia College, contrary to his terms of employment.

The sum of D65, 500 for outstanding salaries and benefits has been claimed by the plaintiff, and also interest and cost.