UDP & Sheriffo Sonko case suffers setback

Feb 12, 2021, 10:01 AM | Article By: Alagie Baba

The civil appeal case between UDP and the IEC, Sheriffo Sonko and two other councillors failed to proceed before the Gambia Court Appeal.

The delay was occasioned by the inability to serve Billal Faal, one of the councillors.

The United Democratic Party (UDP) brought the matter before the appellate court from the high court seeking for the matter to be treated with urgency.

Lawyer Abdul Aziz Bensouda signed the certificate of urgency.

"I hereby certify that it is expected that the appeal in this matter be heard urgently on the ground that the vacancy of the office of the Chairman of Brikama Area Council is a matter of great public concern to the operation of the Council," Lawyer Bensouda wrote.

UDP are dissatisfied with the high court order dated 20th July 2020 and are seeking the appeals court to set it aside and order for the matter to be tried as a matter of urgency. The lawyers for the political party contended that the high court judge, Justice Haddy Cecilia Roche misrepresented the record when she mentioned that Lawyer Bory S. Touray was in chambers on the 15th July 2020 when she made the Order on the 20th July 2020. Lawyer Touray claims he was not present.

Justice O.M.M. Njie, the President of the Court of Appeal said the record shows that the process for the 3rd Respondent (Bilal Faal) was received by Sheriffo Sonko.

Lawyer K. Jallow said she only appeared for the 2nd accused person. She also raised the issue of missing files from the records adding she wrote a letter to the Principal Registrar of the Court on the 3rd February conveying such information.

Lawyer B.S. Touray said "she is referring to the ex-parte motion which in our humble opinion is not necessary as far as the issues are concern."

Lawyer Jallow responded saying "yes, it is the ex parte motion, the affidavit and the last page of the notice of appeal."

Justice Njie asked Lawyer Touray to provide Lawyer Jallow with those documents and he promised to provide them.

The Court adjourned so that service could be effected on Bilal Faal personally and for the missing files to be served on Sheriffo Sonko.

There is another suit involving Sheriffo Sonko and IEC at the Supreme Court awaiting judgment, but UDP is not a party in that case. The Supreme Court would make interpretation as to the constitutionality of some provisions of the Elections Act.